Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
Third generation northsider
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 27, 2017
By Steve Share, editor, Minneapolis Labor Review
MINNEAPOLIS — “I led the initiative to keep North High open,” says Kale Severson. “It started in my front yard.”
Severson is a third generation northsider and he is running for the District 2 Minneapolis Park Board seat as the candidate endorsed by the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.
Severson also has been endorsed by the Minneapolis DFL Party.
District 2 includes all of North Minneapolis.
‘Our Park Board could lead the way in green technologies’
“I grew up participating in sports at Farview park,” Severson relates, and attended Lincoln elementary, then Franklin junior high, then graduated from North High.
In addition to Severson’s heritage as a third generation northsider, “I’m a third generation union member,” he reports, and is a member of SEIU Local 284. “I’ve always been a union member at places I’ve worked.”
His dad, Jim VanHall, is a member of Operating Engineers Local 49. His brother Jason Kugel is a member of City Employees Local 363. Both of his grandfathers, too, were union members, he says.
“I believe because of unions, my dad got to purchase a home,” Severson says. “We got to be a sustainable family.”
“Union work allows for us people of color and the disenfranchised to have some of the privileges other people have,” he says.
Severson began working in Minneapolis parks at age 15 and served as director at several neighborhood parks.
He’s been the athletic director at North High and currently works as grant coordinator at the Neighborhood Hub.
Severson thinks the Park Board could be doing a lot more to employ people of color — and not just in temporary, seasonal or non-professional jobs. “I want to try to create a pathway to help northsiders and people of color get jobs,” he says
Another concern: “We live in Minneapolis, the so-called progressive city… Our Park Board could lead the way in green technologies.”