owner/editor Mikki Morrissette

When I was in high school, a teacher recommended me as a photographer to someone 

who was running for the Minnesota legislature. I took pictures of the candidate at a nursing home, with farmers, and with his young family. Although I have voted in every election since I turned 18, the experience did start me off on a jaded path of thinking politics was about insincere visual bites designed to appeal to certain voting blocs.

In this month’s magazine, we explore all the ways that politics is a great deal more than posed photos designed for Election Day. As our 2018 Reader Survey revealed, civic engagement is something the Minnesota Women’s Press audience understands. Nearly all of our 18-and-older survey participants voted in the last presidential election.

On Crime

Did you know that Minnesota is one of the 37 states that don’t automatically allow people to vote after they are released from prison? There are regulations that limit re-entry as voters, among other restrictions.

Yet, who gets arrested? Who gets sent to prison? Black women are incarcerated at a rate twice that of white women, according to the ACLU. Our story about Emily Baxter’s book helps us see that we are all criminals — but only some of us get arrested for our crimes.

Some candidates — notably sheriffs, county attorneys, and legislators — have the power to reform criminal justice.

On Justice

There are other pervasive systemic issues that are overdue for attention. 

State senators Melisa Franzen and Julie Rosen point out in this issue that we need to elect those who want to sit down and solve interconnected issues that affect everyday lives — access to affordable child care, health care, and transportation, for example.

Does every person have the right to safety? To education? To housing? The candidates we vote for — from city council to school board members, to state and federal representatives — make the decisions that impact individual rights, economic security, and infrastructure. 

As Nelima Sitati Munene shares with us, when rights are denied, we need policy makers in power who have the capacity to listen. “Attend your local candidate forums around the state and ask candidates running for office where they stand on these platforms,” she suggests.

On Voice

In 2018, it is exciting to see so many women decide to apply their abilities as candidates in this election year. They want to use their Big Picture views to collaborate, rather than compete, in order to get improved policies in place. 

Habon Abdulle and others we have featured in this magazine know that politics and policy is about building relationships that help our community thrive. Join us at our October 16 “Using Our Voice & Vote” event as we share what we know: we are the change we seek. We are the ones to lead.