Jeff Hayden

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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Racial Equity Justice Day at the Capitol a multicultural rally

By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer

 

By most accounts, 2013 saw some promising action by the Minnesota State Legislature, such as passing the Dream Act and the Homeowners Bill of Rights. But with Minnesota at the bottom nationwide in terms of racial equality, there is clearly much work to be done. To that end, last week the Organizing Apprentice Project (OAP) held the Racial Equity Justice Day at the Hill, an event that included a multiracial and multicultural mix of people and organizations — and that was attended by a few state legislators as well. The purpose of the rally, said Vina Kay, OAP’s director of research and policy, was to “attend to unfinished business in 2014.” The rally began in the Capitol Rotunda and included speakers and spoken word performances. Speaking were artist Brother Ali; Vina Kay; rap/hip hop performers Lioness and Guante; Peggy Flanagan of the Minnesota Children’s Defense Fund; Jovita Morales of Mesa Latina-Waite House; Nique Mabrey from

OutFront MN; Fernando Rodriguez, a sophomore at Owatonna High School and leader of Central Campesino Youth; Archie Davis of Trillium Works from Duluth; Nicole Buckanaga of Leech Lake; and Emilia Gonzalez Avalos of Navigate. Continue Reading →

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State Legislature argues for public notice postings online

Opponents say move blocks access to info for lower-income and elder citizens
 
By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer

 

A bill making the rounds in the State Legislature that has largely flown under the radar of most Minnesotans was the subject of a Senate Committee hearing last week. The Minnesota State and Local Government Committee Senate heard testimony regarding the proposed bill, SF 1152, last Wednesday at the Capitol. The bill, according to its chief author, Jon Pederson (R-St. Cloud), would allow local government entities to opt out of posting public notices in newspapers and instead to post such notices on their websites. Pederson contends that requiring government to post notices in qualified newspapers is a burdensome cost and constitutes what he called an “unfunded mandate.” Pederson also said that, under his proposed bill, if a government entity or agency chose to publish notices exclusively on its website, it would need to make print copies available at their offices. Continue Reading →

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The MSR 2013 year in review

The local Black press continues to publish stories “from our own lens”
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

This year, 2013, was historic as well as a year-long full of highs and lows: Two MSR reporters were among the national and international press that covered America’s first Black president’s second inauguration in January. Said Atlanta Daily World reporter Kenya King, a member of the Black press who was covering the Obama inauguration for the second time, “I’m here to capture…the moment of this historic occasion [and] to make sure that the message that should get across, does get across.”

A ‘new Black agenda’ was discussed by the Council on Black Minnesotans and others during the organization’s Lobby Day at the State Capitol on March 19. The MSR asked several Blacks in attendance that day if they felt new voices and perhaps a new message is needed from Black Minnesotans. “I think it is time for new voices to be heard,” believed Greater Friendship Missionary

Baptist Church Pastor Rev. Billy Russell in our March 28 front-page story. The MSR also continued its coverage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the introduction of MNsure, the state’s new health-insurance exchange program and how the new healthcare law will benefit Blacks. Continue Reading →

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National, local controversy greets opening of new state health exchange

Critics say Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox ad campaign misfires with communities of color
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange program, debuted the signup process on October 1. Officials during an October 4 conference call with reporters, including the MSR, estimated that 5,000 accounts were opened during the first week. “We think it’s been going very well,” remarked MNsure Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov. She added that many people did “anonymous shopping” but did not disclose specific numbers. “Minnesota is unique,” said Todd-Malmlov. Continue Reading →

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Clearly, Black Americans can succeed at anything

 

 

To all of you feeding your children that fib that we are inferior to White people and will never be successful, please stop the madness. I was talking to someone last night who told me the reason we (African Americans) cannot succeed is because since slavery we have been told this over and over again. According to this person, we have been told that we are inferior and will never amount to anything and will always be inferior to White America. I take offense to that because my mother never got that memo. I don’t know why people buy into this propaganda, but please speak for yourself. Continue Reading →

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Minnesota legalizes same-sex marriage

 

 
But my same-sex marriage was real before the law passed
 
 

 

By Stephani Maari Booker

Contributing Writer

 

Instead of attending to the novel I was supposed to be working on, I spent the afternoon in front of the TV watching the debate over and vote on the same-sex marriage bill in the State Senate on TPT’s Minnesota Channel. I listened to the passionate and heartfelt speeches given by DFL Senators Scott Dibble, Jeff Hayden, Patricia Torres Ray and others in favor of passing the bill for legalizing same-sex marriage, and — to be honest — I muted the TV sound when senators opposing the bill had the floor. I was all ears and eyes when speeches and attempts by Republican senators to attach amendments were over and the vote commenced. When the results showed the bill passed 37-30, the first thing I did was pick up the phone and call my wife. On Sunday, June 12, 2011, I married my domestic partner of six years, Misha, at Great River Bluffs State Park in Winona, MN. Continue Reading →

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Does Minnesota need a ‘13th’ grade?

 

 

By Donald Allen

Contributing Writer

 

The Minnesota House of Representatives have enacted a bill attempting to establish a “13th” grade pilot project based in north Minneapolis. The bill, H.F. 1149 is part of an education and employability solution for young adults who are unemployed, underemployed and not enrolled in postsecondary education. Co-authored by Senators Jeff Hayden (D-SD 62), Bobby Joe Champion (D-SD 59), Representatives Ray Dehn (D-HD 59B) and Will Morgan (D-SD 56B), the bill is said to potentially impact over 3,000 young adults ages 18-26, placing them on college and career pathways by 2015. It states the commissioner of education shall develop a one-year 13th-grade pilot project, with one site being operated by the Minneapolis Urban League. The “13th” grade proposal is problematic because a one-year pilot program is expected to eradicate generations of educational failures in poor minority communities and the parties involved seem not to understand Minnesota’s employability issues and current status of K-12 education [if any] in the Minneapolis and St. Continue Reading →

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No More Excuses

Too many have sacrificed for us to give up now
Most of the excuses we make up make it hard for our life on this earth. Everything that really matters we make excuses for: excuses why we won’t go to school, why we don’t listen to our parents, why we don’t stay out of trouble, why we end up in jail, why we have a criminal record, why we have felonies. More excuses: I don’t have a job because I won’t work for less than $10 an hour. I don’t have a job because no one will give me a chance. If you don’t listen to your parents and drop out of school, your chances of being successful are slim to none without education. Continue Reading →

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