Jane Leonard officially became president of Growth & Justice this week, and she takes the reins with an eloquent introductory blog post inspired by her five-year-old grand-niece’s home-made sign urging us to “Be Kind Absouloutly to Everyone.” From the post: “This persistent push for equity – emphasizing that social justice and greater shareholding by all is actually good for sustainable business growth – really drives the work of Growth & Justice. And reflecting on my grand-niece’s wise words, it occurred to me that there truly are unbreakable links between basic kindness and equity and growth and justice. These words all involve sharing our abundance, an important belief to re-embrace, especially when too many laws and policies coming from Washington D.C. emphasize scarcity and selfishness and fear of our neighbors.” Jane succeeds Dane Smith, who will remain very active in semi-retirement as a Senior Fellow at Growth & Justice. Check our website to learn more about Jane and Dane and the work both have done to build a more inclusive economy in Minnesota.
Amid considerable chaos and confusion in the 2018 political and policy world, it’s important to keep our eyes on the dashboard indicators that continue to show overall economic inequality and racial disparity as primary drivers of most our problems. Among the clearest analytical voices on this theme is celebrated journalist Hedrick Smith, who in recent years launched an initiative and a website labeled Reclaim the American Dream. In his latest blog post, analyzing the federal tax bill, Smith argues that “we’ve lost something precious and essential in the American concept of capitalism – the idea that shared prosperity is good business and smart economics because it generates long-term economic growth and competitiveness for the nation as a whole.” Growth & Justice has partnered with Reclaim the American Dream in previous years and looks forward to further collaboration.
Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, became a U.S. Senator this week and we look forward to working with her and Minnesota’s entire congressional delegation on policies that improve lives and bring a more equitable prosperity to our state and nation. We’re proud to note that Senator Smith is a former member of the Growth & Justice Board of Directors, and we are pleased to see how her statements align with our priorities for broadband, rural equity and a “One Minnesota’’ policy framework that bridges partisan and regional divides. Our board typically has included activists or former elected officials from all our major political parties. Among past board members are former Congressmen Arlen Erdahl, a Republican, and the late Martin Olav Sabo, a DFLer. Our current board reflects this ecumenical spirt and includes: Paul Anderson, a former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice appointed by Republican Gov. Arne Carlson; Craig Swaggert, a former chairman of the Independence Party; and Hubert H. “Buck” Humphrey IV, son and grandson of luminaries in DFL political history.
“We are interdependent economically and socially whether we know it or not. Instinctively, and sometimes intentionally, we understand that by helping one another through local acts of kindness and equity and statewide progressive policy, we have each other’s backs. That is how we survive and thrive in this seemingly cold, inhospitable northern clime. That is the Minnesota Way. Our hearts and minds and hands work together to keep our homes and enterprises warm and welcoming to all.” Growth & Justice President Jane Leonard (see above item).