Council Perspectives: Council Members Chris Tolbert

It is an honor and a privilege to represent Ward 3 on the St. Paul City Council. We have accomplished so much to make Macalester-Groveland, West Seventh, Highland Park and all of St. Paul a better place to live. Together over the last seven years we have succeeded in making major strides in housing, jobs, and transportation in St. Paul. And we can continue that momentum to ensure that St. Paul is a city where opportunity is available for everyone — now and for generations to come — but only by focusing on the issues impacting our community. We still have much more to do to ensure that St. Paul continues to be a vibrant city that offers opportunity, safety, and prosperity for its residents. That is why I am asking for your support as I seek re-election to represent you and our neighborhood on the St. Paul City Council.

Addressing the affordable housing crisis was one of our top priorities in 2018, and we made significant progress by investing real resources to address the problem. We created a new Affordable Housing Trust Fund that invests $71 million in the preservation and production of affordable housing over the next three years. The creation of this fund was a significant step toward improving affordable housing in St. Paul, and I am confident that it will result in opportunity, stability and homesfor St. Paul residents and their families. 

We have been proactive, thoughtful, and visionary in our planning for the future of the Ford Site, and we will ensure it is a successful development by maintaining this approach through each phase of development.

Throughout my time on City Council, I have fought to improve the lives of working people in St. Paul. In 2016, we passed the Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, guaranteeing all St. Paul workers the right to stay at home if they are unwell. In 2018, we passed the City Minimum Wage Ordinance, which ensures that all residents of our city are guaranteed the right to earn a living wage of $15/hour. But there is still work to be done — we can and must do more to ensure that all people can earn living wages, and that Saint Paul is a place where good jobs are abundant.

We are investing in and empowering our youth through the continued success and growth of our Right Track program. This program creates ladders of opportunity by connecting thousands of our community’s children with access to employers, mentors, and professional experiences. We also established the Full Stack initiative, an innovative program that connects our contemporary, entrepreneurial, and industrious workforces — making Saint Paul a leading jobs incubator. We also should be proud of our creation of the Regional Pathways initiative, which brings together private, non-private, and public sector partners from across the Metro to move our region forward in closing the skills gap, while also helping people secure living wage jobs.

We have taken important steps in improving St. Paul’s transportation system. I led the effort for the planning of an additional light-rail train, the Riverview Corridor. We also made important advancements to pedestrian safety in our neighborhoods by investing in road and bike infrastructure — but we still have much more to do to make St. Paul safe and welcoming for all people and all modes of transportation.

Representing our neighborhood during this important time in Saint Paul’s history has been an honor and a responsibility that I embrace with respect and humility. I have been grateful for your support in previous elections, but more so, I have appreciated your support, feedback, and advice as I’ve worked diligently to represent you, our neighborhood and our city. I hope that I can earn your continued support, so that, together, we can continue to make St. Paul a great place— for everyone!

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