Issues

Five key issues I’d like to focus on are community engagement in government, housing accessibility, job creation, transportation, and public safety. We have so much going for us as a city, yet, the coronavirus pandemic, an economic down-turn, and unrest from systemic racism has shaken our community as well. Over the next few years, we will have a unique chance to grow as a city in a way that will help our citizens thrive economically, professionally, and personally. We can also take meaningful steps to ensure our community is accessible, safe, and inclusive for everyone.

Maple Grove’s City Council members are currently elected on an at-large basis. All city councilors could feasibly be from the same neighborhood. The character and makeup of our neighborhoods vary vastly within our 32 square miles of land, and that is only becoming increasing so as Maple Grove continues to grow in population, well over 70,000 residents. We will soon have access to the 2020 US Census data to give us insight into how our population has changed in terms of its diversity and distribution.

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My husband and I waited six years after our marriage to buy our town house, finding it easier to commit to one another for life than to a mortgage. When we finally made the leap to buy, we were worried about the expense of our mortgage, association dues, home insurance premiums, and unexpected home repair costs. I was laid off in April 2020 due to the global pandemic, and I felt immense pressure to find the next opportunity to meet all our financial obligations.

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Many people must commute into and out of Maple Grove for work. Since moving to Maple Grove, I have commuted to work in downtown Minneapolis, Mankato, and even Duluth. Maple Grove has the second highest square footage of retails space in the Twin Cities next to Bloomington, but because it is so expensive to live in Maple Grove, many restaurant and retail workers cannot afford to live here.

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When I worked in downtown Minneapolis, I hesitated to use the express bus to commute for fear of getting stranded if I had to work late. Our Commuter Express system offers bus service to and from downtown Minneapolis during rush hour. We have more than 100 express bus trips with 3,000 plus riders daily, however, there are few routes during the day and almost none after 7 p.m. We have two transit stations and three park and ride locations.

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The murder of George Floyd at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer no doubt has us reconsidering our priorities and ideas about public safety. We are a suburban community with a low crime rate, but we cannot assume we are exempt from such a tragedy happening if we do not proactively make changes.

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