JLM wants YOU to vote on Election Day!

It’s hard to believe we’re less than one week out from next Tuesday’s (Nov 4th) Midterm Elections.  This is a super important day for us to cash in on one of our rights and make an impact in our local, state and national government.

Some of you have been following the local and national coverage of this year’s election and know exactly who you’ll be voting for – to those, I salute you for your diligent preparation!  For others that have been changing the channel every time a campaign ad comes on the TV (and quite frankly that could be all of us), fear not! There is still time to learn about the candidates and issues to make an informed decision.

To help you out, below are some of the hot topics and big candidate races (nonpartisan, of course).  theSkimm (a fun and easy to understand news source) has a Midterm Election Guide and it’s geared toward those who aren’t in “the know”.

Hot Topics

  • The Senate.  The Democrats have controlled the Senate since 2006.  That plus Obama has its benefits, but the Republican party (also known as the Grand Old Party, i.e. GOP) has had enough.  If the Republicans gain control they will own both the Senate and Congress.
  • National topics haven’t changed much.  The state of our economy, immigration laws and foreign policy continue to be top of mind as voters head to the polls.
  • Minneapolis specific City Amendments:
    • Filing Fee for City Elected Offices.  Some city council members want to increase the price of entry to run for positions like mayor.  Remember when we had 20+ candidates running for mayor in 2013 including Captain Jack Sparrow? Yeah, some people don’t want that again.
    • 70/30 Liquor Licensing Requirement. Have you ever ordered a glass of wine in a South Minneapolis restaurant and been forced to also order food?  That’s because many restaurants are required under law to gross at least 70% of their sales from food.  Many believe this law is antiquated and stifles the growing restaurant scene in our neighborhoods (it also forces restaurants to increase their food prices).  Opponents say we need to keep our neighborhoods clean & quiet.

Minnesota Gubernatorial

  • Currently being held by Mark Dayton (D).
  • Who is running?
    • Mark Dayton (D) – The guy basically runs Minneapolis (think Borough, Askov Finlayson and old school Dayton-Hudson’s).  He wants to come back.
    • Jeff Johnson (R) – Not so fast Dayton! Jeff has is a former State Representative and current Hennepin County Commissioner.
    • Chris Holbrook (Libertarian)
    • Hannah Nicollet (Independent)
    • Chris Wright (Grassroots)

Minnesota Senate

  • Currently being held by Amy Klobuchar (D) and Al Franken (D).  Al Franken’s seat is currently up for election.
  • Who is running?
    • Al Franken (D) – Wants a re-election.
    • Mike McFadden (R) – Franken’s biggest threat to the seat.  He has worked in the financial sector prior to this campaign.
    • Steve Carlson (Independent)
    • Heather Johnson (Libertarian)

Minnesota Congress

  • Minnesota has 8 congressional districts and each district elects a representative to the House for a two-year term.
  • There are several districts that cover the Greater Twin Cities area given the dense population.  District 5 covers the majority of Minneapolis but depending on your home address you may be in District 2,3 or 4.

Other races include Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Representative, County Commissioner, County Attorney, Sheriff, School Board Director, Supreme Court Justice, Court of Appeals Judge and District Court Judge.  Phew, that was a lot.

You can also find more information by visiting the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

Sometimes it takes a little nudge to get involved and I hope this does the trick. Our only ask – get out there and VOTE!

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Volunteer with Kids Voting Minneapolis

What: Help kids experience the democratic process at a young age. Answer questions and give instructions to students who are participating in “mock” voting.

Where: Minneapolis polling places. Kids Voting will be at 123 polling places across the city so we need lots of volunteers! We will do our best to schedule you at a polling place that is convenient to your home/work.

When: 3 hours on Election Day, November 4, 2014. A one hour training will take place before Election Day (Locations TBD).

Why: We believe that when kids can have an authentic voting experience at an early age, they are more likely to vote when they reach legal voting age. This is a one-time commitment but can significantly increase civic engagement in our community. Additionally, many volunteers return year after year because they really enjoy the experience. 

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/755011641220380/

If you are willing to volunteer, fill out this Google form so we can schedule you for a volunteer shift on Election Day. bit.ly/KVM2014

Or contact our volunteer coordinator by emailing sarah@kidsvotingminneapolis.org

Questions For Candidates: Advocacy Election Guide

Feel unprepared for the local legislator or candidate canvassing your neighborhood this election season?  Arm yourself with the following questions from the 2014 Advocacy Committee Election Guide!

  • How would you address the issue of the achievement gaps that exist between the average academic performance of affluent and lower-income students?
  • What will you do to encourage schools to increase participation of children in food programs like free/reduced food and nutrition programs school lunches, school breakfasts, and summer meals?
  • What will you do to ensure that all families, regardless of socio-economic backgrounds, will be guaranteed easily-accessible and early education resources?
  • What has motivated you to run for public office?

Remember to share your personal advocacy story!

JLM Advocacy Election Guide

Learning To Play – A Unique Perspective of Empathy

This week, the JLM Advocacy blog features a post by two guest bloggers from the Junior League of Minneapolis’ Project Development Committee: Kelly Chaffee & Amy Spiehler.

We all want to consider ourselves as empathetic people, but what exactly is empathy?

This is a question that the Project Development (PD) committee focused on at the beginning of the League year.  Working with direction from the book Creative Confidence, our team was encouraged to be on a mission to approach problems from the perspective of the people we serve, rather than the creation of a solution to “fix” a perceived problem.  So together, we attempted to figure out how to hear the voices in our community.

In our second committee meeting, the group welcomed speaker Merri Lynn Jono, a former 4th grade teacher of Green Central Park Elementary School in Minneapolis.  Merri Lynn was introduced to the Junior League when her daughter was invited to attend the American Girl Fashion Show, an annual Junior League fundraiser.   Merri Lynn loved the show and wanted to find a way to extend the great experience her daughter had to her 4th graders at Green Central.  The next year, she contacted the Junior League of Minneapolis (JLM) and asked to bring some of her students to watch the show.

Back at school, Merri Lynn leveraged the American Girl curriculum in her after-school programming and her girls loved it.  Merri Lynn found ways to make the stories come alive.  When they were reading about Victorian-age character Samantha, Merri Lynn even took her students to the Victorian-age Alexander Ramsey House in order for the girls to learn about local history.

Merri Lynn shared the story of one of her students who loved the Josefina character so much that her father was determined to get her the doll. On the last day of school the girl was so excited about her new treasure that she asked Merri Lynn to come to her house that summer to play American Girl dolls.  As Merri Lynn sat down to play dolls, making little voices and creating stories of what the dolls were doing, the little girl was taken aback, giggling and shy that Ms. Jono was making play voices!  Merri Lynn realized that this little girl, like many of the students she had seen before, had never learned to play and to use her imagination to create story lines around her playroom.

It really struck the PD group that a little girl might not understand how to interact and play with a doll.  Project Development realized that part of teaching kids to read requires the inclusion of the softer skills of learning: having  fun while you’re in a lesson so that it really sticks with you, being a kid and being awed by something that you’ll keep going back to learn more.  Merri Lynn’s story really struck our hearts as she showed us the perspective of her students.  Project Development continues to find way to integrate empathy in all of our community conversations and we really appreciated Merri Lynn joining us to show us the value of it.