This year, all of the St. Paul City Council and some of the school board are up for election. I’m going to try writing a quick guide to all those races including recommendations on who to vote for. I did a little bit of writing about the last two elections on Facebook and my friends seemed to find it useful, so hopefully this reaches a wider audience and helps people inform themselves about how to cast their ballot on November 5th. City politics can seem opaque and weird, but I feel it’s even more important to engage with politics on the local level because individuals and small groups can have a huge impact on government. One vote counts a whole lot more in a city council race than in an election for congress or the president, so you should go out there and use your power wisely.
I’m a software developer who has lived in St. Paul for a little over 10 years now. I’ve had a casual interest in city politics the whole time, but got much more involved after the world exploded in 2016 and I realized that the fight against racism, authoritarianism, and evironmental collapse will never end in my lifetime. I have no professional background in politics, but I’ve volunteered for a few campaigns, been to a few conventions, and have friends who are much smarter and better than me at organizing to enact political change. Hopefully I’ve learned a few things along the way.
There’s no way that I’m even going to attempt to write about elections in a detached, “neutral” style, so it might be useful to know the point-of-view that I’m starting from. Generally, I agree with the policy positions of the progressive wing of the democratic party. I want to see universal health care, more protections for workers, a less cruel immigration policy, fewer restrictions on voters, and I think the government needs to do much, much more to limit the damage of human-caused climate change.
On a local level, the issues that are most important to me are housing and transportation policy. In addition to a long-term climate crisis, we are in the middle of an immediate housing crisis. We’ve got a record low vacancy rate because the twin cities are a desirable place to live, and rents have skyrocketed as a result of us not building enough housing for the people who want to live here. The housing problem and the climate problem are interrelated, and we make progress on both by building more mixed-use neighborhoods with lots of safe, comfortable options for walking, biking, and transit to reduce our reliance on cars. I want to vote for elected officials that share this vision of what our city can be.
2019 St. Paul Elections
(these will turn to links as my posts get published)
- Coordinated Trash Pickup Ballot Question
- City Council Ward 1
- City Council Ward 2
- City Council Ward 3
- City Council Ward 4
- City Council Ward 5
- City Council Ward 6
- City Council Ward 7
- St. Paul School Board Election
- Polling Place Finder, remember that every eligible Minnesota voter can register to vote on election day
- How to Vote Early in person or by mail
- St. Paul author Naomi Kritzer is the hardest working election blogger in the business and she generally does a great job
- The Neighbors For More Neighbors questionnaire is a great way to learn the candidates’ positions on housing issues
- SPNN is doing the important work of filming candidate forums and posting them to youtube, check their recent uploads for video from your ward
- John Edwards, writing under his irreverent Wedge Live banner, has weighed with endorsements on some of the City Council races
- The Star Tribune Editorial Board has endorsed candidates in each city council race and the School Board
- Streets.MN put out a questionnaire for the Ward 1 candidates