FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
District 59B State House Candidate Raymond Dehn responds to attack mail pieces of fellow candidate Ian Alexander
August 12, 2012 Contact: Raymond Dehn Tel 612.310.3346
Minneapolis, Minn. — On Saturday, a number of North Minneapolis residents received negative literature pieces mailed by an independent group "Minneapolis Democrats for Truth" to voters in District 59B. These pieces attacked fellow candidate with whom I disagree on important issues, but who has worked hard in this race and who is an upstanding citizen and resident of North Minneapolis. In short, I find these attacks on a fellow candidate distasteful and harmful to the solidarity of our diverse community.
From the beginning of this race, my campaign has stayed positive, and I am disappointed in these attacks so close to the election. My campaign is focused on fighting for a better future, and has avoided these types of personal attacks. With more than 20 years of involvement in the North Minneapolis community and the Democratic Party, I truly value voter engagement and building participation in our democratic system. Negative campaigning undermines those values.
As someone who has done things in the past that have shaped me into the person I am today, I understand that it is possible for people to make significant changes in their lives. We should encourage and support people when they make positive changes and I believe that candidate Ian Alexander's decision to switch from an active Republican to an active
Democrat is a positive change. Additionally, I believe that negative attacks during an election make it harder for individuals to work together on issues after the election that are important for all Minnesotans.
My campaign remains focused on current issues and future challenges, not dredging up old history. Like Keith Ellison, I too believe that Everybody Counts and Everybody Matters. As a result, I welcome all people who want to be a part of the DFL, who want to strengthen and unite our community, and who are ready to work to move us forward. All the candidates fit that description, and I hope we can all continue to work together regardless of who wins this election.
Prepared and paid for by the Committee to Elect Raymond Dehn
Proposed State Constitutional Amendments
There are two constitutional amendments that will appear on the November ballot. One will define marriage as "...only a union of one man and one women ..." and the other will "... require all voters to present a valid photo identification..."
I believe we need to vigorously oppose these amendments, work to keep discrimination out of our constitution, and make sure that not a single voter is disenfranchised through an unnecessary rule requiring voter ID. Let’s get to work on making our state better and stronger.
Jobs and the Green Economy
To quote Louis King, the Director of HIRE Minnesota, quoting FDR “The best social service program in the world is a job.” The green economy has the opportunity to place many low-skilled, highly-skilled and all workers between in new jobs on a ladder toward success. These are living wage jobs that are vital to so many families and provide future promotional opportunities as well. We have the chance to create new industries and provide new skills for many who are underemployed, if we are willing to invest in green technologies, green building retrofits, and related education and training. The city, county and state need to work together to attract businesses and manufacturing to the north side of Minneapolis that will bring the jobs and the wealth to the community so that we will see a real progress for all members of our community and not just a small few.
All children in Minnesota should have access to educational opportunities that provide a foundation for future success as teenagers and adults. If we don’t make investments early in the lives of our children, we will certainly pay the price later. Moreover, early childhood development and quality education need to be the cornerstones of a comprehensive public safety or social service program. The disparities in our current education system impact urban school districts disproportionately. The added burden on these school districts will not be resolved until we begin to rethink how we fund the state’s education system. The resources allocated from the “Race to the Top,” an early childhood education program, to the State of Minnesota from the federal government will be a great start, but we all need to get back to focusing on what’s best for the kids.
Public Safety/Criminal Justice System
Everyone should feel safe in their own neighborhood. Additionally, they should also feel safe in other neighborhoods. Public safety begins with a justice system that is fair, equitable and most importantly applied equally to all citizens of Minnesota. Only then will our communities be truly safe. The current system in place disproportionally impacts low income and communities of color, not because there is more criminal actives, but because there is more policing and because crimes are more often more visible. In addition to an in-depth analysis of whether or not there has been an increase in public safety due to increase of people being arrested and convicted we also know that social programs and anti-poverty efforts are cost-effective ways to reduce the incentives for crime and violence in the long run.
While the debate on healthcare continues at the national level it is important to remember that we as a State do not need to wait for the Congress to intact changes to the system, we can do that now at the state level. In the state of Minnesota, all people should have access to quality affordable healthcare. This program should be one part of a comprehensive public health program to address health disparities that currently exist, and we need to develop additional cost-effective resources that address the immediate and preventative health needs of underserved communities.
Community and Business Development
Our neighborhoods in North Minneapolis have been devastated by the downturn in the housing market, the mortgage foreclosure crisis and the May 22nd tornado that impacted 1000’s of homes. Not only have many families and individuals been displaced, but many homes have fallen into disrepair. If we do not act swiftly, the loss of these houses and families will have a prolonged negative impact on our community. We need to develop a strategy to rebuild our neighborhood fabric and return our community to the stability neighborhoods we all desire. There have been many successes over the past couple of years and most recently, the work of the Northside Community Recovery Team, including the work of Habitat for Humanity, Urban Homeworks in response to the May 22nd tornado.
North Minneapolis needs to have a viable commercial corridor as well. Broadway needs a focused effort similar to what happened when the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County and private developers came together at Chicago and Lake Street. Until we do, all the great redevelopment efforts that we see today, such as 1101 Broadway, the Capri Theater and development along Lowry may fall short. We need to focus on cross-jurisdictional efforts to coordinate the kinds of programs and monies that will establish and maintain businesses providing vital services to the community.
For far too long the Northside of Minneapolis has been underserved by public transportation. In many areas of North Minneapolis it is imperative that residents have transportation options to provide access to employment, food and needed services. Over the past several years bus lines and service have been reduced requiring some residents to walk farther distances to catch the bus and to wait longer for their bus.
Beyond the lack of transportation options for residents of the Northside, we also need to consider the current hiring practices of MNDOT. For the past several decades the department has been derelict in meeting their contract and hiring goals for disadvantaged businesses. While lately there has been a lot of discussion regarding this, there is still much that needs to be done and changes need to happen sooner rather than later. To start, the practices of the Department along with many high ranking officials at MNDOT need to be audited to determine if there has been any willful negligence or malfeasance in the allocation of contracts and hiring regarding minority contracts/goals. In addition, steps and procedures need to be implemented to assure that monies are allocated and used as intended.