• Entrepreneurship
  • Democracy and Civic Engagement
  • Agriculture
  • Rural & Urban relationships – cultural exchanges “same problems to do with inequality”


  • Rural narrative surrounding arts has to change- reconfigure communities around arts and culture
  • Create stories of the farmer through arts- where are the stories being told?- new versions of Grant Wood’s painting (which ironically was modeled by a couple from Chicago) and Gordon Parks and the woman with the broom image


  • There’s always a constant flow of messaging- metaphor of brat and the trimmings
  • There is a positive direction that we can land on. How do we start to tell the message?
  • Campaign messages, communication, and media has a large influence on minds and hearts
  • The kind of media access and diet they have affects their perception of the issues (example of the Facebook echo chamber).
  • People’s perspectives and stereotypes are largely influenced by media such as TV.

Democracy & Civic Engagement

“How do you legislate hearts?”

  • Black Votes MN- Common equity themes throughout communities in different geographic areas
  • Policy pushes practice- Create legislative behavior and hearts will follow – Germany and their strict anti-Nazi legislation after World War II.
  • Use a fine-tooth comb to look at current Minnesota laws that are discriminatory
  • What is our identity and personality as Americans today? – Everything in our narrative is otherism, competition, and the need to “get paid.”
  • We want the voice but don’t show up.
  • Always reiterating the facts is necessary – specific example regarding Affirmative Action
  • Voting and vouching on election day- people are being turned away due to extra validation, too many barriers against those disenfranchised, or those incarcerated (especially people in jail who are NOT charged with a crime, but don’t know they can vote)

IDEA: Ballot initiatives: Change language to be more accessible and understandable for voters- remove legalese

  • Clearly state facts in plain language- we can’t assume that people understand every issue- need to connect the dots between issues and elected officials
  • Civics- youth are largely disconnected from granular language
  • Sometimes fear can be used as an inspiration for action- sometimes we play too nice
  • Messaging of fear mongering black communities that our current government puts out

Economic Development

  • County Structure – do we need 87 counties? For example, Hennepin County is given the same amount of resources as a 5,000 person town.
  • Reconfigure how we’re organized around place- regional planning

IDEA: County Consortiums that maintain separate identity of place, but streamline resources.

  • Show a narrative of responsible government tax spending instead of corruption – newer resident to MN was surprised when they saw street sweepers and potholes being filled. If people see the impact they’re more likely to trust their taxes are being spent well.

IDEA: Weekly report of how tax dollars are being spent which is sent to every Minnesotan through their Minnesota email

  • Inequity- companies get state contracts and receive tax breaks


  • Whitish bubble- individuals fighting to maintain school segregation within the community. White communities are instructed to attend the school with more resources, and Latino communities are instructed to attend school with fewer resources.
  • There is a lack of programming and investment in our youth programs – hours of 3 to 6 pm investment

IDEA: HEAL Legacy Fund – 3/8th cents for each tax dollar to spend on the wellbeing of Minnesota Youth

  • Time is right to propose more spending on children, based on the last election’s education referendums.

IDEA: Mandate junior achievement entrepreneurship programs in high school


“Everybody is concerned about the workforce shortage.”

  • Background checks are a barrier- make opportunity to participate in the economy and workforce equitable
  • Skill mismatch
  • Unemployment statistics don’t show the whole picture– 3% unemployment doesn’t mean that people have sustainable living wage income.
  • If we believe we want more in x program and the public is willing to pay for it- that creates jobs.
  • Need to train individuals to fill the needs of society towards livable communities


  • The need to invest in entrepreneurship for farmers


  • Trump supporters are moving more and more towards supporting single payer and Medicare for All- it’s all about education and marketing the correct terms (Obamacare versus Affordable Care Act)


“We need to redefine what affordable means in affordable housing.”

  • The high senior population needs housing resources- it’s a growing concern

IDEA: Provide housing resources and support programs for elders.

  • Affordable housing is a huge problem in the cities- We need housing for youth, people of color, and elders.
  • Artist loft contracts with developers are an issue for communities- developers come in with a 10-20 year rent agreement and then after that agreement lapses, rent goes through the roof.

IDEA: Get rid of limited vacancy policies

  • Affordable housing should be a private-public partnership
  • It should be a human right that people have a roof over their head
  • Mixed-income developments can work if you structure and implement it correctly- have to watch how you do it.
  • Need to re-think and re-do public housing- focus on seniors and youth and provide childcare, jobs, and wrap around support.
  • Housing is one thing, but there are so many reasons you might end up homeless- issue trickles into other areas.
  • Example of Salt Lake City solving the homelessness issue- it is a worthwhile conversation to say we need to make sure nobody is homeless
  • Tiny homes- resources need to be there to transition out of homelessness such as employment services, daycare, bus passes, and communally shared responsibilities.
  • Senior Housing model is also catching on- older adults living with other older adults, growing old together in community with shared responsibility.


“We need to overcome the concept of if people come to my area, I’m going to lose something.”

  • Welcoming Communities Program
  • Creating a win-win proposition
  • There are 92 languages in Minneapolis public schools
  • Chamber of Commerce is refuting the anti-immigrant myths
  • We need to recognize that we were the first immigrants that “came in on somebody else’s pie.” We are not homegrown and can share the pie.
  • Stealing the land/manifest destiny comparison to someone coming into your house and deciding they want to stay there.
  • “You came on someone else’s pie. Clearly there was enough pie then.” – referring to the immigration of white founders


  • Could broadband be a utility? – it’s critical in our ability to connect and share information
  • Get the USPS involvement in the internet – truly provide access

IDEA: Every resident has a MN email tied to city and state government- would force broadband connection, reimagines the delivery of information, and the technology is there to implement it.

  • New innovation on the horizon- Elon Musk is working to put up more satellites for faster and more efficient access for rural areas.

Income Mobility/Poverty

“Here’s what you have, what you can maximize, and how others having this as well helps you.”

  • What do you really need and what do you already have access to?
  • History of funding basic quality of life – 1940s we had good investments such as the New Deal, 1970s-80s we switched to an anti-taxation agenda, now we need to get back to paying for what we need in order to succeed.
  • Need to get a handle on wasteful spending- there’s an entire America that can be funded on waste

IDEA: Need to invest more in social security and remove the income cap– equity is high-income earners paying into social security

  • Issue of class: get rid of the perspective that “I’m protecting mine” and shift to power of the people versus the power

Public Safety & Criminal Justice

“When is there a tipping point?”

  • There is high incarceration of rural whites, specifically in SW Minnesota – how do we use this commonality between urban and rural to make change such as drug laws and restore the vote?
  • Usual narrative about incarcerated individuals in communities needs to be challenged

IDEA: Restore the vote- for those currently incarcerated – Vermont and Maine are an example. Current policies are similar to laws that kept people from voting in the Jim Crow era.  

IDEA: Change drug laws

  • We need to keep the language of “police brutality” in the Blueprint because “it’s real. We cannot take that off the list.”
  • Need to hold police accountable just like in any other job- especially because when they mess up in their job it’s a big mess up, possibly a loss of life.
  • People in certain communities are starting to refrain from calling the police because they are scared they’ll be killed.

IDEA: Community Policing and Navigator

  • There were two police-civilian shootings in the same day in different communities- One in North Minneapolis and one in Shakopee a few weeks ago
  • We want more cops that live and work in the community- it’s in the individual

IDEA: Residency requirement policy for police- has been offensive push back in the past that certain communities can’t recruit “good police officers.”

IDEA: Change requirements for police employment to remove barriers for those in the community.

  • The bias narrative surrounding Mohammed Noor and the shooting of Justine Dammond that is not attributed to white cops – narrative of a fast-tracked cop who wasn’t ready

IDEA: Mental health professionals going out with cops to dispatch calls

IDEA: Rider insurance for cops which takes the responsibility off the city and puts it onto the individual

IDEA: Change MN Statute regarding “fear for my life” in police-civilian shooting situations – give police less opportunity to twist the narrative

  • Slave labor of incarcerated individuals- need to abolish for-profit prisons and remove barriers to jobs when individuals get out of jail

Rural-Urban Relationships

“How do we bridge the divide between rural & urban?”

  • Get inner city youth out to the country- give city kids an opportunity to go to camp- for example, North High athletics are going out to Greater MN and seeking out Greater MN partnerships

IDEA: Rural and urban exchange program for youth

Need to break down walls through arts, sports, etc.