House District 62B voter’s guide: State Rep. Aisha Gomez challenged by Ross Tenneson

House District 62B

The Southwest Journal’s voter’s guide includes stories on the three competitive races for the Minneapolis School Board and questionnaires with candidates running for the U.S. House and the state House and Senate. We also include a rundown of everything you’ll see on your ballot, including an explanation of the city’s two referendums. You can read our full 2020 voter’s guide here.

Progressive Aisha Gomez looks to win a second term, running in a race against a pastor who also ran for office in 2018.

The Rev. Ross Tenneson leads All Peoples Church in the Central neighborhood. He said he’s “decided not to fill out questionnaires” because “it is not a competitive district.”

District 62B

Aisha Gomez
Aisha Gomez

DFL: Aisha Gomez (incumbent)

Occupation: Organizer

Money raised/cash on hand: $46,413 (Jan. 1, 2019-July 20, 2020)/$8,926 (as of July 20)

Accomplishments and top priorities: In my first term I was proud to work with the community on driver’s licenses for all, cannabis legalization, the statute of limitations on sexual assault, issues around housing and unsheltered homelessness, and tax policy to hold the wealthy accountable for paying their fair share so that we can invest in the education, health care and housing that our communities need. I am a co-author of the 100% clean energy bill and the Minnesota Green New Deal and have led on environmental justice issues that disproportionally impact BIPOC communities.

Police reform and public safety: George Floyd should be with his family today. So should Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Philando Castile, Kobe Heisler and so many others. The realities that BIPOC people, especially Black people, face in interactions with police are inhumane and deadly and we can do better.

We need to examine and re-deploy resources that we invest in public safety and align them with the needs in our communities. We should shrink the footprint of what we ask police to do, invest in community-led violence intervention solutions and allow communities to meaningfully oversee the public safety apparatus that serves them.

During my first term I worked on police reform policy that we could pass in a divided legislature as a member of the POCI caucus and in partnership with the community and will continue this work.

Affordable housing and homelessness: Housing is a human right and in a state and country with ample resources, people shouldn’t be homeless or cost-burdened. We need solutions that match the scale of the problem. That means more investment, which requires more revenue raised from progressive sources.

We must invest along the entire housing spectrum including:

  • Addressing the racial homeownership gap,
  • Protecting/building rental housing affordable for people making less than 30% of AMI,
  • Fully funding public housing,
  • Investing in land trusts, cooperatives and other democratic ownership models, and
  • Lifting the ban on rent control and providing rent support to cost-burdened households.

The homelessness crisis is also one of poverty, disinvestment and failure of systems: the economy, health care, mental health, substance use disorder treatment, incarceration, etc. We need solutions that meet people where they are and address the factors that drive homelessness.

Systemic racial inequalities: Our race-blind policies have created the deepest racial disparities in the country. We have to craft race-critical policies shaped and informed by BIPOC communities in all of the areas where there are disparities: health care, education, housing stability, homeownership, employment, business and property/land ownership.

I believe we need to acknowledge the damage that our policies have done in communities of color and devise investments that take an explicit reparations-based approach. Racial equity needs to be incorporated into all of our budgets, the bonding bill, coronavirus relief dollars and other investments that we make.