• Reed Perkins

Policy: Welcoming Communities

Many of the policies of our campaign are designed to entice people to move to the district. These policies work either by removing road blocks or adding incentives. Today's policy looks at the next step. Once someone has moved here, how do we ensure they are able to participate in our communities?

No matter if they come here from South Dakota or Somalia, these are just a small fraction of the basic questions anyone new to the area is going to have:

How do I enroll my children in school?

How do I find healthcare?

How do I start a business?

How do I find out where to vote?

How do I get a drivers license?

Fortunately there are several organizations running pilot programs on how to welcome people to the area and get them engaged in the community.

Gateways for Growth has partnered with dozens of cities across the country including the Minnesotan cities of Austin, St. Paul, and East Grand Forks. They've produced this document breaking down some of their findings about how to help new residents. [1] The roadmap for the greater Grand Forks area, which includes all of SD1, is being spearheaded by Robin David. [2]

In Moorhead, a similar program to give new residents the tools they need is being run by Lisa Arnold. [3] East Grand Forks also greatly benefits from the work of the New Americans Integration Center run by Abdirisak Duale. [4]

Each of these organizations has found that when people are given the tools to actively take part in their community, they enthusiastically do so. They help out with schools, they help start new businesses, they help start farms, they take care of their neighbors, and they make Minnesota the amazing place it is.

Leaving it up to these organizations alone can be a heavy burden though. The welcoming plan Grand Forks has been working on as a private/public partnership can be modeled in other places in Minnesota. The first step would be to have county level surveys asking people what questions they had when they first moved to the area. Each county will then make their own welcome packet of information given to people moving into the county. Having the structure be as local as possible will make this project the most adapted to local concerns.

Yes we need to draw new people up here, but once they're here we need to make it as easy as possible for them to take part in our great communities. If the information is easily accessible, people will make use of it, and that's something the state should provide.

[1] http://www.grandforksgov.com/home/showdocument?id=25389

[2] https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/government-and-politics/1019785-Local-group-for-welcoming-immigrants-refugees-considers-next-steps

[3] https://www.inforum.com/news/government-and-politics/4808842-Moorhead-human-rights-award-winner-spends-every-weekend-helping-immigrants-learn-English?fbclid=IwAR2qkb7iLABqJQ2BKoFjE8_du5D5A208NRCVaaK0PMSThy_5VRyzmJWs3aY

[4] https://www.facebook.com/naicsomali/?ref=py_c

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Reed Perkins

I'm running for State Senate in Minnesota's 1st district because your voice deserves to be heard.

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