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MN 2020 Candidate Questionnaire
Matt Bruns District 21A
Describe your personal experience with skateboarding. Are you a skateboarder? Have you ever been a skateboarder? Do you personally know any skateboarders? What is your general perception of the activity?
Please don’t throw any shade or rattle the coping with your trucks, but I grew up a BMX rider in the South Metro. That being said, my friend group was made up entirely by skateboarders. Through skating and riding we forged our family. We were also able to, in large part due to these activities, avoid some of the pitfalls that can come form living in relatively small town with nothing to do. We were active, healthy, and a close-knit group of outsiders that pushed each other in our personal lives and in our recreational space.
Skateboarding has always had an appeal to youth and kids, but after many decades, skateboarding is now a multigenerational activity (ages 3-60+ years). Minnesota needs more opportunities for our citizens to be outside, active and creative in community social spaces. Do the communities you would represent have quality, accessible and visible skateboard spaces?
I am running to represent that fabulous Minnesota House District of 21A. It encapsulates the communities of Red Wing, Cannon Falls, Goodhue, Lake City, Welch, Wabasha, and the Prairie Island Indian Community. For a community that finds itself 30-60 minutes in away from any metropolitan area in any given directions, we have a fairly strong skatepark presence. Consisting mainly of pressure treated box ramps, fun boxes, mini ramps, quarters, and a couple of spines, we are doing better than outsiders expect. Many exist near well-traveled areas so it keeps it relatively free of anything that might keep someone from being able to utilize the park. We do not, however, have that jewel in the crown, the indoor park accessible to athletes year round, but we are trying. The folks in Lake City are fighting hard to construct a beautiful indoor park that would be a real benefit to all that ride on 2-4 wheels to pass the time.
Minnesota hosted the world’s largest skateboard competition, X Games in 2017, 2018 and 2019. During the three X Games Minneapolis events, women and men competed in skateboarding contests that will also be added to the Olympics for Tokyo 2021. Skateboarding has become a worldwide equity activity that has little barrier to participation other than safe places to roll. Do you see a connection between skateboarding and social, racial, gender and economic equity? If so, please share a few thoughts.
All institutions have come across their own form of inequity, some choose to fight it others let it persist invisibly. Skateboarding, however (and I’m going to throw BMX in here as well), has been a progressive sport that looks to build up individuals. You, we, them – we praise the growth of others. We do not devalue or overvalue their efforts based on race, gender, sexual identify, sexual orientation, or economic status. Outside of securing your equipment and space to skate, the only barrier to individuals is their effort and when you put the time it will be recognized. At that point it won’t matter where you came from, the story always focuses on the time and determination the athlete put in.
Quality concrete skateparks are an efficient use and value of tax payer resources due to their constant use and minimal maintenance. Other community amenities like ballfields, pools, ice rinks, trails and courts need large dedicated spaces, costly programming, and are often expensive to maintain financially and environmentally. Beyond team sports, our community members need activities that challenge them mentally and physically. How will you support youth and community health with new ideas and infrastructure?
Supporting youth and community health starts by listening to the stakeholders. Community members, young and old, need the mental and physical challenge to stay vibrant and if they identify a resource that would provide that, policy makers have got to listen. All that is left is to weigh the economic impacts, research-based benefits, and then chart a path that is cost-effective, with both multi-use and low-maintenance options at the forefront. Government is the agency of the people, they are the ones we serve.
Skateboarding is an individual challenging activity that can be done alone, but flourishes at community public skateparks that also can work within our COVID-19 era of social distancing. The University of Southern California just completed a study of skateboarding with these findings, “What we learned from skateboarding youth was profound. Study data illustrate how skateboarding bolsters mental health and facilitates community. Skaters of color explained feeling safer and more supported in the skate community. Skaters clearly articulated skills they learned through skating, such as persistence (skaters will practice a trick hundreds of times until they land it), problem solving, intergenerational and cross-cultural communication.” Our Minnesota communities need new ideas and resources to help serve our youth. Will you support the MN State Skate Park Matching Grant Program HF2490/SF1490?
I will support the Minnesota State Skate Park Matching Grant Program, also known as HF 2490 and SF 1490.
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