NRP Policy Board Candidates at a Glance

Sean Wherley

Occupation: Environmental Policy
Address: 4300 Grand Ave. S. (55409)
Neighborhood of Residence: Kingfield
Years in Neighborhood: 2.5 years
Years in Minneapolis: 7 years
Phone: 612-825-4952

  1. How have your life experiences prepared you to be a neighborhood representative?
    Serving as a neighborhood representative means listening to people and advocating on their behalf. I learned the importance of such %91constituent service' by watching several public officials for whom I worked, either as a paid staff member or volunteer. In addition, I am a passionate person who is comfortable expressing a minority voice, particularly when defending something as worthy as NRP. I am an activist, having gained such experience working on behalf of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender rights, the environment, and progressive candidates running for office. This experience and dedication would continue as a representative on the NRP Policy Board.

  2. What do you consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of the NRP?
    NRP's main strength is its ability to involve and empower neighborhood residents. The program has engaged hundreds, if not thousands, of people by providing them a forum in which they chart the course for their neighborhoods. Few cities have such a progressive system, which allows people to spend public funds and directly impact the quality of their neighborhoods.

    NRP's weakness is the lack of guaranteed funding. This is not the result of people directly involved in NRP; rather it is that of public officials who consider NRP a ripe target for balancing the city's budget deficit.

  3. How have you participated in your neighborhood organization and its NRP process?
    I served on the board of the Seward Neighborhood Group for seven months in 1997-1998, before moving out of the state. I returned to Minneapolis in 2001, and have served on the board of the Kingfield Neighborhood Association since May 2002. In Kingfield, I chair the neighborhood's NRP Committee, edit and write its quarterly newsletter, lead fundraising efforts, and organized the neighborhood's annual festival in August 2003.

  4. How do you plan to maintain a relationship with the neighborhoods you would represent if elected?
    I intend to send monthly updates by e-mail to executive directors, neighborhood board members, and other community residents for which I have e-mail addresses. I currently do this as the Kingfield neighborhood representative for the 35W Project Advisory Committee. I would also make myself available to speak to any neighborhood organization.

  5. Name one thing you would like to work on if elected.
    My primary project would be bolstering funding for, and prolonging the life of, NRP. The program's second phase is scheduled to endure massive cuts before it ends in 2009. I want NRP to continue as a fully funded program at least until 2010, as was the original intent when conceived in 1990.

  6. Why are you running for a neighborhood representative seat on the Policy Board?
    I am running for a seat on the Policy Board because NRP needs an outspoken community advocate. The mayor and city council are planning to balance the city's budget in part by cutting funding to NRP. As a passionate defender of NRP, I will work to counter such efforts and preserve NRP as a viable program not just through 2009, but beyond. When funding to NRP ceases, so too will the forum for people to influence the future of our neighborhoods.

  7. Please list any community-based organizations with which you are currently involved.
    • Serve as a neighborhood representative on the 35W Project Advisory Committee;
    • Serve as a board member of the Kingfield Neighborhood Association; and
    • Serve as an officer of Speak Up and Out Toastmasters, a public speaking group.

  8. Please list all current paid and unpaid affiliations.
    Work full-time for Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, a non-profit, environmental group in Minneapolis.