Minneapolis legislators scored big on the recently released Minnesota Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity.
The report card, compiled by the nonprofit Organizing Apprenticeship Project, grades the performance of the Legislature and Gov. Tim Pawlenty during the 2005-06 biennium on policies that address and strengthen racial equity in the state. The five legislators who scored highest on the report card all represent Minneapolis.
The report card looked at 22 bills that, if passed, would advance racial equity and eliminate racial disparities. Each legislator was given points based on leadership as author or co-author of a racial equity bill in the 2005-06 session.
Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-58B), who represents Downtown north of 7th Street and was recently elected to Congress, led the way with 135 points. Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-61A), whose district includes most of the Whittier neighborhood, scored 90 points. Rep. Neva Walker (DFL-61B), whose district includes parts of Whittier, Lyndale and Kingfield, scored 75 points. Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-62A), who represents South Minneapolis, scored 70 points. And Sen. Linda Higgins (D-58), who represents Downtown north of 7th Street, scored 50 points.
Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-60B) was one of the top scorers among legislators representing districts with less than 10 percent of people of color.
Other Minneapolis legislators also did well, but the Legislature as a whole earned a grade of “F.” Of the 22 racial equity bills the report chose to look at, 10 reached the governor's desk. Of those 10 bills, Pawlenty signed seven. The governor earned a grade of “C-.”
People of color comprise 13.7 percent of the population of Minnesota, according to the report. The Organizing Apprenticeship Project, according to its own description, is an organization that works to advance racial, cultural, social and economic justice in Minnesota through organizer and leadership training, policy research and strategic convening work.