LPMN State Download 🍂 | Progressive Governance Academy, Summer Highlights, Cannabis Memo & More | September 2023

Welcome back to our quarterly state download, where you can check out what Local Progress Minnesota (LPMN) has been up to. From our LPMN Meet & Greet in Duluth this summer, to our 2023 National Convening in St. Louis, MO, LPMN members are coming together to move progressive change forward on the local level, in our state and beyond.   

Be sure to save the date for our upcoming Minnesota Progressive Governance Academy training for local elected officials on December 1-2, 2023 in St. Paul! Space is limited; apply HERE. Read more information below! 

In August, Duluth City Councilmembers and LP member leaders, Azrin Awal & Mike Mayou, hosted a Local Progress Meet and Greet in Duluth. Local Progress MN Organizing Committee Co-Chair Robyn Gulley (West St. Paul City Council and University of MN Board of Regents), Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, the MN AFL-CIO, SEIU Healthcare MN and other Duluth community leaders joined us for the event.

It was a beautiful summer evening of community and connection as we welcome more members from Northeastern MN to the LP Network! 

This summer, CTUL (Centro De Trabajadores Unidos En La Lucha), met with the LPMN Organizing Committee to discuss their Twin Cities based, Building Dignity and Respect (BDR) Campaign, which is led by construction workers fighting for better working conditions. They are calling on large developers to join the Building Dignity and Respect Program. The BDR Program is built on the Worker-driven Social Responsibility model, which has successfully transformed working conditions in some of the most hostile industries in the world, from agriculture in Florida to textile manufacturing in Bangladesh. Fourteen LPMN members signed CTUL’s Open Letter calling on large developers to protect workers’ rights in the construction industry as part of CTUL’s recent week of action.

If you are interested in learning more about the BDR Program and/or want to connect with CTUL, please reach out to Jillia.

Over a dozen LPMN members joined fellow Local Progress members and partners from across the country this month for our 2023 National Convening in St. Louis!  

This was our largest and most exciting national convening to date – more than 44 different strategy meetings, workshops, and site visits covering everything from workers’ rights and rent stabilization to reproductive justice, federal implementation, and navigating the challenges and opportunities in elected office. Read the full recap of our national convening here.  

For members who attended the convening this year, we’d love to hear your feedback and reflections. We ask that you take a few minutes to complete the evaluation form by September 29! Please fill out the survey here

Additionally, for members who received financial aid, the final deadline to submit travel reimbursements is September 29! Please submit your reimbursements HERE.

Please note: no reimbursements will be accepted after September 29.

On December 1-2, Local Progress Minnesota is hosting our first Progressive Governance Academy training since 2021! Two years ago, 20 local electeds gathered in Brooklyn Center, MN to hone their leadership skills, develop new governing tools, hear directly from movement organizations and strategize together. They are now leading change on the local level in their communities. Whether you are newly elected, serving your first term, or just want to strengthen your leadership skills, we encourage you to apply and help us spread the word about this upcoming training! Apply here for the 2023 LPMN PGA today! 

The Progressive Governance Academy exists to ensure that state and local elected officials who align with our values have the resources, assets, tools, and skills that are needed to become powerful and effective leaders. The program is jointly hosted by Local Progress, re:power, and State Innovation Exchange. This training will be for local elected officials only and space is limited. Apply HERE.

MN Cannabis Memo 

On August 1, 2023, Chapter 63–H.F.No. 100 went into effect in Minnesota; this state law makes cannabis legal to consume for recreational purposes for those 21 years of age or older. The law allows localities to pass their own local ordinances around public use, including smoking. Since the bill’s passage, we’ve heard from several members looking for resources and support navigating this on the local level. In response, Local Progress Impact lab created this Minnesota-specific memo, providing guidance to LPMN members in localities considering a local ordinance, including how to limit the potential discriminatory impact on communities of color.

Stable Rents, Rooted Communities: A Practical Guide for Building a Local Rent Stabilization Policy
Local Progress Impact Lab recently released a rent stabilization guide in partnership with PowerSwitch Action. This toolkit features a case study on St. Paul – the first city in the midwest to pass rent stabilization – with Councilmember and LPMN Organizing Committee Co-Chair Mitra Jalali.

From House to Home: Rent Stabilization Messaging Guide

Also, check out Local Progress’ new messaging guide! This guide on rent stabilization provides an introductory framework for how to discuss housing justice issues and rent stabilization based on polling, research and messaging best practices.

Localities Take Action to Protect Workers – Labor Day Report 2023

A new report released by Local Progress Impact Lab – in partnership with the State and Local Enforcement Project, which is jointly housed at the Center for Labor and a Just Economy (CLJE) at Harvard Law School and at the Economic Policy Institute – provides a comprehensive, national overview of over 75 pro-worker actions that localities have taken in the past year to create a world where working people can thrive.

Joe Gould represents Dist. 2 on the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners – his district includes 3/5th of the city of Bemidji. Joe is a high school social studies teacher and previously served on the city’s planning commission and Bemidji Area Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors. Originally from the Iron Range, Joe is a 5th generation northern Minnesotan and proud graduate of Bemidji State University. Joe enjoys hunting, traveling, attending hockey games, and spending time with his pup Coya (who is named after the first Congresswoman from Minnesota).  

His priorities for the county include expanding funding and programming for children’s mental health, supporting parks and trails, and supporting the Veterans Services Department. Joe joined Local Progress in the beginning of 2023 and attended the LPMN State Meeting in June focused on housing and tenant protections. He plans on attending numerous LP workshops and trainings throughout the year as well as the annual conference. 

Mai Chong Xiong serves as the Ramsey County Commissioner representing District 6 in Saint Paul. After winning the 2022 election, she was sworn into office in January 2023 and is currently serving her first term. Mai Chong’s top priorities are affordable housing, accessible transit, and investing in the development of East Side Saint Paul.

For the past ten years, she has served as a leader with TakeAction Minnesota, a grassroots organization that has worked closely with Local Progress. Mai Chong is a proud Saint Paul Public Schools mom of two and has a pet cat named Chopper.

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. 


Forward together, 

Jillia, Minnesota Chapter Manager