2017 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.
Infrastructure and the Environment - APWA This week’s newsletter focuses on the intersection of environmental resilience and infrastructure. To do that, we want to highlight some work from the Minnesota chapter of the American Public Works Association, such as this presentation on their Environmental Stewardship Award 2020, which they awarded to Sustainable Eden Prairie. The effort works on “educat... Read More
Chauvin trial begins March 8 The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged in the murder of George Floyd, is set to begin March 8. In the coming weeks through the G & J newsletter, we’ll highlight different coverage of the trial to provide updates and insights in conjunction with our work statewide to lift up equity and inclusion policies and practices that confront racism and build shared sustainable... Read More
Give your feedback on our legislative agenda draft If you click here, you can read the first draft of our legislative agenda showing the top priorities we have gathered over the course of the meetings we’ve held to collect your input. The priorities are sorted into the four chapters of the Minnesota Equity Blueprint— Human Capital, Economic Development, Infrastructure, and Environmental Resilience. Beneath each chapter’s... Read More
White privilege & anti-racist initiatives in the rural Midwest In a recent StarTribune opinion piece, “How young men of color mattered to a rural Midwestern community,” Cary Radisewitz of Luverne, MN, describes a few of the disturbing instances of blatant racism in a small South Dakota town and its neighboring communities during his time as the Huron (SD) University’s head football coach. He also provides importa... Read More
Last call for Blastoff registration & prioritizing Blueprint policies! Our second and final Minnesota Equity Blueprint Blastoff is happening next Wednesday, Dec. 16 from 12-1 p.m., so make sure to register if you’d like to provide your input for our 2021-22 legislative agenda! This meeting, which will be over Zoom, will build off the priorities ranked during the first Blastoff and create a masterlist of Blueprint ... Read More
Imagine a nine-year-old boy we’ll call Oliver Anderson – the same age and first name as the plucky urchin immortalized in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist -- growing up desperately poor in a small farm town in rural northwestern Minnesota. Oliver’s single mom scrapes by on low-wage part-time jobs in town, and sometimes finds seasonal work, but she subsists on an annual income near the official poverty level. Sur... 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