Hometown: Concord, MA
Birthday: Oct. 18, 1985
Bio: I live in Whittier, Minneapolis with nine fish, five bicycles, four computers, one Wusthof knife, one ever-tolerant boyfriend, no partridge, and no pear tree.
A New England Yankee by birth, I was kidnapped three times a year by officials from a small liberal arts school in southern Minnesota, beginning a few months after my high school graduation. This strange ritual ended in 2008, but since the kidnappers blindfolded me every time, I didn't know how to get home. At least, I thought, this place is like New England: it has snow and people who believe neither in raising the thermostat in winter, nor in reading traffic signs or obeying them when their eye chances upon one.
My reporting on K-12 education issues has appeared in the Twin Cities Daily Planet and the Minnesota Independent. Until early 2011, I helped run TheColu.mn, a Minnesota-focused online news magazine for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. I takes news tips, reader comments, and bad puns at my email address, listed above.
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When interacting with the world in a political way, I believe people should keep a couple things in mind:
- Those who have more should fight to create and preserve opportunity for those who have less.
- Be aware of your privilege, and when someone challenges it, think hard before you pitch a fit.
After that, things get pretty murky: the Devil's always in the details, but I think it's important to go through the details to find him.
I am not registered with any party, but I have always voted Democratic. I believe government should be as efficient as possible, but that it is also capable of achieving great things like dramatically increasing opportunities for poor kids. I would call myself pretty liberal on most social and tax issues, and moderately anti-corporate, but I've got a libertarian streak when it comes to private property.
When it comes to same-sex marriage, I'm a bit disappointed that the issue is even on the ballot, and I wouldn't mind at all if I could someday get legally married to my partner of three years. However, the amendment was put on the 2012 ballot through perfectly constitutional, democratic means, and it's time for the electoral process to do its thing fairly and impartially, with both sides being given equal time to debate the issues. All in all, though, I wish this country were debating things like employment and housing discrimination protections for LGBT Americans, rather than something that primarily benefits a privileged portion of the LGBT community.
The Red Sox.
But, seriously: I grew up on the Congregational side of the United Church of Christ. It was not an overly theological place, but the sanctuary had one Bible for every four seats, and a lot of us opened them up for the sermon. It was also a pretty liberal place. I heard a lot of sermons pointing out that Jesus' affinity for the poor, the outcasts, and the prostitutes as a good role model, and the community generally went for the idea that being a Christian meant working to get the poor, forgotten, and oppressed a better deal in life.
That said, I'm more of an atheist than anything else right now, and not a terribly spiritual one at that.
Local Hot-Button Issues
Development: Southwest Minneapolis is struggling with a real estate market that incentivizes redevelopment of a lot of prominent bits of land around the area. I lean towards the free market/property rights side, but I think neighborhood groups can be doing a lot more to foster debate and build consensus around establishing standards for what kinds of development they would like to see in their communities. How do you ballance economic and property tax needs with aesthetics and quality of life concerns, and then communicate that to every developer who comes calling?
Public Schools: As more parents return to Minneapolis public schools for economic and quality reasons, they'll have to grapple with many issues, including:
- Spotty support for all accelerated learners,
- A yawning gap between the academic achievement white students and poor students of color
Property taxes: From repeated conversations with city folks, nonprofit folks, and residents, it's pretty clear that Minnesota's current mode of funding local government is, well, broken. Something's got to change, and I'm interested to figure out what those solutions might be.
Where to eat for dinner: I don't know. You tell me! I'm trying to get more up on the local foodie scene, and I'd love your recommendations and tips.