As Council President with two terms in office under her belt, Amy has the experience and relationships in City Hall to advance priorities that are important to Ward 5 residents. Amy is a strong progressive leader with a positive vision for Saint Paul.
She continually advances fresh, innovative ideas and approaches to building a Saint Paul that works for everyone.
Engagement and Constituent Service
Serving community members is Amy’s first priority, and she believes that important observations and great ideas come from everywhere. Since she was first elected in 2011, Amy has held regular iin-community office hours at the Rice Street Library. She has held targeted community office hours with translation services to ensure that she is connected to all the members of the community. “Lake Laps” are another way Amy connects creatively with residents who want to share ideas or concerns; community members are invited to circle Como or Loeb Lake, or enjoy a stroll in Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary, to meet in an outdoor, active setting.
Excellence in constituent service has been a cornerstone of Amy’s time in office. Her priority is that each call, conversation, email and letter that comes in is answered in a timely fashion and that each person feels heard and well-served. Together with her friendly, professional staff, Amy works to be a trusted, effective advocate for constituents in sometimes complex city-processes. Amy welcomes ideas for policy improvements brought forward by all residents.
Housing Affordability, Supply, Fairness
Increasing our housing supply is one of Amy’s top priorities. She established the Fair Housing Task Force in 2017 which proposed the Fair Housing Action Plan in 2018. Amy worked with Mayor Carter to secure $71 million dollars over the next three years to fund the plan and includes more constructions, expanded affordability levels, a tenants bill of rights, establishment of a housing manager for the city, requests for zoning changes to allow more density to name a few. Amy fought for our city’s $15 minimum wage ordinance. Amy fought for our citywide earned sick and safe leave ordinance. Homelessness is a regional serious problem that is and and hand with our housing crisis. Amy represents Saint Paul on the state’s task force for ending homelessness.
Amy has been a leader on all pro-environmental policy from the city. From making it easier to use wind, solar, geothermal, to modernizing stormwater management, to leading oncompostable to-go containers, to creating a climate inheritance resolution with area youth, to leading on bike and pedestrian infrastructure and transit options. Amy works hand in hand with the city’s Chief Resilience Officer (Russ Stark) and is a champion for the city’s new climate action plan.
Public safety is multifaceted and includes things as wide ranging ads job opportunities, access to mentors, abundant library and rec center hours, well-trained police. Amy is a strong partner of Police Chief Axtell and appreciates the hard work of our SPPD — she recently graduated from the Civilian Police Academy to get a first hand perspective on how the force works. She is supportive of the chief’s accountable and transparent approach to leading a community-first police force. She is proud of the work of the mental health unit of the SPPD and will fight to continue to add resources to this unit. She is excited about ETHOS, our new Neighborhood Justice Program, which will use restorative justice, proven to reduce recidivism, among first-time, non violent offenders. Amy fought for our city’s $15 minimum wage ordinance. Amy fought for our citywide earned sick and safe leave ordinance.
New City Coordinated Trash Program
Amy supports the change from 70,000 individually-negotiated trash contracts to one city-wide organized system with less trucks, less noise, less pollution and less wear and tear on our streets. She also thinks the new system is imperfect, and that the contract should allow for shared services and reduced rates for low-volume users. She is committed to leading the negotiation on these changes once the system has had some time to settle in. It’s been ten short months since the program rolled out, and things are going well, especially considering the scale of the change. She will be voting YES on the ballot to preserve the new system.
(*Amy also encourages people to be sure to use their 3 FREE bulky removals that every household gets as part of the trash contract.)
Women Leaders/Women Leaders of Color
One of the biggest joys in Amy’s work is mentoring and supporting women and girls in leadership and public policy, particularly women and girls of color. She takes every opportunity to speak to and listen to girls in schools or programs. She connects women to opportunities, helps pave the way to increasing their visibility and authority though appointments boards, commissions and supporting their political campaigns. She was an early supporter in change campaigns such as Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley, Saint Paul School Boardmember Marny Xiong, Ramsey County Commissioner Trista Matascastillo, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, Governor Candidate Erin Murphy. She firmly pushes women to push themselves father than they thought they could.
Planning for People and the Future
Since the 1950s, city and regional planning was done with a strong focus on personal automobiles and moving people and goods quickly around and out of the city. The flight to the suburbs in the 70s and 80s were devastating to the urban core. Now, people are decidedly moving back to the metro cities across the nation and rejoining those hardy souls who never left. As Saint Paul grows and thrives, Amy believes that all planning and renovation must be focused on people who live here and our local needs. Saint Paul’s oldest and youngest citizens, and everyone in between, need safe, clean, walkable, bikeable streets, sidewalks and paths. Further, our personal safety walking, wheeling, driving or biking to school or work should not depend on our socio-economic status, but routinely, affluent neighborhoods receive modern pedestrian amenities while lower-income and working-class neighborhoods suffer the impact of wide, multi-lane roads, heavy commuter traffic, lack of recreational off-street paths and gaps in the sidewalk network. Amy believes this disparity is unacceptable and will continue to work to ensure every neighborhood is a safe for pedestrians.
The most vibrant cities in the world have one thing in common—great public transit and people happily on foot and on bike. Adequate transit and pedestrian options are not just safety features or nice-to-haves, they are an economic development imperative. Employers know to attract top talent, they need to locate in places that are easily navigable by transit, bike and foot. Saint Paul is a great and growing city and Amy knows that we can build upon our success by investing in modern transit options that promote a safe, healthy environment and healthy and connected people.
Twin Cities German Immersion School vs Save Historic Saint Andrews
No one ever wishes to see a beautiful building razed, and that certainly was the case in the recent demolition of the former St. Andrews Church building in South Como. Amy is a direct neighbor of the German Immersion School and has been engaged in the process since the beginning.
If the building would have been designated as historic by the archdiocese or otherwise before the building was purchased by the school, it would have been a better candidate for preservation. However, the school bought the building unencumbered by historic designation. As such, Amy did not believe there was precedent and inappropriate to add these requirements to a building after the fact as it would amount to a “government taking.” The Como Park District Council voted to support the building variance requests required for the project, and the City Council voted in agreement. Further proceedings in district court did not change the outcome of these votes and in August the building was removed. This issue has been challenging and divisive to the community on many levels. Amy is committed to sharing in the work of rebuilding the neighborhood community in the months and years ahead.