Shirley’s 25 Years in St. Paul:
When my husband and I moved our family to Ward 4 twenty years ago, we quickly realized we had landed in a terrific neighborhood. Our youngest was two years old and our oldest was seven. There were 30 kids on our block. I helped organize our community block party as well as organized and hosted a progressive dinner for our neighborhood for many years. We put a bench on our boulevard and planted our front yard with native plants for pollinators. Over the past two decades, our front yard has become a gathering place, especially in the fall when the monarch butterflies are migrating and we’ve had a record 50 monarchs at once. We have two Little Free Libraries, one for everyone and one for kids. Last fall, when part of our yard needed to be dug up, I held a “Walking Garden Party” for neighbors to move plants to their yards and out of the way of the heavy equipment. These community-building experiences have helped foster a sense of belonging and connection between me, my family, and our neighbors. That’s one of the things I love best about St. Paul.
From a leadership standpoint, when I learned that our City’s Planning Commission had nine vacancies and no representation from Ward 4 while decisions were being made related to the soccer stadium, I took action. Together with other community activists, we organized and worked for 18 months alongside then-Mayor Chris Coleman and two City Council Members to fill out Saint Paul’s 30 boards and commissions with ethnically diverse and geographically representative appointments. When he left office, Mayor Coleman highlighted these appointments as one of his proudest accomplishments.
I worked alongside City of Saint Paul leaders, staff and other stakeholders to revise the city’s Parkland Dedication Ordinance. I helped write the resolution and amendments to the adopted policy and lobbied my position.
I wrote policy briefings and letters and testified before the Administrative Law Judge, as well as the Planning Commission and the City Council regarding the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area that is the National Park in Ward 4 and greater St. Paul. I activated current and past elected officials at all levels of government for this work, including national leaders.
I have been an active participant at both the Ramsey County Parks and Recreation Commission and the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Commission. Both have jurisdiction within the City of St. Paul.
I have been elected to the Union Park District Council Board of Directors three times and have served on the Executive Committee and the Environment and Parks Committee.
I have lived in Saint Paul for 25 years, raised my family here, and built my career making our city a welcoming, livable space for every person and family, regardless of background. Through a number of leadership roles within St. Paul, I have a strong understanding of how systems work and who the stakeholders are, and have built relationships within city government and the community. Please support my campaign to become the next Ward 4 City Council Member!