How do you know who to vote for?

by Tracey Goodrich on 23 October 2014

There are a number of debates and candidate forums around the state. If rental housing and landlord-tenant law is an issue for you, consider writing in to candidates’ campaign offices or ask a housing question at a candidate forum in your area. In the final weeks leading up to the election, there is a lot happening to assist voters in figuring out who to vote for. Nick Cotta, another one of HOME Line’s amazing intern staff members, compiled a list of up and coming forums around the state. The list is in order by city. Be sure to check back for updates, or feel free to comment if you would like to add to the list!

To find out what district you currently live in, or who is representing you, visit the Minnesota District Finder.

Candidate Forums Around the State





  • Secretary of State Debate taping on Saturday, October 25, 2014 – KSTP Studios. The debate is scheduled to appear on KSTC45, the KSTP digital channels and online at Check local listings and the KSTP website for the schedule.


  • School Board-at-large Candidate Forum, October 29th at 4:30PM at Waite House 2323 11th Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55404. Participating candidates include Iris Altamirano, Rebecca Gagnon, Ira Jourdain, and Don Samuels.
  • Secretary of State Candidate Forum,  October 28, 2014 from 7:00PM-9:00PM at Augsburg College (Foss Center)2211 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis, MN, 55454.  Hosted by the League of Women Voters Council, featuring candidates Bob Helland (I), Bob Odden (L), Dan Severson (R) and Steve Simon (DFL)


Northfield City Hall, City Council Chambers, 801 Washington Street, Northfield, MN 55057

Thursday, October 23rd 

  • City Council At Large, 6:00 PM, candidates Dale Gehring & Rhonda Pownell
  • City Council Ward 1, 7:15 PM , candidates Joe Gasior & Suzie Nakasian

Saturday, October 25th

  • 9:00 amSchool Board
  • Fritz Bogott, Margaret Colangelo, Julie Pritchard & Jeff Quinnell
  • 10:30 amRice County Attorney
  • Paul Beaumaster & John Fossum
  • 12:30 pm2nd Congressional District
  • Michael Obermueller & Paula Overby



  • The Legislative Action Coalition for Robbinsdale Area Schools is hosting a candidate forum for those running for seats in the Minnesota House and Senate that represent any part of the Robbinsdale Area Schools. 



  • Minnesota House Districts 14-A and 14-B,  October 29, 2014 from 7:00PM-8:30PM, at City of St. Cloud City Chambers  



  • MN House Dist 13-A Candidate Forum, October 23, 2014 from 7:00 PM-8:30 PM at the City of St. Joseph Fire Hall


Review of October 6th Candidate Forums:

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Including Renters Brings Stability, Not Transience

by Camille Galles on 22 October 2014

When Ross Joy, lead organizer of the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization, first began doorknocking apartments, nobody knew who he was. The renters he spoke to had no idea that such a group existed. Many didn’t even recognize “Corcoran” as the name of their neighborhood. Despite making up nearly 50 percent of the Minneapolis population, renters remain disconnected from their neighborhood groups. These organizations appropriate government money, approve new building projects, and determine strategies for land use and community building. Renters deserve to be part of these conversations.

Neighborhood groups have historically served homeowners, but that needs to change. In 2012, MinnPost reported that homeowners made up 90 percent of those serving on Minneapolis city boards and commissions, even though renter households numbered 50 percent of the population. Also in 2012, minorities made up only 14 percent of board members. No (or very few) renters serving in these neighborhood groups means that that no one is advocating for them, and their needs are not represented. Structural aspects of neighborhood group systems also present significant barriers to renter participation. Many people, especially if they require low income housing, can’t afford the time and childcare to attend lengthy volunteer meetings. Language barriers can make it difficult to understand what’s going on. Not only that, but there are often class, race, and economic tensions between renters and  homeowners who are looking for property values to increase. Many view renters as a detrimental, transient population that bring instability to neighborhoods.

But in order for Minneapolis to grow, it needs to take care of its renters. According to 2010 Census, data 75% of immigrants in Minneapolis rent their housing. Supporting renters means supporting diversity, and the ambitious population growth goals set by Mayor Betsy Hodges. In order to be a great place to live for everyone, Minneapolis has to be a great place to rent.

It’s difficult to include renters, but not impossible. The Corcoran Neighborhood Organization has done an exceptionally good job with incorporating renter needs. Rather than pressuring renters to take out home loans or attend committee meetings, Ross Joy lists ongoing doorknocking efforts as the best way to identify tenant’s needs. Organizers then put tenants “in the driver’s seat” and empower tenants with the tools to resolve issues themselves.  Organizers assist in contacting the city, organizing meetings with landlords, and dealing with pressing issues such as repairs and bed bugs. Through their organizing efforts, renters have become invested and involved in their own neighborhoods. Its doubtful that anyone would be confused by the word “Corcoran” anymore.

All Minneapolis neighborhoods should strive for this level of renter involvement. Renters have needs as real as any homeowners, and all neighborhood group must recognize this. Including renters isn’t an isolated effort. It creates a ripple effect that will spread solidarity, community, and involvement in all areas of the neighborhood — even residential ones.

Corrections: A previous version of this post incorrectly identified the amount of immigrant renters in Minneapolis. 75% of Minneapolis renters are immigrants. according to date from the 2010 Census. This post has been updated to reflect this information.


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Equal Funding Doesn’t Mean Equal Results: A Critical Look at MHFA’s Affordable Housing Plan

September 9, 2014

This August, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) released a draft of its 2015 Affordable Housing Plan, which outlines MHFA’s spending goals, projections, and strategies for the upcoming year.  MHFA is one of the largest and most important agencies working to finance affordable housing for low and moderate-income Minnesotans—its $947 million budget is projected to [...]

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Rise of the Renter Part 3: What’s Next for Federal Housing Policy

August 22, 2014

Housing policy currently favors high-income homeowners, but recent initiatives have begun to recognize the needs of the growing renter population. One of the biggest problems facing the affordable housing community is the lack of available funding. In the next two blog posts, we’ll discuss promising ideas regarding increasing funding (federal policy) and distributing those funds [...]

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The Rise of the Renter: Part 2

August 6, 2014

In Minnesota, and throughout the United States, the renter population continues to rise. .  For an increasing number of families, “home” is found in a rental or low-income-housing unit instead of a traditional, mortgage-financed house.  But housing policy in the United States continues to disproportionately favor homeownership.  Renters make up more than a third of [...]

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The Rise of the Renter: Part 1

July 27, 2014

This week kicks off a three part blog series examining the rise of the renter–not only throughout Minnesota, but across the nation.  Why are so many people seeking rental housing, and why does it matter?  What has (or hasn’t!) the government done to aid renters?  And lastly, how do we move forward?  What is the [...]

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The Livability of Minnesota’s New Minimum Wage

July 20, 2014

  On April 15th 2014, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill that officially increases the state’s minimum wage.  Although the wage increase is a government mandate, workers will not see their paychecks grow overnight.  Rather than automatically spiking, the wage increase will be slowly phased in.  Gradual increases over two years will result in a [...]

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$100 Million for Affordable Housing: Where It Comes From, Where It Goes

July 6, 2014

Welcome back to Homeline’s Public Policy blog!  Check back often as we begin to cover important Minnesota housing bills that were passed during the 2014 legislative session.  We’ll start by breaking down the “Homes for All” bonding bill, which sets aside  $100 million for affordable housing projects. Where does this money come from?  The term [...]

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Whose business is housing?

September 25, 2013

Created by OnlineMBA  recently shared this video contrasting how businesses and governments operate and interact with people they serve. Please take a moment to view the video—and return to read how this discussion relates to housing, and in particular, the dynamics of tenant/landlord interactions. If you look at MHP’s most recent 2 x 4 [...]

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HOME Line’s 2013 Tenants’ Bill of Rights and Tenants’ Survey

July 30, 2013

Based on calls from our statewide tenants’ hotline and our organizing efforts, HOME Line has selected nine proposed changes to Minnesota’s landlord/tenant law to push for in the 2014 legislative session.  We believe that these nine bills, each giving greater and clearer rights to Minnesota tenants, will help make our state a more fair and [...]

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