Growth & Justice and its partners in the Minnesota Rural Equity Project this week announced support for a dozen promising initiatives in the 2017 Legislature that can help revitalize local rural economies and reduce social and racial disparities in Greater Minnesota. The wide-ranging initiatives provide new investments and incentives including: early childhood care and education, expanding broadband access, specialized Career Pathways training, Local Government Aid restoration, tax credits for working families and farmers, and a “Getting to Work” bill that helps low-income workers with car repairs or donated vehicles. Check out the details on our website and a radio interview on the Mike McIntee Show, KTNF-AM950. Our segment begins at about 31 minutes into the show.
A comprehensive report by the Minnesota State Demographic Center, “Greater Minnesota Refined and Revisited” provides rich new baseline data that will inform our project. The report redefines Minnesota by “metropolitan” and “micropolitan” areas and also into four distinct RUCAs (Rural Urban Commuting Areas) ranging from urban to large town to small town to rural. The report poses essentially the same questions we do with our rural project: “How will we support the many residents, particularly older adults, who live in remote areas of the state, far from services and supports? How will we respond to labor force shortages—which will be even more acute in rural, small town and large town areas—as the Baby Boomers continue to move out of their working years? How can we make Minnesota and its various communities more attractive to potential workers, and retain the ones we have, to improve migration flows for our state?” Last, and we think perhaps most important, “How can communities with growing racial and cultural diversity create connections, protect human rights, and work to support and integrate newcomers?"
“My children are Americans. What’s going to happen to them?”-- Jacobo Gabriel, long-time Worthington hog farm worker and Guatemalan refugee facing deportation and separation from his wife and four children, in front page Star Tribune story about wrenching emotional and economic repercussions from new wave of deportations.