Growth & Justice is a non-partisan, non-profit organization and therefore we can’t and don’t endorse specific candidates or political parties. As our donors and readers of our e-news well know, Growth & Justice has been constructively focused since our founding in 2002 on finding bipartisan common ground and working on practical solutions that build a more equitable and inclusive prosperity in our state. Over the last two years, we have brought particular emphasis to rebuilding a “One Minnesota” mindset, bridging our rural-urban divide while vigorously pursuing policies that erase racial and economic disparities. We have helped find cross-sector consensus, especially between private-sector leaders who seek sustainable growth and non—profit community activists committed to racial and economic justice. We can and do urge voters on November 6 (or through early voting!) to elect candidates who best prioritize: reducing our damaging disparities, welcoming immigrants and people of color, investing more in our human capital (education, health-care and economic security) and physical infrastructure (transportation, transit, broadband and public works), promoting climate action, protecting our precious water and earth, and above all, just bringing us together and finding common cause. So get out there and vote for One Minnesota!
A blogpost by Growth & Justice Research Director Kate Searls was featured this month in CitiesSpeak, the newsletter of the National League of Cities. Searls captures the essence of our efforts to close the divide between rural and metro cities in Minnesota, by searching for sound policies and public investments that drive more equitable growth in all our regions. From the post: “Between 2011 and 2016, 82 percent of Minnesota’s counties saw an increase in the number of households of color. Of the ten counties which saw the greatest gains (in percentage points), none were in our most urban region, the Twin Cities Metro. The number of jobs held by employees of color has more than doubled over the past 20 years. Students of color are, or will soon be, the majority of children in school districts in both urban and rural Minnesota. “As Minnesota continues to become more diverse, inequities in educational, income, employment, health and incarceration exert greater force in suppressing the state’s prosperity.”For example, Minnesota’s GDP in 2011 would have been $16.4 billion higher if racial gaps in income were closed. If the inequities are left unaddressed, the economic and social costs will only escalate and hinder future opportunity.”
Growth & Justice has been a strong advocate for public and private efforts to equip rural communities with affordable broadband access and the connectivity that has become absolutely essential for rural equity. Our president, Jane Leonard, in her previous job as broadband grants administrator for the state of Minnesota, has been instrumental in helping Minnesota toward a goal of universal high-speed access and connectivity. And we are making progress. The latest maps from the Department of Employment and Economic Development show remarkable advances in just the last three years (note the shrinking salmon-colored “unserved” area and the growing turquoise-colored “served’’ area) at FCC minimum upload and download speeds. The Minnesota Office of Broadband Development also recently launchedCheckSpeedMinnesota.com , an interactive tool designed to gather information about the high-speed internet consumer experience in Minnesota.
“Ultimately, the Thriving by Design process and the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint embrace a belief that racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion strengthen our rural and urban communities, and sustain our state’s economy. Or in six words: Equity IS the superior growth model.” Kate Searls, Growth & Justice Research Director, from CitiesSpeak, National League of Cities newsletter, cited above.