My name is Ginger Jentzen. I was the Executive Director of 15 Now, the grassroots campaign that led the way in making Minneapolis the first Midwest city to pass a $15 minimum wage. Now I am running for Minneapolis City Council because our city needs a political revolution. For too long, City Hall has been dominated by developers and big business, while housing prices skyrocket, economic and racial inequality grows, and social services go underfunded.
Like Bernie Sanders, my campaign is not for sale. I don’t accept any money from corporate executives or big developers. As a city council member I will only accept an average worker’s wage, and will donate the rest of my $80,000/year my city council salary to support social justice movements. Last election, tens of thousands of dollars of corporate cash flowed into Ward 3. I don’t think politicians can serve two bosses – working class people and wealthy corporate donors.
When Socialist Alternative first helped launch 15 Now Minnesota three years ago to fight for a $15/hr minimum wage in Minneapolis, many in City Hall claimed it was too high, impossible, and outside the role of city government.
But we persisted, and we brought together a powerful coalition of social justice organizations, unions, faith groups, neighborhood organizations and supportive small businesses, based around grassroots organizing, protests, and strikes. Three years later, we’ve won a historic transfer of wealth from big business to 71,000 low-income workers in this city. This is a victory that overwhelmingly benefits women and people of color, at a time when Trump and the Republicans are hell-bent on carrying out hateful right-wing policies that affect our city and our ward. At least 42% of black workers, 54% of Latino workers, and 29% of working single mothers will directly benefit from this wage increase.
Minneapolis is at a crossroads. Nowhere is this more evident than in Ward 3, where US Bank stadium sits on one edge while working people and people of color are increasingly being priced out of the city. A $15 minimum wage is just one step in dealing with the devastating inequality in the Twin Cities.
Our campaign is about building a new kind of politics, based on the needs of people and the environment, not what’s acceptable to the billionaire class and big business. Let’s make $15/hour the first chapter in a new history for Minneapolis, where working people are empowered to shape society in our own interests. To do this, we need elected representatives and a new party who fight for working people and the oppressed, and who use their office to work together alongside social movements, community organizations and labor to win real progressive gains.These campaigns can be a step towards a new party that organizes to change society not only in elections but also in our communities, workplaces and campuses.
I want to live in a democratic socialist society—a city, nation and world free from racism, sexism, corporate greed and exploitation. A society based on cooperation and solidarity, where everyone can work and live in dignity.
If you agree and want to fight against the billionaire class and for a better kind of society, please join us.