A man key to passing any legislation to address economic and racial inequities in Minnesota is doubtful it could really be fully addressed during the upcoming short regular session and thinks the Black Lives Matter group needs to focus on a specific goal to be successful. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL) says the economic and racial disparities issue requires study to determine why there is a problem and most lawmakers are too don’t have enough time to focus on it. Bakk suggests that the legislature form a task force, much like it has to address the prison overcrowding situation, to study the issue.
Bakk made the comments during a joint appearance with House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) previewing the 2016 legislative session. Daudt said a substandard education is the root of the economic disparities for many poor and minorities in Minnesota. He advocates for targeting the education dollars to those groups. “It shouldn’t be just rich kids that have the choice to go to a private school if they want to.”
Bakk says education is only a piece of the puzzle, but Minnesota needs a bigger solution which is why he is advocating for looking at the larger picture. “Part of the problem with trying to deal focused just on education is it doesn’t do anything for the whole cohort of people who are already adults that are already badly unemployed or underemployed. So it needs to be more than just an educational strategy.”
Larry Jacobs, who was moderating the discussion, asked Bakk if that was an “adequate” response given the very vocal protests from groups such as Black Lives Matter.
Bakk On Black Lives Matter Movement
Bakk said “I think they probably need to do more — the Black Lives Matter type movement — to identify a specific goal. And I haven’t seen anybody really articulate that yet. And the reason I say that is, to keep any kind of a movement alive — remember Occupy Wall Street? Gone, isn’t it? Right, you can’t find it anywhere. You have to have a specific objective in mind and you have to incrementally — to keep the movement alive —bring forth some successes, incremental as they might be, so that the people that are participating in keeping the issue in front of people feel like their time is worth it, that they’re getting some successes.
“So I think that means you have to have kind of a long term objective and a long term strategy with some little mile markers in there where you reach some levels of success. Because all it is is a protest with no measurements about how we’re making some incremental success, it probably will fall apart because the people who are trying to participate will feel like they’re wasting their time if they’re not making any headway.”
Video at top: Bakk on Black Lives Matter movement
Video below: Daudt and Bakk on legislative solutions for Minnesota’s racial and economic disparities.
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