Candidate profile | Kim Sin
What do you see as the greatest challenge facing Rochester at this moment? If elected, what specific position(s) would you take to address the issue?
Housing in Rochester must be addressed beyond just an “affordable housing” situation. This phrase, “affordable housing” is ill-defined and complex. Even when “affordable housing” solutions are offered, it seems the home rent or mortgage is well above 30 percent of the wages of the individual. Residents from all economic levels need housing for financial situation and stage of life. From downsizing “boomers” to growing families, housing needs. I recommend using the phrase: “housing for all.” We need housing for seniors on fixed incomes, single parents raising children, college students, first-time homeowners and minimum-wage workers. By shifting the phase, we shift our focus — “affordable housing” is not just for individuals with lower incomes. This is why I support “housing for all.”
Tell us one decision made by the city over the past two years that you disagree with. What would you like to see done differently?
One thing that I really disagree with the city council decision over the past two year is how the city council decision on the usage of tax increment financing (TIF) on affordable housing. I think the process need a clear direction of the meaning “affordable” before the city council allocates TIF for affordable housing. It’s important that we focus on the workforce because they are the one that also drive our economy as well.
The city is experiencing an economic boom. Still, many residents and business owners remain concerned about affordability. How would you work to ensure the city's growth is managed responsibly?
Our city must work for everyone in providing affordable housing near accessible transportation serving all work shifts to jobs providing living wages. Rochester’s economic growth is fueled by mindful, continuous promotion of local education opportunities. Once I received my AA at RCTC, I found a living wage position; however, as I finished my BA at Winona State University, I could advance to my current position at UM-Rochester. Promoting educational pathways increases employability for both Rochester citizens and the thousands of others living in surrounding communities who help promote Rochester’s growth. Federal and state funding currently promotes workforce development, but our city council ensures transportation, housing and basic jobs are options for folks, like me, who need that educational opportunity to advance.
Some cities have decided to take the lead on issues such as minimum wage and paid leave. Do you feel Rochester should be doing the same, or are these issues best left to the state and federal levels?
According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, it has stated in order for a person living in Olmsted County [they] will need to earn $15 an hour. We all need to consider the cost of living in Rochester has got up tremendously and it’s hard for a person making minimum wage right now. I would support the livable wages base on incremental approach toward the $15 an hour.
The city council is responsible for oversight of the largest public-private partnership in Minnesota history. What criteria would you like to see applied to developers seeking public assistance?
As a city councilor, I would address a fair and accessible housing as a primary concern by first, ensuring that all new housing developments include affordable housing, second, placing limitations on tax increment financing breaks for projects that don’t include affordable housing, and third, providing tax credits/incentives to landlords who do not increase rent.
We need a city that works for everyone — no one should have to move outside Rochester just to find a home. A forward focus on living and working in an inclusive Rochester requires we help individuals now, so that we continue to grow a successful community in the future.
Destination Medical Center is focused on a relatively small chunk of the city. What initiatives or policies could be adopted to strengthen our neighborhoods outside the downtown?
DMC should focus upon alleviating our city transportation needs. The workforce shortage we’ll face requires we prepare for more workers to share the limited parking spaces and contribute to increased traffic. DMC could help cut travel costs. MIT’s “living wage calculator” asserts that a person living in Rochester spends $4,173/year on transportation. I want to cut living costs for our Rochester community. If we offer fare-free bus transportation for working people to get to work, this will help residents reduce that expense. Additionally, by increasing our bus routes, we can offer better service to more individuals in our community.
As you have been campaigning this summer, what have you been hearing from residents in your ward? Tell us how you would work to address at least one issue specifically affecting your ward.
Over the summer as I have been campaigning, I mostly hear residents expressing their concerns on the housing crisis as it is hard to find a house that is affordable. They say it’s harder for their son and daughter to buy a house because it’s not affordable. Some had their son and daughter living with them until they can save enough money. Transportation is another concerned that I also hear as we have people moving from larger cities that their transportation system ran really late and start early. They say they bus routes are very limited and far from where they live. We need a transportation that works for all people living and working in our city.
What else should voters know about you?
The reason I’m running for city council is I am connected to many different people. First of all, I have 22 years of experience working in this community. Secondly, I wanted to create a welcoming community for all. Lastly, I understand people of all trades.
If you ask people about me, most say that I am very approachable. I can easily be connected; most importantly, I understand people's issues and concerns. When an issue arises, I will analyze the situation to ensure that my decision doesn’t cause any hardship to everyone living in this community.
One thing that I can bring to the city council is to challenge other council members to think outside the box. I know and understand that every decision that I will be making will have an impact on people lives either in a positive or a negative ways. It’s important that my voice represents everyone. As a city council member, I want to ensure that everyone has a safe place to live, a reliable way to work, and livable wages.
Primary elections are on Tuesday, August 14. You can use your address to view a sample ballot on the Minnesota Secretary of State's website.