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Minnesota elections 2021: Hastings school board candidates

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Minnesota elections 2021: Hastings school board candidates

HASTINGS SHOOL BOARD

Carrie Banaszewski Tate

  • Carrie Banaszewski Tate

    Age: 43

  • What qualifies you to hold this position? I’ve managed multi-million dollar budgets and have been a professional change agent for most of my 20+ year career. I help companies identify wasteful spending in order to maximize budgets. I’m a creative problem-solver and work with a diverse group of people. I understand the importance of listening to feedback surrounding changes being made.
  • What would your top priorities be if elected? We need to ensure resources are available to address the exponential growth in mental health issues we’re seeing in students right now, as well as address any possible school-related root causes of those issues. We need to understand why parents are pulling their students from our district and make the necessary adjustments.
  • What do you think is the primary role of government? The primary role of government, particularly in public schools, is to ensure students have the opportunity to receive a solid education. The board must ensure it’s a positive environment where kids can learn to become critical thinkers and contributing members of society, as they prepare to join the workforce or go on to higher education.
  • How would you rate Minnesota’s response to the coronavirus? What would you do differently? I think a lot of mistakes were made in the response to the coronavirus. Private schools were largely open for full-time in-person learning for the majority of the school year while Public Schools were mostly distance learning and hybrid. Students, teachers and parents suffered greatly because of it, so we have a lot of work to do now.
  • Website or contact information: carrietateisd200.com or [email protected]

Jessica Dressely

Candidate responses not available.

Scott Gergen

  • 1634540184 57 Minnesota elections 2021 Hastings school board candidates
    Scott Gergen

    Age: 53

  • What qualifies you to hold this position? I am in my 2nd term (8th year) on the Hastings School Board. I’m regarded as a logical, reasonable person with a penchant for problem solving. I hold multiple advanced degrees in both science and business with 30+ years of experience. I enjoy serving our school district and community. I always strive to do what is best for our students and staff.
  • What would your top priorities be if elected? With declining enrollment, my focus is our budget. We’ve been fiscally responsible in my 8 years on the board, which positions us to make smaller adjustments rather than substantial cuts. My secondary focus will be engaging in governance work as it relates to our overall strategic plan. Continued pandemic response remains a priority as well.
  • What do you think is the primary role of government? A government is responsible for creating and enforcing the rules of a society, defense, foreign affairs, the economy, and public services. As a school board member, my role is to put in place governance over the district so we can provide the best educational opportunities possible to our students.
  • How would you rate Minnesota’s response to the coronavirus? What would you do differently? Minnesota’s response to the pandemic has been measured and appropriate. As a school board member, we rely upon guidance from scientific experts at the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health to help guide our efforts at a local level.
  • Website or contact information: [email protected]

Tashina Miller

  • Age: 32
  • What qualifies you to hold this position? I have the skills to work closely with other board members and develop solutions. People understand our children’s future is our community’s future. We all love our kids and want the best for them, so it’s important that we give them an education to set them up for success. I feel strongly about this, and that’s why I’m running for school board.
  • What would your top priorities be if elected? Recruiting and retaining the best teachers and staff members. Understanding all kids won’t choose to attend college and providing them with skills and training they need to be employed when they graduate. Giving students a safe and accepting environment in which to learn, build self confidence, and be accepted for who they are as individuals.
  • What do you think is the primary role of government?  I believe funding education is the most critical investment we can make if we want our community, state and nation to succeed. An educated population is inherently more productive and vested in the success of our entire society. This leads to economic prosperity for more individuals of all backgrounds, which is one of my main goals as a candidate.
  • How would you rate Minnesota’s response to the coronavirus? What would you do differently? The most-important thing our school district can do is ensure that all of our students and staff are healthy and not exposed to something that will make them seriously ill. We have a legal and moral obligation to protect our kids and teachers if we know there is something that could put them in harm’s way.
  • Website or contact information: www.tashinamiller.com

Mike Reis

Candidate responses not available.

Anna K. Sieben

Candidate responses not available.

Kelsey Waits

  • Age: 35
  • What qualifies you to hold this position? I was first elected to the Hastings School Board in 2017 and have been serving as Chair since 2020. I am also a full-time graduate student in Public Policy and I am very active on numerous community boards and committees. I am a mother of two, a strong advocate for the unique needs of ALL children, and I’m committed to serving my community.
  • What would your top priorities be if elected? There has been a lot of political division in across the country and I would like to address this at the local level by improving community engagement and communication. Addressing mental health and finding ways to support those who are most at risk is also a huge priority as we work to create a safe and supportive atmosphere for ALL of our kids.
  • What do you think is the primary role of government? Government’s role is to serve and support their community. For school boards, this means working with our community to improve student achievement. This includes academics and mental health; we need to focus on the whole child. School Boards operate as part of a district team. Our role is to make policy and set an overall vision for the district.
  • How would you rate Minnesota’s response to the coronavirus? What would you do differently? It can be easy to critique leaders during difficult situations. As a parent and a school board member, COVID has been difficult; however I am not a public health official and I can’t say what should have been done differently. Our leaders made the best decisions they could with the information they had. Now we need to decide how to move forward.
  • Website or contact information: www.kelseywaits.com.

 

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Robbins: New winds change Mass. political landscape

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Robbins: New winds change Mass. political landscape

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” wrote a French essayist in 1849, and the expression has become part of our common parlance. But it isn’t always true, and recent events have demonstrated that if the saying once applied to the norms of Massachusetts political life, it no longer does.

Ranked 15th among the states in population, the Bay State always punches well beyond its weight on the scale of national impact, which is why its political doings receive outsized attention. This makes sense: what happens in Massachusetts doesn’t always stay in Massachusetts, politically speaking. Four of America’s 46 presidents were born here, and seven others studied here. In the last nine presidential elections, three major party nominees – Michael Dukakis, John Kerry and Mitt Romney – were Massachusetts politicians. In 2020 alone, five candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination – Elizabeth Warren, Deval Patrick,  Michael Bloomberg, Seth Moulton and Bill De Blasio – were either Massachusetts officeholders or were raised here.

Then there are the armies of campaign operatives and public policy types that hail from the state. The result: Massachusetts politics is not only a local blood sport but an ongoing national spectacle. Just as a now defunct financial services company’s advertisements once proclaimed “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen,” so too do political professionals ascribe tea leaf qualities to what happens here.

Two recent developments have generated national attention. The election of 36-year-old City Councilor Michelle Wu as Boston’s new mayor has excited young Bostonians and communities of color, punctuating their ascendancy. The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Wu’s election has made it clear that the days when white men ruled Boston’s roost are over. “The old Boston is gone,” Democratic strategist Mary Ann Marsh told the Washington Post last month, “and there’s a new Boston in terms of political power.”

Census figures tell part of the story. In 1970, 79.8% of Boston’s population was comprised of non-Hispanics whites. Now it is 44.6%. Only 2.6% of Bostonians were Hispanics; now it is 18.7%. Asian Americans numbered only 1.3% of the city’s population 50 years ago. Their proportional representation has increased almost tenfold since then.

Wu’s election has electrified Bostonians. Whip smart and seemingly limitless in her energy, the mother of two small children has been everywhere since winning the mayoralty four weeks ago. She doesn’t appear to have much choice in the matter: every group in every neighborhood in the city has been clamoring for her appearance at every ceremony that Boston’s robust holiday season has to offer, and there are a lot of them. This goes beyond the normal “Wouldn’t it be nice to have the mayor come?”; there is a slightly frenzied “Do you think we can get Michelle?” aspect that has taken hold. Nor is this simply a testament to Wu’s personal vibrancy. Her push for free public transportation, cost containment for renters and environmental protection has resonated widely.

Also marking the end of a political era was Republican Governor Charlie Baker’s announcement that he would not seek reelection. Baker is the latest in a long series of moderate Republicans who have won the governorship in dark blue Massachusetts over the past century, and he may be the last. Since his election in 2014, Baker has been one of the country’s most popular governors, not merely projecting but displaying a steady hand, decency and thoughtfulness. These qualities have not endeared him to his own state party which, like the Republican Party generally, is now dominated by election-deniers. The odds that Baker would have lost his own party’s nomination for a third term were likely a big factor in driving a good man from public service.

In Massachusetts, the Gods of Good Governance have both given and taken away, all in the same month. It’s plain that politics here has actually changed and not stayed the same.

Jeff Robbins is a Boston lawyer and former U.S. delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission

 

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Michelle Wu has no timeline for clearing tents from Mass and Cass, city searching for 200 homeless beds

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Michelle Wu has no timeline for clearing tents from Mass and Cass, city searching for 200 homeless beds

Mayor Michelle Wu said she has no timeline for tearing down the tent cities that have sprung up at Mass and Cass, where opioid use and homelessness have hit crisis levels.

“We don’t have a specific timeline. We are working as quickly as possible,” the mayor said, speaking at an unrelated event at City Hall on Monday.

Wu said city officials are searching for up to 200 beds to house people living in tents around the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard in the area sometimes disparagingly referred to as “Methadone Mile.”

“We are identifying sites citywide to make sure we have enough beds for everyone who needs support or shelter,” Wu said, adding potential locations still included the Roundhouse.

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101-year-old returns to Pearl Harbor to remember those lost

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101-year-old returns to Pearl Harbor to remember those lost

HONOLULU — When Japanese bombs began falling on Pearl Harbor, U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class David Russell first sought refuge below deck on the USS Oklahoma.

But a split-second decision on that December morning 80 years ago changed his mind, and likely saved his life.

“They started closing that hatch. And I decided to get out of there,” Russell, now 101, said in a recent interview.

Within 12 minutes his battleship would capsize under a barrage of torpedoes. Altogether, 429 sailors and Marines from the Oklahoma would perish — the greatest death toll from any ship that day other than the USS Arizona, which lost 1,177.

Russell plans to return to Pearl Harbor on Tuesday for a ceremony in remembrance of the more than 2,300 American troops killed in the Dec. 7, 1941, attack that launched the U.S. into World War II.

About 30 survivors and 100 other veterans from the war are expected to observe a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the minute the attack began.

Survivors, now in their late 90s or older, stayed home last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and watched a livestream of the event instead.

Russell is traveling to Hawaii with the Best Defense Foundation, a nonprofit founded by former NFL Linebacker Donnie Edwards that helps World War II veterans revisit their old battlefields.

He recalls heading topside when the attack started because he was trained to load anti-aircraft guns and figured he could help if any other loader got hurt.

But Japanese planes dropped a series of torpedoes that pummeled the Oklahoma before he could get there. Within 12 minutes, the hulking battleship capsized.

“Those darn torpedoes, they just kept hitting us and kept hitting us. I thought they’d never stop,” Russell said. “That ship was dancing around.”

Russell clambered over and around toppled lockers while the battleship slowly rolled over.

“You had to walk sort of sideways,” he said.

Once he got to the main deck, he crawled over the ship’s side and eyed the USS Maryland moored next door. He didn’t want to swim because leaked oil was burning in the water below. Jumping, he caught a rope hanging from the Maryland and escaped to that battleship without injury.

He then helped pass ammunition to the Maryland’s anti-aircraft guns.

Russell still thinks about how lucky he was. He ponders why he decided to go topside on the Oklahoma, knowing most of the men who stayed behind likely were unable to get out after the hatch closed.

Russell remained in the Navy until retiring in 1960. He worked at Air Force bases for the next two decades and retired for good in 1980.

His wife, Violet, passed away 22 years ago, and he now lives alone in Albany, Ore.

For decades, Russell didn’t share much about his experiences in World War II because no one seemed to care. But the images from Pearl Harbor still haunt him, especially at night.

“When I was in the VA hospital there in San Francisco, they said, ‘We want you to talk about World War II.’ And I said, I told them, I said, ‘When we talk about it, people don’t believe us. They just walk away.’ So now people want to know more about it so we’re trying to talk about it. We’re trying to talk about it, and we’re just telling them what we saw,” he said. “You can’t forget it.”

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