Early in his career as a political reporter, Steve met two Minnesota DFLers whose political philosophies have helped to shape his.
Paul Wellstone, the late U.S. senator, was fond of saying, “We all do better when we all do better.” Rudy Perpich, the late governor, declared: “None of us is as smart as all of us.”
Like Wellstone, Steve believes that the fruits of an abundant economy should be shared in by all types of people. Sharing those benefits allows community members to provide for their households, and provides revenues for government to assist those on the margins to achieve a greater security and dignity. That’s the Minnesota Steve aims for.
Like Perpich, Steve believes that none of us has a corner on wisdom. Everyone, especially public officials, needs to listen to and talk with residents with backgrounds and beliefs different from ours. Heeding their viewpoints is critical to making the wisest, most inclusive choices.
Sometimes, listening to those who disagree with us can be the hardest part of public debate. But it’s necessary if we’re going to aim for the greatest good for the greatest number.
One problem in Minneapolis is that the rewards of our economic system haven’t been distributed as fairly as they should. Although the Board of Estimate & Taxation has only limited duties, members must recognize any opportunities to support greater equity. The board sets the city’s maximum property levy, and must authorize any borrowing. But its members can and should speak up as public officials when there are opportunities to rebalance our system of taxation and spending, both at the local and state levels. That’s a role Steve wants to play.
ON RACIAL JUSTICE
For a Better Future
Steve is part of multiple efforts to achieve greater racial justice. Besides the hundreds of hours he volunteered to catalog racially restrictive deeds in Minneapolis for the Mapping Prejudice project, he’s embraced immigrant and voting rights efforts.
His church includes hundreds of undocumented workers, many of whom work in the shadows of our economy. When the pandemic hit, Steve pitched in to help publicize their plight with a series of articles that helped the church (Incarnation/Sagrado Corazon) raise further funding for its food and rental assistance programs. Steve also pitched in physically, showing up at the church’s bimonthly food distribution events to help load the more than one million pounds of groceries distributed in 2020 by the parish.
During the summer and fall, he joined a small group of parishioners in walking the streets of Minneapolis to encourage residents to register to vote. At his urging, those efforts included the site of the George Floyd memorial, homeless camps in parks, and the portions of Lake Street where our most disenfranchised residents live.
Steve has also been active in Standing Together, the effort within his parish to bring the Spanish-speaking and English-speaking portions of the parish together in common cause. They focus on such issues as creating a path to citizenship for DREAMers and changing state law to restore the ability of undocumented people to obtain driving licenses. As part of his commitment, Steve and his wife Lynda spent two weeks early in 2020 in El Paso, volunteering in a transitional shelter for asylum seekers newly released from ICE custody.
As a member of the city’s Capital Long-Range Improvement Committee, Steve advocated for adding points for equity impact to its project-ranking matrix. This will help projects that make investments to reverse racial disparities.
As a white person who grew up in suburbia, Steve is constantly on guard against his own biases. He has engaged in his own private soul-searching, and in group discussions. He pledges to continue those efforts whether elected or not.