Last night, I sent the below letter to the 14,000 people who subscribe to my mailing list, but I want it to be available to everyone. I am still pressing for more information on the circumstances surrounding Justine Damond’s tragic death, but I will continue to stay in communication with all of you – giving updates as I have them, offering information about process and policy, and keeping you in the loop with what I’m doing every step of the way.
I delivered these remarks at the Minneapolis City Council meeting on June 30, 2017, just prior to the vote to increase the minimum wage in Minneapolis to $15.
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I want to extend my thanks to everyone who’s had a voice in this conversation.
Whatever position people held, whatever they thought at the beginning, whatever they think at the end—every voice made this process better. Every voice made this ordinance possible. I want to give special thanks to the advocacy groups and the labor groups who really put their shoulders to the wheel on this to make sure that it happened, and that made space for it to happen in the city of Minneapolis. Everybody worked to make it better, and I appreciate that.
This isn’t an end today. For 71,000 people in the city of Minneapolis, this is a beginning. For 71,000 workers this is a new day and a new opportunity. This is a day to be celebrated and I’m glad that we are. For a lot of people we have raised the floor of poverty significantly. For a lot of people, this will lift them out of poverty. For all the reasons that have been discussed here today, this has an impact on the entire chain of events that transpires before and after somebody finds themselves in poverty. Issues of immigration, language, education—these impacts are all ameliorated by a $15 an hour minimum wage. And so we celebrate today for all of those reasons, and I celebrate with you.
Today the Supreme Court announced that it will review Donald Trump’s shameful executive order banning travelers from six mostly Muslim countries, and that in the interim, it will allow for partial enforcement of that ban. Since both the Fourth Circuit and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals struck down the ban back in May, we knew that the Supreme Court would likely be called to make the final judgement as to its legality. But as for the moral judgement, this couldn’t be more clear. I believe what the Fourth and Ninth Circuits believe: this ban is unconstitutional. It’s also un-American. For all the coded language and spin the Trump administration uses to defend this executive order, we all know what this is. It’s a travel ban that specifically targets Muslims—some fleeing persecution and danger in their countries, some looking for better opportunities for themselves and their families, and all hoping to find comfort in an America we’re still trying to perfect: a country that welcomes all, and gives everyone a chance to thrive.
I’m troubled to see that this order will be at least partially enforced, not least of all for the impact it will have on the immigrant community here in Minneapolis. I’m proud to serve as mayor of a city with real cultural diversity—a city made so much more vibrant by our immigrant community, hailing from around the world. Our Muslim immigrants, in particular, have added so much to the fabric of Minneapolis, and are now part of the backbone of our neighborhoods and our city. That’s why it pains me so much to see President Trump single them out for attack. But we won’t let this or any policy dissuade us from pursuing our shared vision of One Minneapolis: a city that rejects mistrust, embraces human connection, and fosters a community of love for all. So while Trump’s executive order will have another day in court, I’ll be standing with our immigrant communities, regardless of the outcome.
Given the utter lack of transparency around its drafting, I’m not surprised to see that the Senate Republicans’ rewrite of the AHCA is just as misguided and cruel as the version passed by the House last month. In fact, it has even steeper cuts to Medicaid, a program that serves over 1 million of the most vulnerable Minnesotans, and thousands of children here in Minneapolis. The proposed bill defunds Planned Parenthood, an organization that’s been providing vital reproductive health care to women for a century. It could also effectively end protections for people with pre-existing conditions – a literally life-saving provision in the Affordable Care Act. What do all these cuts get us? A big increase in the number of uninsured Americans, and a big tax cut for the wealthiest.
Fortunately, there’s still time to stop this dangerous bill from becoming law, and I commend Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken, and Rep. Keith Ellison for their continued opposition to it. They know what we know: our health care system should help more people get the coverage and care they need – not less. We can and must do better.
Congratulations to our 2016 Green Business Awardees:
- Elite Cleaners
- Dinsmore Cleaners
- Prospect Foundry
- Longfellow Market
- Allied Parking
- Taqueria La Hacienda
- Mercado Central
These businesses are working to be cleaner and greener in a true display of their commitment to our community and our planet. Their leadership will hopefully serve as a catalyst for more businesses to operate in an efficient and environmentally sound manner. In fact, we’ve already received more applications for the 2017 version of the annual award than in any other year.
And they’re just in time. Now more than ever, it is up to cities—both citizens and businesses—to lead on sustainability and climate issues. I applaud the businesses that are urgently addressing climate change concerns in ways that energize their business, while recognizing that decisions made in Minneapolis can have lasting impacts across the world. The 74 businesses participating in our green business programs are responsible for removing air pollutants equivalent to taking over 1,500 cars off of Minneapolis roads.
Additionally, many of the awardees are located in communities of color—communities that will likely bear much of the fallout from the human creation of climate change and are disproportionately affected by environmental impacts. I commend these businesses for taking action to not only protect our shared environment, but also the people who share their neighborhoods. Environmental justice is at the heart of our work on this issue, and these businesses have taken that to heart.
It’s great to see communities, businesses and government work together to protect our environment. Together, we’ve taken steps to strengthen our city, community and business relationships—and get us closer to a healthy, equitable, and resilient One Minneapolis.