Hennepin County Board, District 4
Tackling disparities with jobs
Adapted from the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 26, 2018
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
MINNEAPOLIS — “The biggest problem we’ve got in the community right now is the economic disparities,” says Peter McLaughlin, adding “the only way we’re going to tackle that is with jobs.”
McLaughlin is running for re-election to a ninth term on the Hennepin County Board, representing District 4 in south Minneapolis.
McLaughlin’s endorsements include: Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO; AFSCME Council 5; and the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council.
McLaughlin sees a historic opportunity with the local economy’s high demand for workers and the Baby Boomers’ coming retirement wave. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime being able to attack disparities and get people working,” he says.
“We’re working right now with the Building Trades and others to create pathways into jobs,” McLaughlin says. “We need to be very intentional and reaching out into the community…”
McLaughlin has a long record of creating policy solutions that work.
“That’s what the power of Hennepin County is,” he says. “We can combine healthcare, housing, social services, jobs.”
McLaughlin has been the key leader in the development of the region’s growing and successful light rail system and has served as the chair of the region-wide Counties Transit Improvement Board. “I’ve been trying to get a transit system for the 21st century built during my time on the board,” he says. “That I consider a great achievement.”
Just the Southwest Light Rail project alone, he notes, is an $800 million civil construction contract. “That’s going to put a lot of people to work for a long time.”
“We’ve got to make sure we fulfill that vision of a good-paying job with benefits for everybody,” McLaughlin says.
“Unions are in a battle for their lives, McLaughlin notes. “I have and been and will continue to be an ally.”
“Peter has been an exceptional advocate for Labor,” comments Dan McConnell, business manager of the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council. “I can’t imagine what our county would be like without him on the board. Not only has he fought for Labor, he has led the charge to build our transit system, he saved the city libraries from closing by brokering a merger with the county, and is now leading on workforce development with the county’s career pathways program. I can’t think of another person who has had such a positive impact on our community.”