On Tuesday, April 26th DFL Representatives Carlos Mariani, Peggy Flanagan, Susan Allen and Rena Moran, accompanied by numerous other DFL legislators held a press conference at the state office building to discuss racial equity, and their party’s perception that House Republicans refuse to pass legislation addressing the issues associated with it. House DFL Representatives used the press conference to ask House Republicans to pledge to spend at least $50 million on racial equity initiatives.
Rep. Rena Moran (St. Paul) began the press conference addressing racial inequities by asserting, “we are in a crisis today.” Moran cited that the black poverty rate has risen, and that blacks are much less likely to own a home. Moran also argued that not embracing racial equity legislation will harm the strength of the state’s economy in future. With the white population continuing to age and leave the workforce, “communities of color become the future workforce” said Moran. Moran finished her statement by asserting that “Republicans are out of touch with communities of color, and the American Indian community,” because they have yet to make racial equity a primary component of the caucus’ agenda.
Rep. Susan Allen (South Minneapolis) was more poignant in her diagnosis of why racial disparities exist, arguing that “the root of racial disparities is racial bias.” Allen went on to say, “Republicans’ failure to act is beyond negligence.”
Rep. Mariani (St. Paul) spoke very little, but said that communities of color are being “left out of American dream,” claiming that the budget surplus offers the state “a historic opportunity.”
Rep. Peggy Flanagan (St. Louis Park) concluded the statements portion of the press conference by summarizing the DFL’s position on working for racial equity. “It is clear that this [racial equity] is an issue that is important to folks in Minnesota,” said Flanagan, noting that “the face of Minnesota is changing.” Flanagan concluded by invoking the late DFL Senator Paul Wellstone stating, “we all do better, when we all do better.”
Republicans have in fact offered a $25 million dollar plan to rectify racial inequities, but it is included in the jobs and k-12 education bills. The Republican approach is rooted in business reform as well as private school vouchers. The division of funds in their agenda is pictured below.
With a politically divided government, compromise will need to take place for any equity measures to be passed. Subscribe to Alpha News to receive more information on racial equity measures and Minnesota politics.