Our Minnesota Rural Equity Project is catching the attention of the Greater Minnesota news media. Recently Growth & Justice President Dane Smith was interviewed on “Ag Afternoon” by Sonja Langseth of KWOA in Worthington, and on “Ox in the Afternoon” by Dan Ochsner of KNSI in St. Cloud. The podcasts of those interviews reveal strong interest by these local journalists in how our project addresses regional economic challenges and workforce mismatches in two of Minnesota’s most racially diverse communities.
Minnesota economist Louis Johnston, a Growth & Justice Policy Fellow, offers insight in a recent blogpost on the evolution of a jerry-rigged U.S. health-care system. He explains how popular expectations have gradually moved toward publicly financed systems such as Medicare and Medicaid, and programs for veterans, the elderly and children. Noting the efforts of presidents from Lincoln to Truman to Obama to expand coverage and to pool risk and share costs, Johnston asserts that “history matters.” Johnston’s essay originally appeared in the Avon Hills Salon website, which features thoughtful commentary from central Minnesota scholars and experts.
Our sponsored content is now a regular feature in the “Morning Take,” a tipsheet about news and public affairs seen daily by an estimated 10,000 prominent influencers, and often featured on WCCO-AM radio with founder and editor Blois Olson. Morning Take segments will highlight our Minnesota Rural Equity Project and policy priorities of our partners: the Minnesota Asset Building Coalition, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, and the Greater Minnesota Partnership. Here’s the link to sign up for Morning Take, Business Take, or Ag Take.
The 2017 legislative session is nearing its adjournment deadline and a likely deadlock and special session. Throughout this challenging process, Growth & Justice is partnering closely with key non-profits and partisan coalitions and advocating for policies that strengthen our economy, broaden prosperity, and improve the lives of ALL Minnesotans. Some of our efforts are defensive, opposing proposed deep cuts in our public investments for economic security, health care and opportunity. But most of our advocacy is constructively aimed at reforming and expanding efforts to improve our human capital and public infrastructure. Here are links to these key partnerships where you will find action-steps you can take to move Minnesota forward.
Our Minnesota Rural Equity Project includes a dozen policy priorities that will stimulate the rural economy and address inequalities and racial disparity in Greater Minnesota. Our project partner, the Coalition for Greater Minnesota Cities is bearing down on the need for a major bonding bill and rural water projects. The MinneMinds coalition supports a range of policies that promise to close disparities in early childhood development for our youngest children and their families. Voices for Racial Justice maintains a “Bill Watch” that summarizes key legislation impacting racial disparities. The Minnesota Budget Project fights for budget sufficiency and tax changes that help low-income households. Transportation Forward and many business leaders are making the case for a major transportation funding package and statewide transit investments. The Minnesota Broadband Coalition is advocating for expansion of local grants funding to speed up universal border-to-border access to high-speed internet, which is especially lacking in rural areas.
The Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute are Washington think tanks that occupy center-left and center-right ideological territory, respectively. Recently they collaborated on a report entitled “Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream.” The lead authors, Ron Haskins and Robert Doar, will share with us why and how the collaboration came about, the specifics of a possible “grand bargain” on social welfare policy, and the prospects for progress in a divided nation. Here’s your link to register for this free event. It’s our 9th annual conversation commemorating the spirit of John Brandl, a former legislator and U of M professor known for seeking bipartisan common ground and consensus in public policy. Growth & Justice is a founding co-sponsor of the event, along with an ecumenical group of policy organizations.
“'We used to think in terms of economic development' in Greater Minnesota, Allen said. That was about wooing would-be employers with tax breaks, while trusting that the workers those employers needed would be there. Going forward, Allen said, 'We need to flip that around. Our job is to develop an economy — build it from the bottom up.' That’s not just Willmar’s job. It’s Minnesota’s." — Star Tribune column by Lori Studevant, quoting Ridgewater College President Doug Allen.