The South Asian Townhall meeting of December 2011 was held at the Hindu Temple of Minnesota. The purpose of the town hall meeting was to hear the South Asian community’s concerns for the upcoming 2012 legislative session and to engage in an open discussion with the elected officials.
For many of the elected officials, this was the first trip to the Hindu Temple of Minnesota. Rep Debra Hilstrom (District 46B), Rep Joe Mullery (District 58A), Rep Sandra Peterson (District 45A), and Senator Warren Limmer (District 32) were present to discuss in an open dialogue with over 30 community members from the South Asian community.
Council on Asian Pacific Minnesota’s Executive Director, Kao Ly Ilean Her, opened the meeting with an introduction of CAPM and the legislators in attendance. The town hall was followed by legislators discussing their priorities for the 2012 legislative session, an open discussion with community members to ask questions and to hear responses from legislators, and a reflection from the panel which consisted of legislators and CAPM board members.
There were concerns expressed about the growing disconnect between Democrats and Republicans in office. The community does not want to suffer from another state shutdown and expressed interest in the political parties to bridge their gaps so that Minnesotans aren’t suffering. Other topics raised by constituents included concerns about:
- rising higher education costs and student debt,
- decreased funding for local non-profits,
- encouraging the University of Minnesota to conduct outreach to diverse communities,
- and employment and corporate hiring.
Senator Limmer thanked the community for giving him the chance to attend and noted that meetings like the South Asian town hall is the best way to hear from the community and to bring their concerns back to the legislature.
Thank you to all the attendees of the 2011 South Asian Community Town Hall.
To view photos of the event, please visit our flickr page.