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MN 2020 Candidate Questionnaire
Paul Brandmire District 14B
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?
I skateboarded as a kid down the hill in front of our house in Anchorage, AK; no helmet, no knee pads, no elbow pads, homemade board using old roller skate — what a rush. Loved it.
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’m currently on the St. Cloud city council and would continue to represent the St. Cloud area if I’m elected to state. We do here, yes, and I voted to improve it when it was recently re-located.
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.
Yes, I can see the opportunity for socialization and equity among those who mutually respect each others’ abilities and love for the sport.
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?
It’s important that youth have a place which meets their interests and encourages activity. Too many are too dormant which often leads to obesity and diabetes. Spending on such equipment and areas is a great investment in the health and positive activities of our youth.
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?
As it stands now, yes.