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Tom Goldstein for Saint Paul

Dear Saint Paul Resident:

Imagine where we could be as a city if we focused on sustainable development projects; prioritized funding of our parks, rec centers, and libraries; dramatically increased our affordable housing stock; viewed our riverfront as more than just another commercial opportunity; and repaired our aging infrastructure—rather than subsidizing glitzy entertainment venues that only serve to increase the tax burden on everyone else.

If we treated education as a citywide commitment in which resources are available to children throughout the community that will give every student a chance to graduate from high school prepared for college—or the technical skills necessary for joining an apprenticeship program, attending a trade school, or entering the work force.

If we invested in a citywide fiber network that ensured affordable, high-speed internet access for every resident, business, and nonprofit institution in St. Paul.

If we viewed climate change as a very real problem that requires green building practices, greater transit options, and a focus on alternative energy uses like wind, solar, and geothermal wherever possible.

If we stopped talking about “diversity” and “communities of color” in a vacuum but actually created inclusionary policies that insure opportunities for everyone to fully participate in our government and the local economy.

Somehow we can find money to fund a minor league ballpark that yields no new revenue or property taxes for the city—and pay infrastructure costs for a soccer stadium that will also be tax exempt—yet need to continuously raise the property tax levy to cover basic city services?

We can do much better than that.

With nearly forty percent of our residents living near or below the poverty line, a seemingly intractable achievement gap in our schools, limited opportunities for young people, and a zoning code heavily skewed in favor of developers, business as usual is no longer acceptable.

So—together—let’s change the status quo in Saint Paul and make our city the kind of community that works for all of us.

A city where we attract the tech firms and cutting-edge businesses that will create the thousands of livable wage jobs we need to build a thriving 21st Century economy.

A city in which we address homelessness by pooling resources to provide housing and transit subsidies for struggling residents and insist that all low income housing development projects include supportive services like mental health counseling and job training.

A city where we offer micro loans and start-up funds so that entrepreneurs—particularly people of color, new Americans, and recent college grads—can access the capital they need to pursue their dreams, support their families, and serve the community at large.

A city in which investments in after-school programming and all-day Pre-K take precedence over tax giveaways for the Midway Center and Ford site redevelopment projects.

And finally, a city where accountability and transparency in local government is the norm—and quality constituent service a given.

As a long-time community advocate, lawyer, small business owner, and former School Board member, I can be the change agent we need at City Hall who will help ensure that local government works for us rather than the other way around.

With your support we can achieve the kind of progressive reforms that will end the disinvestment in our neighborhoods; align city resources to ensure better educational outcomes for every student; reduce tax burdens on seniors and those living on fixed incomes; and realize the potential in our cultural communities so that every resident has the chance to succeed.

People before Politics. It’s much more than a slogan for me.

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