Piyali Nath Dalal – MN House 60A

Tell us about a time — before you were a candidate for public office — where you
felt strongly about a local/state political issue. Give an example of the action you
took in response.

In Audubon Park in Northeast Minneaoplis, I wanted to develop some City-owned green space into a Peace Piazza, on the corner of 28th Ave. and Johnson St. NE. I shared my idea on Facebook, and several neighbors expressed interest. We were a working group for close to a year, and we met with our City Council member. Unfortunately the land was tied to another development project, so we were unable to move forward.

If elected, what committee assignment would you like to receive and why?

1)Education Policy – Since in college, I’ve been interested in educational policy. I
was fortunate to be a student representative to the University of Minnesota Board
and Regents. This experience showed me for the process of creating policy
2)Environment and Natural Resource – The safety of Minnesota’s natural resources
and wonders is important to me and to my constituents. I will better understand
how the policies in Minnesota are structured around protecting our resources.
3)Ways and Means – This committee is an educational stretch for me. I have not
been involved with making decisions around taxes and other revenue-generating
strategies. I look forward to working with my new colleagues in this arena.

Do you agree that we’re facing a climate emergency? If yes, what’s the
appropriate emergency-level policy response?

Yes, we are facing a climate emergency. Before making a recommendation on
the appropriate response, I would want to meet with people who have been
studying climate change. Their expertise would guide me in my decision-making.

Name some specific housing policies you would push as a legislator to make Minneapolis a more affordable place to find housing.

I want to see that every new development in District 60A includes Section 8 housing. I would also work with the Downtown Council of Churches and other affordable housing advocacy groups.

Can you identify anything the legislature currently gets wrong on transportation
–and how you’d fix this?

I want to see so much more for our state’s public transportation offerings. We need more buses, more bus drivers, more light rail, and more safety. We might be able to make public transportation a bigger priority if we encourage commuters to use public transit rather than drive.

Identify the top challenges facing schools in your area and how you’d address them.

Hunger, affordable housing, violence, cyberbulling are issues that the students are facing. Teachers are under tremendous pressure to meet education standards and to provide individualized attention to student. I would work with Minneapolis Federation of Teachers to find the best ways to support our teachers. Social workers, counselors, and legislators can work to find ways to support our students physically and mentally.

Name an issue area about which your own knowledge and experience are lacking. How are you learning more? Who do you turn to for advice?

Campaigning! This is my first time campaigning. Thank you notes, donation requests, volunteer recruitment are parts of my daily life. I have mentors who are astute in state politics, and I have a supportive husband who’s a great researcher.

Do you see specific opportunities for the state legislature to support the work of
–or remove obstacles for — the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor?

Affordable housing would an issue that the state legislature and the city could work together on. The environment as well – we can create policy that rewards Minnesotans for being conscientious about their water, electricity, and natural gas use.

Lightning Round​ – ​Short answers if possible.

What neighborhood do you live in?

Audubon Neighborhood

Do you have a favorite Metro Transit bus route? Where does it take you?

#4 It takes me downtown and also to the light rail.

What leadership experience do you have?

I have a background in facilitation, student organizing, program management, and advocacy. I’m also a mom, and that has changed my definition of what leadership looks like. Leadership is about everyone getting their needs met and working toward a collective goal. This can be for a family, a team, a school, a workplace.

Have you run for elected office before? Which one/s?

This is my first time.

Do you support the Minneapolis 2040 plan?

No comment at this time.

[Click here to read answers from all district 60A candidates. The special primary election is on January 21st, 2020.]