This interview was conducted over email.

Southwest Voices: What are your thoughts on Rep. Frank Hornstein not running for office again?

Katie Jones: Frank has been such a mentor for me personally and an inspiring leader on climate and transportation. Last year, he and Sen. Scott Dibble successfully steered one of the most consequential transportation bills in Minnesota history. But it’s just not policy.  He identifies, empowers, and connects young, BIPOC, and female leaders. His policy work is impressive, but his relentless organizing and emphasis on equity is his true legacy.  

SWV: How have you worked with Rep. Hornstein in the past?

KJ: Frank and I talk a lot about climate, the levers the State has to solve it, and what could make active and public transportation better. One of the things I’m most proud of working with him on came out of a meet up over soup at Tao Foods. We realized that addressing urban sprawl was an important missing component from the climate agenda. Thus the idea of baking climate planning into city comprehensive plans was born. It became law last session, in the transportation omnibus bill. You can see what we collaborated on in section 180.9 of the bill.

SWV: Why are you running for Rep. Hornstein’s seat?

KJ: I envision a just, resilient, and thriving Minnesota. It is within reach, but only if we tackle the hard problems like climate change, racial and gender injustice, inadequate housing, public safety, and distressed commercial nodes such as downtown and Uptown. As an engineer, I tackle tough challenges every day. As a leader, I want to build on the good work that has been done and fix what’s not working for our communities by listening and co-creating lasting solutions.

SWV: You have a background in climate change advocacy work and community organizing, as does Rep. Hornstein. What is something unique you would bring to the table as a Senate representative for 61A?

KJ: My lived experience gives me an urgency to address problems and that the way to do so is by expanding collaboration. I grew up in a rural area, pursued an education in a male-dominated field, and live in a diverse community in Lowry Hill East [otherwise known as The Wedge]. This blended with my technical know-how and construction experience will allow me to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle. I’ll bring the strong values of our district to the Capitol, the energy of a new generation, and a fresh approach to solve complex problems in our community.

More information about her campaign is available on her website.