ST. CLOUD -- A new agenda for the future of the St. Cloud area and Minnesota called "Claiming Our Voices", is starting to be pushed by the Great River Interfaith Partnership and ISAIAH.

The new agenda is to "create a Minnesota that is inclusive and just for every person". Their main focus in 2018 is affordable housing, shifting from last year's focus of an extension of the Northstar line.

Tami Calhoun is a Leader for GRIP/ISAIAH, she says, while they've been able to find some early political support for their primary focus in 2018, the affordable housing topic is still touchy for most of the public.

"The biggest prohibitor is the 'not in my backyard'. So I think the conversation just needs to get around to, what will it look like to have affordable housing in your neighborhood. I think that needs to be addressed, for people and city councils and mayors of surrounding cities to get on board."

Some of the parts to the "Claiming Our Voices" agenda include:

  • Full gender justice
  • A fully funded public education system
  • A justice system focused on restoration and redemption
  • Affordable, dignified places to live, work, retire and play
  • A system of finance, both public and private that prioritizes needs where everyone can access wealth

Darin Seaman is a Pastor at First Presbyterian Church. He says when it comes to both their 2018 goal of better and more affordable housing and the rest of the agenda, they feel there are both small tweaks and big changes that can be made.

"Some of the things have system changes that need overhaul, but there's affordable housing in our community that just needs to be enhanced. So I think it's a both/and, there are some systems that need overhaul, there are some that just need tweaking."

The group also wants to remove money from politics, as they claim an estimated $100-million dollars going to be spent in the 2018 midterms in Minnesota alone. So far, according to the Federal Election Commision, over $12-million has been raised for the 2018 election cycle in Minnesota, between house and senate candidates.

The group says their new agenda is faith-based and focused on a grassroots, non-partisan campaign to bring a "moral, value, and faith-informed agenda to the forefront of the 2018 election".