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It is time for civility and greater acceptance of our differences

Let’s do our best to find ways to work together, respect one another and move forward.

Here in Minnesota and across the country, we’ve been overwhelmed by the distressing behavior related to the pandemic, civil unrest in our cities, and the recent election cycle. And the divisiveness doesn’t stop there. The tone and tenor surrounding large infrastructure development in Minnesota like the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project reflects an unwillingness to accept an outcome after a project has jumped through every possible hoop.

When the process has been followed, the results should be accepted, just like the election results. The opportunity cost is simply too great. Minnesotans should embrace projects that have cleared every regulatory hurdle outlined by law, and have an expansive scientific record to back up every permit issued. When projects prove they meet those strict regulatory and environmental standards, we can’t close off Minnesota from private investment like Line 3, especially in a down economy.

For the past three years, Jobs for Minnesotans has been working with labor, businesses, organizations and concerned Minnesotans on ways to provide a safe, respectful environment for everyone during the planning, permitting and construction of infrastructure projects in Minnesota. We’ve had many conversations about how best to work with impacted communities and cultures. It has resulted in a movement we are proud to support called Respect Minnesota, which aims to foster respect among all connected to the Line 3 Replacement Project. 

Respect Minnesota is centered on a pledge to honor freedom of speech, differences of opinion, personal safety, cultural heritage, our natural environment, community and history. The pledge calls on us to listen, be inclusive, respect different ideas, cultures and personal history. It is a commitment that holds everyone to the same standard for their words and actions and encourages respectful choices. Already nearly 3,700 people who live and work in Minnesota have taken the pledge. We need to start communicating in ways that strengthen us, not separate us.

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Our coalition represents businesses, labor organizations and communities across the state, including the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council, more than 55,000 union workers, 2,300 companies and 500,000 employees. Our members have also committed to Respect Minnesota and committed to unify instead of continuing to divide our communities.

Let’s do our best to find ways to work together, respect one another and move forward. Learn more and consider taking the pledge at respectminnesota.org.

Nancy Norr is the Board Chair of Jobs for Minnesotans.