Thriving by Design
Minnesota Equity Blueprint Policy Priorities
for the 2019-2020 Legislature
Minnesota is at a crossroads. If we go in one direction, we can arrive at a future where each and every Minnesotan, regardless of race or geography, has access to the opportunity to succeed and share their success. We see a future where there is more prosperity that reaches all households, and a future where our climate and natural resources (including water, air, soil, forests and prairies) are protected by safe infrastructure, clean energy and state of the art buildings and transportation systems. If we choose a different direction, we will continue to rely on old social and governmental systems that were built to benefit some Minnesotans while they keep others in conditions of intergenerational poverty and illness, while our economy shrinks due to the impacts of sustained racial and regional exclusion, environmental degradation and climate change.
The members of the Thriving by Design Network know that we face an urgent and important choice. Many of us have spent decades working to build “One Minnesota”, a place that works for every person, regardless of where they are born or who they are born to. We know that the old system of exclusion and opportunity for a few was extremely costly and that “equity is the superior growth model” (Policy Link, 2014). Our work has made clear that Minnesota’s challenges are interconnected, as are the best solutions. For instance, some specific priorities pertaining to racial equity in education intersect with priorities associated with economic development and criminal justice reform.
On the pages that follow, Growth & Justice, OneMN.org and our Thriving by Design Network present legislative policy priorities for the 2019-20 biennium. During our shared “Thriving by Design” process, more than 300 individuals and dozens of organizations – from across rural, small town, suburban and urban Minnesota - described their concerns and offered their recommendations for improvement. This process involved smaller community meetings around the state and larger convenings in Greater Minnesota, hosted by the Upper Sioux Community in Granite Falls, with another large gathering in Hinckley at the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Casino. Our legislative priorities have been further informed by issue briefs written for us by many of Minnesota’s most experienced professionals working on the front lines of each issue.
The 2019-2020 legislative priorities are only a start. In coming months, we will elaborate and expand on these initial legislative priorities with a phased roll-out of the more detailed “One Minnesota Equity Blueprint.” This comprehensive document will describe our long-term vision and serve as a guidebook over the next decade for policies and practices that people, businesses, communities and governments can implement to achieve a more equitable Minnesota.
Three key themes distinguish this initial set of legislative priorities and our ultimate Minnesota Equity Blueprint: a persistent concern and focus on rural and urban interdependence, a high priority on racial equity and other aspects of social justice, and a stronger integration of climate action with equity in all aspects of policy-making.
We urge legislators to join us as we drive more democratic engagement in our shared civic space and frame these challenges, viewing them as positive opportunities rather than crises to avoid. Innovative investments in human potential, economic growth, physical infrastructure, civic engagement, and climate action present enormous and exciting new opportunities to build a Minnesota that is finally equitable and more prosperous than ever before.
Included below each issue category are links to research reports and policy organizations that are in alignment with our solutions, or that we have found useful or relevant in preparing these priorities. The linked organizations are not necessarily formal supporters of all our priorities.
Finally, we are grateful for the support and encouragement of the Blandin Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and Growth & Justice and OneMN.org donors.