My name is Joy Marsh Stephens and I am running for Mayor of Brooklyn Park.

I have lived in Brooklyn Park with my family for 15 years and know how great of a city we can be. My husband, John, and I have raised our four children here - three of whom have moved onto college and the fourth is a student at Park Center High School.  

I believe our city, the sixth largest in Minnesota, can and should be a true leader nationally in how a diverse, growing suburban city can work together so ALL residents can be successful. Brooklyn Park’s website says that the city is a “thriving community inspiring pride where opportunity exists for all,” but for too many residents this is not the case.

Like many Brooklyn Park homeowners I've talked to, the equity we once had in our homes has disappeared as a result of the economic recession. We can not rely on home equity to send our children to college. We need solutions so that we can rebuild the wealth we've lost.

John and I have both experienced periods of unemployment and underemployment leaving us sensitive to the large percentage of Brooklyn Park residents who struggle to find living wage jobs. As Brooklyn Park strives to become a job creation leader statewide, our first priority must be to put our residents to work.

We've been fortunate to see three of our children beat the odds and graduate from high school at a time when most Black children aren't graduating. The racial equity gap in our schools is too great leaving many of our children unprepared for life beyond high school. As our community becomes more diverse, closing this gap and ensuring all children can be contributing members of our community helps stabilize the tax base for everyone.

There is a way forward beyond the economic and racial disparities that divide us. We can be One Brooklyn Park.

I have been an active member of the Brooklyn Park community advocating for education, social justice and racial and economic equity through community and faith based organizing. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Disorders and a Masters degree in special education from the University of Minnesota. I am currently employed by UnitedHealth Group as Associate Director of Business Analysis.

In the coming weeks and months, I want to learn more about your vision and your hope for the work we can do together. I look forward to talking with you about our great city and working together to create One Brooklyn Park!
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