It’s already been an action-packed 2023! The Minnesota Legislature continues pursuing an agenda that local electeds and communities across Minnesota have been advocating for for years – and then some. We’re off to a great start as we begin to see legislation being passed – from Drivers’ Licenses for All and Restore the Vote to enshrining access to abortion into Minnesota law, investing in a clean energy future and more. This is just the beginning; there’s much left to do this session and beyond – including passing Paid Family and Medical Leave, Earned Sick and Safe Time, undoing restrictions to abortion access and protecting LGBTQ+ communities. Find out how you can take action below!
In January, the Local Progress Organizing Committee (the state’s leadership body) came together for a day-long retreat to strategize and set our vision for our work over the course of the next year. Whether you are a local elected official, a partner organization, an alumni or our funding partner, we look forward to working together over the next year!
As a network of local elected officials committed to racial and economic justice, we are closest to the communities we serve; we know that change happens from the ground up. Working together with local community organizing efforts to pass policies at the local level encourages action at the state and federal level. For example, passing Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) at the local level in some of Minnesota’s largest cities – including Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, and Duluth – has allowed Minnesotans to pursue this policy at the state level.
Check-out the Op-Ed LP members wrote last year in support of statewide ESST; we encourage you to join other bold local leaders in support of ESST to keep up the drumbeat of support. Whether it’s public safety transformation, rent stabilization and tenant protections, workers rights or climate action, we know we need to continue to pursue a bold agenda at the local level to enact change statewide.
In January, the LPMN Organizing Committee sent a letter of unified support for Paid Family and Medical Leave to the Minnesota Legislature. Local Progress members have testified at hearings on the issue in January and February. St. Paul City Councilmember Mitra Jalali spoke about the importance of and impact on city employees; Hopkins Public School Board Member Jen Westmoreland spoke for public school employees; St. Paul School Board Member Uriah Ward stood up for teachers; and Minnetonka City Councilmember Kimberly Wilburn highlighted the impossible choices Minnesotans are forced to make everyday they go without paid family and medical leave. St. Louis County Commissioner Ashely Grimm spoke to how this policy will benefit county workers.
At Local Progress, we firmly believe in the strong connection between local government and community needs. That’s why we asked Local Progress Minnesota members to share their perspectives on the urgent need for Paid Family and Medical Leave within their communities. This week, we heard from local electeds across Minnesota representing school boards and city and county governments.
Corporate interests are flooding into our state to spread disinformation about this bill. Take action in support of Paid Family and Medical Leave by signing onto the letters of support from our partners at the Paid Family and Medical Leave Coalition:
Local Progress Members in Minnetonka, Hopkins and St. Louis Park are co-hosting a panel discussion this month on public safety with Hennepin County Attorney and Local Progress member Mary Moriarty on Wednesday, March 15. We invite you to join us! Register here.
Interested in hosting a community safety conversation in your community? Reach out to Jillia.
Last year, over 25 local elected officials and partners from across the state came together for our first-ever LPMN state meeting. We’ll be coming together again this year and you won’t want to miss it! Save the date for LPMN’s 2023 State Meeting on Friday, June 2, 2023 – more info coming soon!
In 2023, we’re working on recruiting the largest delegation of values-aligned local elected officials from Minnesota to join us in St. Louis, MO for our National Convening! Let’s show the rest of the country how badass we are!
Kimberly Wilburn is an at-large Councilmember in Minnetonka. She was elected in 2021 and is currently serving her first term on the council. Kimberly is a doctor of Veterinary Science and a community organizer, and she brings decades of experience to her role on the Minnetonka City Council. She is passionate about community safety and criminal justice reform, clean energy and affordable housing. Since joining Local Progress, Kimberly has been active in the network, including attending both our state meeting and national convening last year. We’re excited to welcome Kimberly to the LPMN Organizing Committee!
Elliott Payne represents Ward 1 on the Minneapolis City Council. He was elected in 2021 and is currently serving his first term. Elliott is an avid year-round biker; his priorities include, equitable public transit, public safety transformation and affordable housing. Elliott has been an active Local Progress member, attending our Progressive Governance Academy training in 2021, the 2022 national convening, as well as participating in the public safety steering committee site visit in Portland last year. We’re thrilled to welcome Elliott to the MN Organizing Committee!
ICYMI: We’re thrilled to share that LPMN Organizing Committee member and Hopkins School Board Chair, Jen Westmoreland, has joined LP’s newly formed national school board steering committee! The steering committee will guide the work of the school board cohort moving forward, bringing a diverse range of experiences and expertise to building our shared agenda.
We’re continuing to grow our network across Minnesota! Do you have colleagues or partners who should join us? Encourage them to join the LP network by signing up here. Membership is free! We’re excited to connect with values-aligned local elected officials across MN!
Working on something big or small? Let us know about it here. As always, reach out to us for organizing or policy support, strategizing or dreaming up change.