A newly formed Senate panel will convene later this month to scrutinize an aspect of Minnesota exceptionalism that no one brags about: an income gap between the state’s white and minority citizens that is among the highest in the nation.
The Select Committee on Disparities and Opportunities will be co-chaired by Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, and Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis. Hayden and Champion are the only African-Americans who currently serve in the 67-member body.
“Statistically, our state enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the nation, but there remains a disproportionate number of Minnesotans in minority communities who are not sharing in this prosperity,” Hayden said in a prepared statement. The disparity in unemployment rates between whites and blacks in the Twin Cities is the largest in the nation, according to Hayden.
The committee, charged with examining the causes and effects of such disparities, is expected to make recommendations to the Legislature next year. Its first meeting is slated for April 28.
The other members on the panel are Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, Sen. Foung Hawj, DFL-St. Paul, Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Mary’s Point, Sen. b, DFL-Edina, Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis, Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, and Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick.