Candidate Questionnaire Response: Jamie Hendricks, Ward 5

Jamie Hendricks is running for City Council in Ward 5. Learn more about her at www.jamie4ward5.com

What is your vision for safety and wellness rooted in St. Paul communities? As a city councilmember, what concrete steps would you take to support that vision? And who else would you work with to advance that vision?

My vision for Saint Paul is to have neighborhoods that are safe for individuals and families that they can thrive in our communities. When our neighborhoods are not safe it doesn’t just affect us physically but also emotionally and mentally. I would like to work on proactive and not just reactive solutions. We must have a clear path and transparency to get things done. I will work with all of our community leaders and want those from our community to have input and be involved. Residents know what they need and are the ones who are affected by public policies.

What alternatives to policing, arrest, criminal prosecution and incarceration would you work to support? How would you work to reduce the dramatic racial disparities and impacts of these systems?

I support our folks who are out on the streets engaging with our youth and building those relationships. I believe we need more people to do that work. We need mentors to connect with those who are at risk. I am someone who has always believed that we must first understand that not everyone has been afforded the same lives and first and that respect and understanding are a place to start. I would like to see programs similar to SEED ( Seeking Equitable Education through Diversity)training, be a requirement for. all government employees and educators. Putting what you have learned in place and calling out that which is wrong, is essential. Continuous work on racial disparities is an ongoing process but goals, timelines, and expectations must be put in place and followed.

Many people who are routinely impacted by policing come from our most impoverished and disenfranchised communities, and due to systemic inequities, they are comparatively disconnected from the levers of power. How would you work to elevate the experience and insight of directly impacted community members so they can have the same impact on shaping policy as well-funded advocacy organizations?

You have to go straight to the community first to find out what the needs are. Each of us as individuals has our own stories. Even though it is a large issue, I believe with the communities input we can come to a concenses of what the greatest needs are for people and start working on those issues towards solutions.

In partnership with the community-first safety initiative, and with leadership support from the city council, St. Paul residents have advanced the idea of a community cabinet on safety, wellness and justice. How would you support this cabinet to ensure it has lasting and meaningful input?

I would support them by helping to advance their agenda through information such as data and resources. I would like to hear what their plans are and know how they will move forward with their initiatives. I want to be a partner in resolution.

What is your knowledge of or experience with restorative justice and restorative practices? How might St. Paul become a restorative city?

My idea of restorative justice is to put plans in place to keep from inequities taking place and to give those who have had some difficulties a chance to move forward.

What specific steps would you take to build stability in areas hard-hit by poverty, unemployment, and housing insecurity?

We must have easy access to transportation, healthcare, job placement agencies, easy access to food resources and housing that is safe, clean, and truly affordable to those in poverty. I would like to find a way to bring employment agencies into the neighborhoods. I would try to find resources and make them known and available.

What do you know about the recently dissolved Joint Powers Agreement to share data to flag Ramsey County students as “at-risk”? What lessons do you think officials should take away from the political process that created the Joint Powers Agreement data-sharing plan?

I have heard about it and don’t believe we should share information with everyone. The words “at risk” are very presumptuous and I question how that is determined and by who.

What specific steps will you take to end the school to prison pipeline for St. Paul youth? What can you as a city councilmember do to create more opportunities for youth to thrive?

I support ECFE, preschool programs and all day kindergarten. Up until four and a half years ago, I worked as a para for 12 ½ years at an elementary school in several capacities and seen a lot of what was missing for a fair number of our kids. Our teaching staff can not do everything to meet our kids needs. We must be able to help bring pathway that are attainable to our youth.

How should the city of St. Paul welcome and support people returning to neighborhoods from jail or prison, or living on probation? What steps would you take to make housing more accessible to people with criminal convictions?

Currently we don’t have an agency that supports those kind of issues. We need to have a central place where there are people who can help navigate the system. Too many times it is a struggle and left up to individuals to navigate a system that is not cohesive or transparent.

What is a person, place, book, experience, or film that has especially influenced your vision of community-first public safety and your dreams about what’s possible for community-first public safety in St. Paul?

Twice my family has experienced extremely serious incidents of violence (one physical, one gun violence) from strangers that has completely changed our lives.

What informs your decision-making process when it comes to community issues? Can you share a story about a specific time when you had to decide where you stood on a difficult community issue, or when you had to decide what kind of action you should take on an issue? How did you arrive at the decision you did?

My own experiences and the experiences of others. I look at things from different perspectives and feel it is important to listen before making decisions. I will not share personal experiences here. I am willing to discuss them face to face.

What does co-governance look like to you? How have you implemented that vision of co-governance in your own life and work? How would you work to scale up that vision in city government?

For me it is to work together as a team to bring out the best possible outcomes. I have implemented that in all the work I have done. I want people in the community to know they have a voice in the decision processes on issues and they are truly being heard.