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Becoming A More Inclusive Rochester

October 27, 2018 07:57 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- A diverse crowd filled a room inside Rochester's 125 Live building Friday evening, and that was the goal of the Community Peoples' Forum. It was an opportunity for Rochester Mayoral candidates and the candidates for Minnesota's First Congressional District to address people in the community who are underrepresented. 

Mayoral candidates Charlie O'Connell and Kim Norton took the stage Friday night, sharing a similar vision of inclusivity and cultural growth among diverse communities and the law enforcement and schools that serve them.

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Rochester Mayoral candidate Kim Norton said, "The school district has its own governance structure. The one thing that we used to have that we don't have anymore is a tri-government council. Years ago, we had the school district, the county and the city come together 2, 3, 4 times a year to work on issues that worked across all the sectors."

O'Connell said, "We need to approach this from a community perspective and listen to those differences and to get a better understanding of why these issues may be happening. That's the way we are able to tackle these problems head-on."

Efforts to address the changes in the Rochester community are ever evolving and this past summer, the vandalism of the downtown mosque brought to light, once again, that the city is not immune to the challenges of intolerance.

Dan Feehan, DFL candidate for Minnesota's First Congressional District, pulling from his experience in the army.

"While I was serving overseas, I had served alongside a pretty unique group of American soldiers along the way and I served side by side with the Iraqi army along the way, too. Being side by side, you realize these are men who love their country and love their God. It's a really simple idea, but your ability that one is not in exchange for the other. These people were patriotic for the cause of making their country peaceful again and were devoted Muslims at the same time is an experience that sticks with me every single day."

GOP candidate for Minnesota's First Congressional District, Jim Hagedorn, was invited to Friday night's forum but was not able to attend due to a previous engagement in the western part of the district.


 

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Rachel Wick

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