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CURE pushes for local policies in upcoming elections

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Members of Communities United for Rochester Empowerment released a collection of policies its plans use as a basis for holding elected officials accountable to the concerns of the community as the 2018 election

Affordable housing is among key issues for the member-led group, which is affiliated with with the healthcare workers’ Union, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

Michelle Arends, a Rochester mother of two, said it’s a critical issue.

"My daughter is 5 years old and, because of rising housing costs, has had five different addresses in her lifetime here in Minnesota," she said. "All of the issues we are putting forward are important to make sure Rochester is a city that works for all families."

CURE organizer Che Lopez said members feel strongly about the identified issues.

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"Our city is at a turning point," he said. "As Rochester continues to rapidly grow and develop under the Destination Medical Center, we must decide as a community if we are going to become a city for the wealthy, global elite and Mayo Clinic executives or if we are going make Rochester a place where everyone benefits.

"As the 2018 elections approach us in Rochester and Olmsted County, many politicians have begun campaigning and appealing to our communities for support. Today our organization of low- and moderate-income families fighting for economic and racial justice present our vision for the city we call home."

Issues on the group’s list include:

• Requiring that new developments include affordable housing,

• Not giving tax breaks to housing projects that don’t include affordable units,

• Limiting excessive rent increases,

• Seeking a $15 minimum wage and paid sick leave,

• Showing respect for workers’ rights,

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• Holding law enforcement officers accountable for excessive use of force,

• Working for housing and job opportunities for people with criminal records,

• Providing accessible and functional public transit system,

• Connecting every corner of the city with downtown,

• Ensuring Mayo Clinic provides charity care in exchange for tax breaks,

• Prohibiting Mayo from discriminating against Medicare, Medicaid and VA health plans, and

• Calling on Mayo to publicly support Universal Healthcare for all Minnesotans.

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