Bobby Champion

Recent Articles

Gregory Gray reflects on a lifetime of public service

By Isaac Peterson
Contributing Writer

 

“I think the one thing that links most of my career in public service has been some type of advocacy or support for communities of color and low-income communities,” says Gregory Gray, looking back at his many years of life and service in the public sector. Gray’s service has included stints with the Minneapolis Urban League, the Minnesota House Minority Caucus, Community Action of Minneapolis, and the Legislative Commission to End Poverty By 2020, as well as working with former Minnesota State Representative Neva Walker on immigration issues. Gray is currently serving as the chief compliance officer for the Minnesota Department of Human Services. At Human Services, Gray said, “I head up both the legal department — the internal audit department, our appeals area, our contracts and procurement department, the ethics office, the privacy office — and regulatory areas that hopefully keep the agency on the straight and narrow in terms of abiding by policies and procedures. “But at the same time, since I serve on the senior management team there, I get to have some influence over policy on those areas that I care about, whether it’s health care, issues relative to welfare, a variety of issues that still impact low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.”

One effort of which Gray appears to be particularly proud is the report issued by the Legislative Commission to End Poverty By 2020. Continue Reading →

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Dialogue now focused on how best to strengthen, not eliminate, state ethnic councils

No final decision expected until the 2014-15 legislative session
 
By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer

 

As previously reported in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the legislative audit of the Minnesota councils of color created quite a stir, containing criticisms of the councils as well as the governor’s office and the legislature for lack of oversight and guidance. The audit suggested four options for improving the operations and efficiency of the councils. One of the suggested options, placing the councils under the auspices of the State Department of Human Rights, seems to have attracted the most attention and the most support. Legislative Auditor James Nobles explained to us that the advantages of such a move would be that “You’re connected into the governor’s cabinet; the Commissioner of Human Rights is a member of the governor’s cabinet and formulates a policy and an agenda that the governor will get behind. And that’s pretty powerful… If you connect up with the governor and his agenda through the Commissioner of Human Rights, I think you’re going to get a little more power behind your message.”

Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM) Executive Director Ed McDonald disagreed, saying among many other things, “I think that what that would do for the councils is move it into partisan swings. Continue Reading →

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Inaugural evoked spirit of ‘We the people’ joined in common cause

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Barack Obama, who became the third consecutive U.S. president to deliver a second Inauguration Address, told the nation Monday that it is up to all of us to “act in our time” to move this country forward. “We cannot afford delay and substitute spectacle for politics, and use name calling as reasonable debate,” he said during his nearly 15-minute “mini” address. America must be the leader for a peaceful world “from Africa to Asia…and in the Middle East,” pledged the president. After paying homage to “the forbearers, and all those men and women, sung and unsung,” President Obama declared, “It is now our generation’s task to carry on where those pioneers began.”

Obama, who was officially sworn in January 20 as constitutionally required, strongly urged that equality — especially in income, employment, and acceptance of all people regardless of race, gender and sexual orientation — should exist in all facets of American life. He warned against voter suppression and briefly touched upon immigration reform and climate change. Continue Reading →

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What does it take to be a State Senator?

DFL Hayden describes full-time responsibilities of part-time role
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

When the 2013 Minnesota Legislative Session convenes January 8, State Senator Jeff Hayden officially will assume his office as Senate Deputy Majority Leader. The Minneapolis lawmaker is believed to be the first Black in history to be named to a high leadership post. Hayden told the MSR in an interview that Senate Majority Leader-designate Tom Bakk informed him of his new role November 14, nearly a week after the DFL became the majority party in both the Minnesota House and Senate in the Nov. 6 election. Hayden, Senator-elect Bobby Champion and St. Continue Reading →

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