Minneapolis has been a prosperous city, but too many of our residents don’t ever have the opportunity to share in that prosperity. Tom believes that it is our greatest embarrassment that Minneapolis has the largest disparities in America between white residents and people of color. Our elected leaders campaigned on an “equity agenda” four years ago, but progress has been slow if not non-existent. We need a change in leadership so that we can get real results.
A good job, with benefits, remains the only real ticket to the middle class in our city. Without a good job, people can’t support themselves or their families or make decisions about where and how they live.
Tom believes that Minneapolis has relied for too long on a few legacy companies to support our middle class. Now those companies are facing strong headwinds and our elected leaders have no plan to ensure our long-term prosperity.
Tom supports the following policies to ensure our long-term prosperity:
Other cities like Austin, Boulder, and Indianapolis have enjoyed great success in positioning themselves on the national stage. They accomplish this by aligning labor, education, business, government, non-profits, and capital sources around a common goal. For Boulder, it was organic food. For Indianapolis, they’ve become a technology hub for the Midwest. Minneapolis can and should lead in specific areas. Tom believes that with real coalition building around food, health and wellness and the arts, Minneapolis can regain its rightful position on the world stage, creating, retaining and attracting good jobs for all of our residents.
One of the biggest barriers to economic success in communities of color is access to capital. Tom believes we should identify new ways to provide budding entrepreneurs with the resources they need to be successful. This means expanding training programs and business planning support. It also means expanding micro-financing programs that put real money in the hands of small business owners.
Hennepin County has blazed a trail with its Pathways program. This program combined forward- thinking job training programs and paid internships with the needs faced by a coming wave of retirements. It also re-evaluated the job requirements for all positions in county government. By eliminating onerous and unnecessary certifications and education requirements, they were able to open the door to a large pool of new applicants. Tom believes that this is precisely the kind of program that Minneapolis should be pursuing.
Why should you choose Tom on jobs?
Tom built the non-profit Hennepin Theatre Trust from the ground up. This organization has developed cutting-edge arts programs across the state, serving as a cornerstone of Minneapolis’ arts and culture scene. The Trust also owns and manages the State, Orpheum and Pantages theatres. Because of Tom’s vision, these theatres now bring over 450,000 people downtown each year, creating and supporting hundreds of local jobs. While working with the Minneapolis Community Development Agency, Tom oversaw the restoration of the State Theatre, a watershed event for historic preservation in our community. At a time when the city was tearing down most of our cultural landmarks, the State Theatre stands as stark reminder of what we could have lost.