Priorities

 

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Racial Equity & Justice

Racial disparities in Minnesota are among the worst in this nation. We must make constant forward progress toward equity and justice for all people living and working in Hennepin County. I have served for two years on the Adult Mental Health Local Advisory Council, and in this work I have seen the importance of community leadership in finding the right solutions to the problems that affect them. It is time to raise up the voices of those whose lives are constantly and relentlessly impacted by the color of their skin, whose voices have gone unheard and are continuously ignored.

 

  • I will form the first-ever Hennepin County Racial Equity Advisory Council. Upon election, my first act as commissioner will be to propose a resolution to establish this council and begin accepting applications.
  • This council will consist of at-large members, community activists working to reduce disparities, and members of target populations from various ethnic backgrounds bearing the brunt of inequality in our county.
  • Each year, this council will present the board with budget priorities based on unmet needs within the county that specifically address inequity.

 

Service Delivery

As a county, we must move toward a model of integration and co-location of county human and social services to reduce the burden on families and individuals needing career guidance, housing, healthcare and other supports.  

 

  • I will work with department heads from key areas to create a task force that will develop a plan that integrates service delivery using technology and shared resources, and identifies families and individuals accessing multiple services at once.
  • Together we will simplify the process for people and families in need of services by developing strategies that align services and establish teams, using coordination that removes the need for multiple case workers.

 

Housing

Housing is one of our most basic needs, and far too many residents of Hennepin County live in unstable or insecure housing situations. Like so many things, these problems disproportionately affect people of color, indigenous people, and immigrants. Hennepin County is uniquely positioned to lead housing reform and address this crisis in our communities.

 

  • I will invest in housing that is accessible specifically to low-income communities and our working poor along existing and future public transit expansions.
  • I will expand the reach of HUD funding to address gaps in service delivery for people experiencing homelessness. I will advocate for supportive and transitional housing as a solution.
  • I will work with the board to align our priorities with community needs and expand the reach of HRA funding into the city.  

 

Safe, Accessible, and Affordable Transportation

I used to be that single mother on the bus with a stroller, so I understand the importance of a strong public transportation system. Our district continues to develop rapidly and absolutely must provide multiple options for transportation. I will support our transit operators and prioritize safety, accessibility, and affordability for all transit riders, cyclists, and pedestrians.

 

  • I will collaborate with the MET Council to expand the Transit Assistance Program. I will prioritize expansion to Metro Mobility, which is currently not included in the program.
  • I will work directly with the Transit Advisory Board of the Met Council to uncover potential funding opportunities for TAP expansion.  I will partner with cities to plan intersection design to decrease accidents and fatalities. The scope of this partnership is to bring impacted community members (cyclists, drivers, pedestrians, rail operators and bus drivers) into state, city and county planning.
  • I will prioritize community voices around transportation needs in all future development Hennepin County takes part in.

 

Workers’ Rights

I have spent many years of my working life covered by a collective bargaining agreement; with AFSCME during my earlier years at Hennepin County, and then MAPE during my years working for the State of Minnesota. My deep labor roots have shown me that when we lock arms together, we can move mountains. The cornerstone of this campaign is building community power, and nowhere is that power more visible than in the achievements of working people collectively bargaining for better lives for themselves and their families.

 

  • I will elevate and prioritize the rights of workers wherever they intersect with County business.
  • I will always fight for your right to unionize and work without fear of exploitation and abuse, to be paid a living wage, and to take time off for your health and the health of your family.
  • I support a $15 minimum wage with no carve outs.
  • I believe in the power of living, breathing solidarity and I pledge to take your voices with me to the board room.

 

Policing & Criminal Justice Reform

Across the country and locally, we have seen activists elected to public office as the critical next step in addressing the epidemic of state-sanctioned violence against Black, Brown and Indigenous populations.  Representation matters. Our communities must be reflected at all levels of government in order to effectively take on and overcome this problem. If elected, I will be the first ever Black Commissioner to serve Hennepin County. As a social worker, I know the importance of social justice advocacy alongside activism. Just as I have stood up against injustices in the streets, I will do the same in my elected office.

 

  • I will work with judges, community activists, previously incarcerated youth and adults to eliminate the cash bail system, which criminalizes people for being poor. Eliminating this system will also save the county money.
  • I will work to enact policy that requires low-level offenses be met with restorative justice instead of jail. Hennepin County is behind the times when it comes to alternatives to incarceration, and I will champion initiatives that work.

 

Environment

We have a right to clean air and water in our communities. Hennepin County has a responsibility to lead development projects that prioritize environmental health. I will use my voice on the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners to advocate for common-sense clean air and water solutions.

 

  • I will help move our board to divest from fossil fuels by pushing for the use of green technology in county-owned vehicles and increasing the number of electric buses.  
  • I will evaluate phasing out the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC), a garbage-burning facility in downtown Minneapolis.
  • I will push for Hennepin County to ban the use of plastics which overwhelmingly harm our environment.

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