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MN 2020 Candidate Questionnaire
Addie Miller District 47
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’m not sure skateboarding in the neighborhood as a kid counts as personal experience but it was a favorite activity in our house. There are a lot of skateboarders in my district. In fact, one of my first questions during a phone bank came from an 18 year old new voter asking if I would support fixing the Waconia skate park (I would). Skateboarding is a fantastic way to keep kids on the right track and provide an outlet for energy. I’m supportive!
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?
There are a few around the district; the parks in the western half of the county are in need of upgrade and attention. I’m not sure about accessibility of existing parks, but it would be a necessary consideration for any new constructions or improvements to existing spaces.
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.
Absolutely. There’s a strong push for racial and gender justice right now in all spaces – I’m not surprised it would be relevant in skateboarding discussions as well. Low-income communities deserve access to these parks just as much as any other community.
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?
When building new infrastructure, an environmental impact study should be performed to analyze and mitigate any health and environmental hazards. Beyond that, investment in youth programs, especially those that promote equity and social justice, is something the legislature should do. I got into politics because of healthcare – I plan to push for expansion of MinnesotaCare and a move toward agencies directly negotiating with care providers to ensure we’re getting the best bang for our buck as taxpayers.
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?