Minneapolis City Council
‘The economy in Minneapolis is strong’
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 27, 2017
By Steve Share, editor, Minneapolis Labor Review
MINNEAPOLIS —“I liken being on the city council to being on the board of a $1.5 billion organization,” says Lisa Goodman. “Experience matters.”
Goodman is running for re-election to a sixth term on the Minneapolis city council representing Ward 7, which includes neighborhoods bordering Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles as well as Loring Park and Downtown West.
Goodman is running with the endorsement of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.
Goodman currently chairs the city council’s Community Development Committee and over her 20 years on the council has shaped many of the city’s major developments and renewal efforts.
‘The $1 billion in permits both shows the number of people at work and the impact on property taxes. The economy in Minneapolis is strong.’
In 2016, after hearing a budget presentation on Minneapolis parks, “I was horrified at the level of deferred maintenance,” she relates. “I went into [City Council President] Barb Johnson’s office and said, ‘we’d better do something about this.’”
“We needed to do the right thing,” Goodman says, and she was the leader in working with the Park Board to create a historic 20-year plan to invest in city infrastructure and parks.
“That’s what leadership is about — identifying a problem… and doing something about it,” Goodman says.
She adds, “making an investment in public infrastructure like parks and roads is an investment in people, because it takes people to do the work.”
Goodman was founder of the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund and affordable housing remains a top concern. “It’s important for us to build more affordable housing but we’ll never be able to build our way out of the affordable housing crisis,” she says.
“The need is so great — people need to be paid more. Wages need to be at a level that people can afford the housing that’s here,” she says.
That was one of the reasons she joined her colleagues in supporting the $15 minimum wage ordinance.
But ultimately, Goodman says, the solution to housing and wages is growth. “Growth is our friend. Growth is good. Growth makes the pie bigger.”
“In the 20 years I’ve been on the city council, there’s been explosive growth in the ward I represent,” Goodman says. “I view that as good from a construction jobs point of view and also from a tax base point of view.”
She points to the Loring Park Apartments in Ward 7, which created 500 union construction jobs. “Union labor and union money went into making it happen.”
For the third year in a row, Goodman observes, the city has seen more than
$1 billion in construction permits. “The $1 billion in permits both shows the number of people at work and the impact on property taxes. The economy in Minneapolis is strong.”
Goodman shares a story about her she says is little-known: As a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she earned her degree in labor relations and was an intern at the Dane County AFL-CIO. That formative experience comes back to her now as she recently has helped advocate for low-wage workers at Franklin Street Bakery in their union organizing efforts. “Here we are 30 years later and we’re still fighting for the right to organize.”