What started out as an online bookstore has wildly changed the way people get everything from toilet paper to cat toys. Amazon hasn’t just changed the way people shop, it’s changing the face of retail and labor in Minnesota and beyond. Is there a downside to being able to get 10,000 baby wipes delivered to your house in under an hour? We asked Olivia LaVecchia, a Research Associate at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and co-author of a report of Amazon’s effects on local communities and businesses.
If you’re like most Minnesotans, each year you eagerly await the audit of your local government’s finances. But have you ever wondered who produces that thrilling page-turner of a beach read? The J.K. Rowling of Minnesota financial documents is none other than State Auditor Rebecca Otto, our guest on March 13. As if being state auditor weren’t exciting enough, Otto has announced a run for a new job, Governor. We asked her about both, and if she can help us reconcile these expense reports.
Ilhan Omar, DFL candidate for Minnesota House, District 60B
This August, Ilhan Omar won the 60B DFL primary for Minnesota House. If she wins in November (which is highly likely in the heavily democratic district) she will become the first Somali-American elected to a state legislature in the U.S. In her first improv-show interview since winning her primary, Omar joined T2P2 to talk about the significance of her candidacy, as well as the issues she will likely face at the Minnesota Legislature in 2017.
Shelia Smith, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts
Laura Zabel Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts
Does art make a place more beautiful? Of course. Does art improve quality of life? You bet. Does art help us grapple with our own humanity? Sure. But what about the cold, hard monetary bottom line? Shelia Smith and Laura Zabel join us to talk about the economic impact that the arts have on communities large and small. By the end of the improv performance, everyone in the audience will be rich!
Robert Kudrle, Economist and Professor of Public Affairs & Planning at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs
The Trans Pacific Partnership would be one of the largest trade agreements in history, reshaping the relationship between the U.S. and more than a dozen Pacific nations. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have come out against it. But what would it actually do? What effect would its implementation have on workers in the U.S. and abroad, for businesses, and for the environment? We dig into the “boring” details of the T.P.P. with economics and policy professor, Bob Kudrle.
Gary Cunningham, Metropolitan Council Member
Minnesota is home to some of the worst racial disparities in the country in terms of housing, workforce retention, and education. Gary Cunningham is working to find ways to change that in his role on the Metropolitan Council. Racial disparities and regional planning: perfect ingredients for comedy.
Paul Bogard, Author The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light
Sure, artificial light seems great; it makes it easier to find what you’re looking for in your closet, and it’s the only proven way to summon Batman. But at what cost? Paul Bogard looks at what effect being constantly surrounded by artificial light has on people of all ages. Hear about the effect LEDs have on our brains, or just listen to how Mr. Bogard responds to having to sit under a hot stage light for an hour.
The Wrong About Everything podcast contributors, including Javier Morillo-Alicea, Brian McDaniel, Carin Mrotz and Amy Koch
Every week, a bi-partisan foursome of Minnesota’s savviest political watchers gathers to discuss the week in the news. Their podcast, Wrong About Everything is must-listen audio for Minnesota politicos; it’s basically the Serial of the Minnesota Legislature.
Will the Southwest Light Rail move forward? What’s so great about bus rapid transit? Can we ever really have enough roads and bridges? We’ll ask all that and more of two powerhouses of Minnesota transportation legislation and policy: State Senator Scott Dibble and Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin.
For more than 30 years, Winona LaDuke has been an activist for environmental, economic, and political justice, with a focus on tribal land claims. In 1996 and 2000, she was on the Green Party candidate Vice President running with Ralph Nader. She was executive director of both the White Earth Recovery Project and currently heads the national organization Honor The Earth. September 12 she added one more accolade to her résumé: guest on The Theater of Public Policy.
With the exception of certain witches, everyone needs water and in the land of 10,000 lakes we’re lucky to have lots of it. But recent crises in places like Michigan, and even reports about Minnesota’s own water quality are raising a lot of questions and concerns. One of Minnesota’s foremost water experts, Dr. Deborah Swackhamer of the University of Minnesota joined us to talk about the science and policy of H20.
Sandpiper Pipeline Project involves construction of a 616-mile crude oil pipeline from Tioga, North Dakota, across the state of Minnesota, to Superior Wisconsin. The proposal has divided citizens and communities questions of environmental impact, economic opportunities, Native American treaty rights, and concerns over the alternative freight traffic currently carrying much of the oil. Sounds like a really light, fun way to close out T2P2’s spring season! We were joined by Minnesota State Representatives Pat Garofalo and Frank Hornstein to help us figure out some of the arguments on each side of this debate. We also discussed what did and didn't happen at the 2016 Minnesota Legislative session.
R.T. Rybak came to Minneapolis City Hall in 2001 without ever having previously served in public office. He didn’t get much time to ease into the job. Before Rybak even fully moved into his office, the Minnesota Twins threatened to move to a new town unless they got a new stadium, there was a leadership fight on the city council, and the city budget faced a $5 million shortfall.
All of that and much more is detailed in Rybak’s new memoir, Pothole Confidential: My Life as Mayor of Minneapolis. The book offers a firsthand account of leading the state’s largest city for three terms: a campaign for more affordable housing, responding to the 35W Bridge collapse, conducting the first same-sex marriages in the state, bitter stadium politics, and much more.
First elected in 2013, Abdi Warsame serves on the Minneapolis City Council. He represents Ward 6 which includes much of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. Born in Somalia, Warsame is currently the highest level elected Somali-American in the country. We asked him about his incredible personal story, his views on local politics, and what he thinks of his fellow council.
Once upon a time, Minneapolis tried to keep their citizens with a penchant for hard drinking—lumberjacks, farmhands, and railroad workers—into the oldest quarter of Minneapolis. It was an era of flophouses, preachers and nuns trying to save souls and a bar owner named John Bacich, aka Johnny Rex. The Star Tribune’s James Shiffer has written a new book about Minneapolis’s Skid Row and its king.
We’ve all heard about the death of small towns both here in Minnesota and across the country. But are things so simple and dire? Will our children only read about rural towns in books? Are we all destined to live in towering skyscrapers in mega cities of 10 million people each? Probably not, but what is the economic and cultural future of small towns? Featuring Dr. Kathy Draeger, Statewide Director of the University of Minnesota Sustainable Development Partnerships.
The Affordable Housing debate in the Twin Cities region has been called one of the fiercest in the country. We sat down with three experts to find out why. Featuring Nelima Sitati-Munene, executive director of African Career, Education & resource, Owen Duckworth, Coalition organizer for the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, and Ed Goetz, Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Minnesota’s second-in-command is our extra special guest for the season kick-off of T2P2. Join us and Lt. Governor Tina Smith as we ask her hard hitting questions like: What should we do with Minnesota’s budget surplus? What’s her working relationship with Governor Dayton like? And, wait... what exactly does a Lt. Governor do anyway?
What will happen when congressmen Tom Emmer (MN-6, GOP) and Tim Walz (MN-1, DFL) are The Theater of Public Policy’s on-stage guests? Will we end partisan bickering with improv comedy? Or, in true Minnesota fashion, will they just talk about the weather? Find out!
Chris Farrell, Senior Economics Contributor to American Public Media’s Marketplace, and Cardiff Garcia, US editor of the Financial Times’s Alphaville, joined us to make sense of the Fed’s interest rate policies, “un-retirement,” globalization, and what the heck is going on in Cuba.