Public policy discussions can be difficult, especially when they center on issues about which people are passionate. For more than 63 years, the Citizens League has brought together people from diverse backgrounds, parties and ideologies to create and advance solutions for Minnesota. On issues like schools, taxes, transportation, health care, and water, some of Minnesota’s greatest public achievements have emerged from the Citizens League.
Target has long been a proud supporter of the Citizens League, and sponsors one of their signature programs, Policy & a Pint. Policy & a Pint is a monthly event series produced in conjunction with The Current, dedicated to bringing a younger generation of Minnesotans into the policy conversation, in a way that’s fun, engaging, and relevant. Host Steve Seel sits down with a panel of experts on the topic from various perspectives, and their interview lays the groundwork for a lengthy and well-informed Q&A with the audience.
Policy & a Pint is now celebrating its tenth season. The original idea was a joint creation of The Current and the Citizens League, and they have collaborated and the programming and production ever since. Sean Kershaw, Executive Director of the Citizens League, says, “The program fits our mission because we believe that people who are impacted by an issue have to help define that issue. Policy can’t just be made by the experts and the elected leaders. We think that public policy has to involve all aspects of the public, and you need to go to them, not just expect them to come to you.”
Policy & a Pint tackles tough topics. “Things without any controversy/disagreement, or topics that are extremely emotional and divisive, tend not to work. If we can’t find the ‘hook’ that would interest us, we move on to another topic. There is a great moment when you can tell we are getting excited about the topic when we know we’re on to something,” says Kershaw. “Thanks to the support from Target, we’ve been able to put more work into the production of the events, and the payoff has been the best-attended events in the entire ten years of the program.” Recent topics include the achievement gap in Minneapolis schools between white students and students of color, attracting and retaining a diverse workforce in Minnesota, transportation funding priorities, and the impact of a dwindling pollinator population on our food supply.
The next Policy & a Pint will be held in June at the Varsity Theater. Click here for tickets and information. For recaps and recordings of previous Policy & a Pint events shared by The Current, click here.
Images courtesy of MPR / Nate Ryan