RED WING -- Three individuals elected to their local offices in their communities will be in Red Wing on Saturday, Jan. 25, to talk about their path and what it is like representing diverse communities.
The “New Voices, New Ideas” event will include a conversation with Helen J. M. Bassett, the co-founder of Minnesota African American Heritage School Board Members Group; Abdi Sabrie, Mankato School Board’s first Somali-American member and a Bush Foundation fellow; and Becky Norton, a member of the Red Wing City Council.
Organizers said they hope that attendees will be inspired to run for office.
Norton told the Republican Eagle: “I feel strongly we need to intentionally recruit and support more voices at all tables, elected leaders being one of those tables. But leadership can be at many levels in many areas.”
Norton went on to explain that she, like many people, didn’t come from a civics-oriented household but she still found a place to serve.
“I come from a very modest uneducated home, not from a background in politics. I started a bit behind many of my peers so had to work pretty hard to make up ground and have often felt like I'm behind. I am learning to recognize that I might have something to offer, flawed as I am, and that has been a very new realization for me. I am learning to accept myself while also engaging in self-reflection looking for growth opportunities," she said. "It's my hope that we grow stronger as a community through this event and events like it. That we recognize our strengths and our weaknesses and develop and grow and use them to strengthen our communities. I'm sure I will learn more from the other panelists and the attendees than I will give and that's exciting to be a community where we can gather to learn and support each other.”
Heidi Jones is one of the organizers. A primary purpose, she wrote, is to start a new conversation in the region about diversity in local elected offices at every level so that underrepresented populations have a voice at the table.
The event is sponsored by the League of Women Voters Red Wing, with support from the Duff Endowment, Red Wing Community Education and Goodhue County Education District.
Red Wing Honor Society students will provide child care during the event.
If you go:
Where: River Bluff, 395 Guernsey Lane
When: Saturday, Jan. 25, 9:30 a.m. to noon.