To represent the
community that raised me
with common sense
and common decency.

To represent the
community that raised me
with common sense
and common decency.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Friday Dec 13

12p – 2p @ The Coffee Shop NE
Meet Aswar! No RSVP required.

Saturday Dec 14

12p – 2p @ Carma Coffee
Meet Aswar! No RSVP required.

Sunday Dec 15

12p – 2p @ Dogwood
Meet Aswar! No RSVP required.

HOW I WILL REPRESENT _______

You care deeply about your neighborhood. You’re also stressed (though you’d probably never admit it) by the cost of two things: staying healthy and staying in the place you love.

Here is how I will work for you in the State Legislature:

Reducing the cost of prescription drugs.

There are several measures we can take as a state — and we should go full speed and enact laws to lower drug costs now. For example: increasing price transparency, allowing safe generic drug imports from Canada, and creating drug affordability boards.

Rein in property taxes and keep housing affordable.

You made your place your home — you should be able to live in it. Property taxes are skyrocketing across the board, often to offset costs of new developments. I’ll work for a fairer tax system that doesn’t charge you more and more each year to simply keep your home.

Ensure safety and advocate for hiring more police officers.

Northeast is lucky to have a culture of peace and respect of law — but our city and metro are getting more and more violent. I believe we need a State Representative who is willing to talk about the elephant in the room and advocate for a modern police department that grows as our city grows. You deserve a safe neighborhood, and I will work in St. Paul to make that happen.

I have always been in awe of the American citizen-soldier — the person who volunteers often putting their lives on hold, to serve their nation. That sacrifice means something, and as the Representative for Northeast, here’s what I will do:

Honoring our promises to servicemembers.

Before proposing new ways to look after our soldiers when they get home, I’ll first make sure we’re keeping all those promises that our government has already made, and that sufficient funding is there to meet these obligations to active duty military and veterans.

Equivalency for deployed servicemembers.

If you were deployed in active federal service, then I believe the  benefits to you and your family should reflect that, regardless of which branch you served in. In the State House, I will advocate for that.

Establish an annual Veterans Day event in Northeast.

Veterans Day should be a day of honor — I’ll make it so that our neighborhoods are alive with celebrations of those who are serving, or have served.

Being a parent is tied for the most important job in Northeast (right up there with teachers), but our laws don’t always reflect that. As your Representative in St. Paul, here is what I will strive for:

Expanding Child Care

We need to help small businesses provide care, and at the same time raise the number of childcare providers in our neighborhood.

Strengthening school services.

Schools are already much more than just classrooms — let’s build on that, and invest in pre-k programs, preventative health care, mental health services and more.

Afterschool and Minneapolis Parks programs.

Growing up in Northeast, the afterschool opportunities provided in my school and at my local parks made my education all the more complete. I will advocate for secure funding for these programs.

Rein in Property taxes.

The cost of simply living in your own home is growing by leaps and bounds every year — I will call on the State to step in and ensure that fiscal irresponsibility isn’t being passed onto you.

Safe neighborhoods/more police.

Our police are taking longer to respond, and having a difficult time doing their already difficult jobs — and you can’t blame them. The population in Northeast has boomed in the past few years but irrational politicking has kept our law enforcement from hiring new officers. As your Representative, I will advocate for a safer Northeast, and may pursue legislation that links a city’s police department size to its population.

Avoiding foreclosure and helping refinance.

There are resources at the State level that can help people keep their homes, and refinance their current mortgages — as your Representative, I will make sure those resources are offered to you and any of your neighbors in need of help.

Strengthen renter’s rights.

As a renter myself, I think there’s a lot to improve in the condition of renters’ rights. Tenants should have a right to counsel in eviction proceedings and the right of first refusal if the landlord wants to make changes that will affect their living situation. But also, we need to make sure that the anti-discrimination laws already on the books are properly enforced. 

Rein in rent by holding the line on property taxes.

You may have been seeing your rent grow year after year at a rate that just doesn’t make sense — and that has to do with property taxes. They’re growing too fast (mainly to accomodate new developments near downtown that put a greater burden on the tax base) and that cost is passed on to you. I will be your advocate in St. Paul for keeping the tax rate steady so you can spend less of your earnings on rent.

Increase homeownership.

It’s a cliche for a reason: homeownership is the basis of wealth in America — and don’t you just love Northeast? Then why not buy your home here. I will connect eager homebuyers to government resources that make homeownership a reality.

Uniform labor standards with paid family and medical leave.

It’s high time we had the state take action on labor standards that include paid family and medical leave. I will work to bring everyone to the table and help find a solution to this unnecessary stalemate — we all do better when we all do better.

Lower middle class taxes.

This starts with reining in property taxes, but then must include not giving more tax breaks to corporation and high-income households. Also, it makes no sense that unreimbursed employee expenses aren’t tax exempt — you need that uniform or that tool to do your job? Well then it’s creating wealth and income, and you shouldn’t be double taxed for it. Moreover, I believe in protecting and expanding the Working Families Tax Credit, so our tax system can be fairer and more conducive to a healthy economy.

Stop Wage Theft

I believe the State should allow the Department of Labor and Industry to do its job and make sure that the nearly 40,000 Minnesota workers whose wages are skimmed or outright stolen each year have a recourse to justice. A person deserves their pay — no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Teachers, in my book, serve the most important function of Northeast — you are building the future. Here’s what I’ll do to make life and work easier for educators:

Increasing per-pupil funding and tying it to inflation.

Why are teachers having to pay out of their own paychecks to keep their classrooms supplied? Because we simply haven’t been funding schools properly, and we do that at our own peril. I will be at the forefront in the fight for public school funding, and making sure it stays on par with inflation.

Emphasize and fund special education services.

This is one of the areas where our funding formula has fallen abhorrently short, and as the son of a special education teacher (and member of the teachers’ union) I believe that needs to be fixed right away — and that’s what I’ll call for.

Recruit and keep educators, especially from underrepresented communities.

How do we do that? By offering competitive starting salaries, strengthening loan forgiveness, and ensuring teachers have the supporting services they need. I was fortunate to have public school teachers from all backgrounds — and I think that the students of Northeast deserve no less.

Students are often overlooked in how a district is represented, but not with me. I believe that smart investments in our young people pay off extremely well in the long run.

Connect Edison High School to Northeast businesses with paid internship programs.

The workforce shortage is real and Northeast is no exception — I think that creates a golden opportunity to get Seniors and Northeast’s own high school on-the-job work experience as well as building financial discipline, while getting business in Northeast a new infusion of dedicated new talent.

Bring more services to schools.

Students will benefit from having more medical, social and academic services built into their schools — that’s what I’ll push for in the State House.

Expanded Afterschool and Parks Programs

Growing up in Northeast, the afterschool opportunities provided in my school and at my local parks made my education all the more complete. I will advocate for secure funding for these programs.

Northeast has a rich history and active culture of religious faith of all varied backgrounds and denominations. Here’s how I will serve the people of faith in Northeast.

Preserve heritage buildings, including churches and historic buildings.

I will advocate for greater investments in restoring and maintaining historical structures, so your place of worship will be sustained for generations to come.

Support family encouragement measures. 

I believe in the power of family, and that Minnesota should support and encourage new families, and that it would be beneficial to our Northeast community. This means strengthening the Minnesota Family Investment Program by raising the rate of monthly assistance in it (which has not increased in now over 30 years now!)

Ensure a voice for all viewpoints at the legislature.

Because our faith communities represent such a rich diversity of viewpoints, I think it will be my job as a Representative to ensure that all viewpoints are heard and represented in the Legislature.

The natural environment of Northeast is a treasure — and it’s our job to protect it from polluters. As your Representative, I will:

Enforce cleanup of the riverfront 

For too long, the Northeast riverfront has been polluted by careless (often multinational) industries and have been able to get away with it — not with me. I’ll be quite literally knocking on the MPCA’s door to get answers on why this impunity has been going on, and then I will approach the polluters themselves and get work started on de-polluting our river.

Pursue polluters for health damage compensation

As for the polluters who have already caused a tremendous amount of damage, I will demand compensation and take this matter to court if necessary.

Secure funding for pollution testing.

Right now, it’s ordinary citizens working against these massive polluters to gather the evidence they need, using funds that they themselves are having to gather — that’s not right. This is the State’s responsibility and I will make sure they live up to it and provide funding for tests.

As an immigrant myself, I know the challenges of integration and building wealth all too well. Here’s how I will bring representation for all of Northeast’s immigrants:

Build pathways to secure jobs via Minneapolis College.

As a Director on the board of the Minneapolis College Foundation, I have seen many underutilized routes for immigrants to land transformative jobs. I will connect the strengths of any who are eager to the opportunities available.

Immigration processing assistance.

As a State Representative, I will assist wherever I may be helpful to help Northeast immigrants navigate the complex immigration system.

Lay groundwork for an Immigrants’ Museum in Northeast.

A museum to celebrate the varied heritages of Northeast and the diasporas they represent. Funded privately with public guidace.  This would be the first of its kind in the United States and generate tourism income for Northeast.

No one works harder than the small business owner. Long hours, narrow margins, but a rewarding life and independence. I want to work to make life easier for our small business owners — here’s how:

Preserve small business freedom to implement statewide uniform labor laws. 

I believe in setting strong rules at the State level, then allowing businesses the freedom to implement those rules. This leads to better implementation, higher compliance, and aides small business growth.

Continue health care individual market for small business employees.

This move helps small business employers provide health insurance to their employees without having to go it alone. Health care costs could otherwise force a business to shut down.

Address workforce shortage. 

I will do this by being a vocal advocate of our state colleges and technical institutes, and connecting under-resourced students with institutions and providing scholarships and paid internships.

Where else can we find such an amazing arts district like the one we have in Northeast? I had the joy of growing up in that district and it shaped me for life. As State Representative, I will work to support our artists by:

Being an ally of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts and the NEMAA.

These organizations are fundamental to the arts community, and as a legislator, I will work to help achieve their agendas.

Secure more funding to the Arts Legacy Fund. 

There are several ways to achieve this, but the one I believe has the most potential is reallocating funds currently used by the Minnesota Snowbate program — meant to attract outstate film projects — and channel them to the Minnesota State Arts Board, which cultivates local talent.

Preserve charitable giving to the arts.

This will be done by developing and maintaining tax policies that are conducive to charitable giving, arts philanthropy and nonprofit arts organizations.

Brewers have been an economic blessing to Northeast Minneapolis. As the Representative of the district, it will be my job to look out for them in the State Legislature. Here’s how I’ll do it:

Champion the Growler Cap Bill. 

Right now, breweries producing more than 20,000 barrels annually can’t sell growlers. That means many breweries are trying not to become too successful and stay under this cap, making it so that they have to fail to stay in business. Absurd! I believe any brewery with a taproom should be allowed to sell growlers. 

Support vessel size expansion.

Brewers can only sell growlers above 750mL at the moment, and it makes little sense. I believe brewers should be able to sell a wider range of sizes within reason, and this provide more options to buyers.

Northeast is synonymous with incredible cuisine from around the world. The job of representing will include making sure that the people who make these restaurants possible are cared for. Here’s what I propose.

Exempt Restaurant equipment from sales tax, just like manufacturing equipment.

Prepared foods are taxed at the point of sale, just like manufactured goods. But unlike the machines that make manufactured food, restaurant equipment is taxed. That’s an imbalance and I’m going to work to even it out by making restaurant equipment tax-free.

Champion tax credit for prepared food donations.

Everyone’s concerned about waste — so let’s do something about it! I  will champion tax credits for prepared food donations, so that restaurants have a clear incentive to donate qualified excess food to people in need.

Adopt statewide uniform labor standards.

I want Northeast’s restaurants to grow and thrive. But for that to happen, we can’t have a patchwork of complex laws every time you cross a city boundary. I believe it’s a State responsibility to set and enforce uniform labor laws.

Our community should be welcoming and accessible to people of all abilities — here’s how I will make that happen as your Representative in St. Paul:

Help people retain PCA services

The best way to do this is by using the eligibility criteria that was in place before a massive overhaul in 2010. Those older criteria made more sense, and led to more people being able to acceess and keep critical PCA services.

Provide greater services and providers to disabled students in schools.

The State needs to invest more in making sure our schools are meeting the needs of students of all abilities. A simple way to do this would be to shore up existing per-pupil funding for special education programs, and ensuring that past financial commitments are lived up to.

Ensure building and residential accessibility.

This one is simple, but often overlooked — as Representative, I will make it my personal mission to make sure that buildings and homes are welcoming to all abilities.

Despite monumental progress, LGBTQ+ rights are under constant assault. I’ll be an advocate for all people in Northeast, regardless of identity or orientation. Here’s what I’ll work on for the LGBTQ+ community specifically:

Banning conversion therapy.

It has no place in our state or anywhere in the world. Period.

Support the LGBTQ Protection Bill.

Right now, it is an actual legally defensible thing to blame a victim’s sexual orientation or identity for a criminal’s use of force. This makes no sense, is completely unjust, and must be legislated out of our legal system.

MY NORTHEAST STORY

First, I want to say thank you. No matter whether you’ve been here for generations or you’re an immigrant like me, you have made Northeast a wonderful place to live.

At 6 years old, I immigrated from Bangladesh to Minneapolis with my mom and sister. We moved into a small house on 17th and University. I went to Sheridan Elementary on Broadway (Mr. Brown’s 4th grade class pictured). I sat in the back pews during Polish Mass at Holy Cross. My best birthdays were over a steak at Gasthof’s. I learned football at Bottineau Park. This was all before I worked my way through the University of Minnesota and started my own digital firm.

I’ve now served as Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Digital Content Director and Congressman Dean Phillips’ Digital Director during his historic 2018 win — the first time a Democrat won in the western suburbs in 70 years! As a Director of the Minneapolis College Foundation, I’ve worked to make college and technical training accessible to the students coming from the lowest-income families in Minneapolis. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, I’ve created jobs and helped add to the economy of Minneapolis. As a Minnesota State Arts Board-funded filmmaker, I am committed to a flourishing creative economy and public funding of the arts.

If I have the honor of winning your vote, I will represent you in the Legislature with the two values that I learned growing up in Northeast: common sense, and common decency. And with that, I believe we can get work done for our schools, our parks, our arts, our students and our seniors, our homeowners and our renters — in short, I will work my tail off for you.

– Aswar

 

Professional Experience

Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Presidential Campaign
Director, Digital Content

Congressman Dean Phillips’ Inaugural Campaign
Digital Director

Minneapolis College Foundation
Director

Paid for by Aswar for Northeast.