This year has produced impressive early returns for the Minnesota Rural Equity Project. The effort has been received warmly by audiences throughout the state, and we’re poised to turn the encouraging talk – and ideas that underlie it – into continued momentum for the project, new partnership opportunities for our organization, and real results for Minnesotans.
We’ve worked with project partners to advance smart policies and investments in human capital, infrastructure, and tax policy. We’ve spoken with credibility on the real and perceived aspects of Minnesota’s ‘rural-metro divide.’ And we’re planning to contribute significantly to constructive dialogue bridging gaps in political culture, regional differences, and attitudes toward currently divisive issues – such as immigration, climate change, and role of government.
We’ve logged many miles meeting with Minnesotans in every corner of the state, and we’ve made important connections along the way. For instance, heightened appreciation for the role Minnesota’s regional economic development organizations play has contributed to a proposal for a more regional-focused approach to community and economic development throughout the state. We’re driving this effort, and plan to contribute to creation of a ‘regional competitiveness dashboard’ tracking region-specific progress and investment over time.
Despite clear progress, our work on this and other projects is only beginning. Growth & Justice seeks to fill an important void in Minnesota’s rich domain of progressive policy and the public good – a ‘policy shop’ think tank that balances the interests of economic growth and social justice. Given the increasing effort and investment toward narrower and oftentimes competing ends from other organizations, the need for robust and respected progressive policy expertise – and action! – has never been greater.
Growth & Justice publications, ENEWS, and blogs related to the Minnesota Rural Equity Project are below.
Our Blogpost on “Collateral Consequences” Check out our most recent blogpost, by attorney and legislative expert Robert J. Tennessen, calling for the reform in Minnesota of our “Collateral Consequences of Conviction.” Tennessen vividly describes all the ways that convictions permanently and unfairly damage the lives of people who are seeking to rebuild their lives. Comparing their predicament to that of... Read More
Insights on Broadband’s Promise, and Obstacles For an insightful overview of broadband’s great promise and the challenges still ahead in connecting rural Minnesota to the world economy, we recommend Tim Gihring’s recent article in MinnPost. Public investment in recent years has boosted high-speed coverage areas, and especially in rural areas, and access has risen from 55 to 88 percent of households statewide. But t... Read More
Op-Ed Refutes Attack on Renewable Policies Growth & Justice helped coordinate the publication of a counterpoint op-ed in the Star Tribune last week that showed how renewable energy increasingly makes business sense for Minnesota utilities, consumers and workers. The article responded to misleading information in an op-ed by a national conservative academic and activist, Steven Hayward, who actually called for abandoning Minnesota poli... Read More
Tis the Season, for Supporting Equitable Growth! In the seasonal spirit of sharing our blessings and bounty, please consider a gift to Growth & Justice, to help us advance public policies that build a more equitable Minnesota. Growth & Justice embodies the legacy and communitarian spirit of our North Star State, through non-partisan advocacy for a “One Minnesota” policy framework and growing our economy by investing in human... Read More
We Can’t Coast on Early Childhood Our latest blogpost revisits the state of early childhood education and urges Minnesota decision-makers to double down on this crucial investment in our future workforce. Guest blogger Brendan Klein, a St. John’s University junior who was a Growth & Justice intern last summer, observes: “In a recent ranking of best states on early childhood measures, Minnesota came in 7th for pr... Read More
A dominant narrative in mainstream and social media suggests our nation and state has lost its sense of community, that partisan and ideological rancor hopelessly divides us, from Congress to our holiday dinner tables, and that we have little interest in helping each other. A notion that a spirit of meanness pervades our rural regions is particularly prevalent, and indeed there are enough examples of bigotry and xenophobia and disregard for... Read More
Minnesota has been ahead of most other states in recognizing the importance of early childhood education, and investing up front in this priceless human capital. Currently, thanks to bi-partisan support and strong consensus among business leaders and childhood experts, Minnesota is putting hundreds of millions of dollars more into quality child-care than we were just a decade ago, through a variety of systems. Yet for all this... Read More
Justin Stofferahn is a policy specialist for the State of Minnesota and is a new Policy Fellow for Growth & Justice. His work focuses on fiscal and economic issues. He also has policy experience from his work in the offices of the Illinois Governor and Lt. Governor. Economic Concentration in Minnesota The biggest story in economic development right now is the bid to secure Amazon’s second headquarters and the estimat... Read More
Putting Things Back Together A Youth Social Entrepreneurship Case Study By Jeanne Walz, Matt Howard and Dane Smith A little more than a year ago, Ethan (last name withheld at his request) was headed in no particular direction, except perhaps toward trouble. He lacked motivation, was not doing particularly well in high school, and his scrapes with authorities worried his mother and teachers. His mom -- before signing him up for a specia... Read More
Tom Legg is a Growth & Justice Policy Fellow who has produced some of our most important research and analysis on inequality, providing global, national and local perspective. His latest commentary, reprinted here from the Ely Timberjay newspaper, offers sobering insights on worsening inequality within St. Louis County and northern Minnesota. Legg grew up in northern Minnesota and after a distinguished career at the University of Minnesota&rs... Read More