Living our shared values.
My name is Sara Freeman and I'm running for the Minnesota House in District 61B. I'm a 4th generation Minnesotan and grew up in a small town near Rochester. I've spent the last 18 years working in various roles in the healthcare industry, including as a Product Manager, Director of Investor Relations, and Vice President in the Investment Banking Division of two banks on Wall Street. For the past 5 years I've owned my own consulting business, working with clients in the healthcare industry on corporate strategy and business development efforts. My husband and I have lived in the district for almost 8 years. We have three children, and our two oldest attend Burroughs Community School, where I'm a frequent volunteer in their classrooms. I'm also a math and reading tutor at Burroughs, working with students who need extra time and help to meet grade level standards. When I first signed up to be a volunteer at Burroughs there was a wait list (!) and I immediately recognized my kids' privilege and my own – Burroughs is a public school in a high-wealth area, with lots of resources both in the school and in the community. So almost 2 years ago I started a finance club at Minneapolis North High School, aimed at increasing financial literacy, and creating space for students to make informed financial decisions. We study the stock market and talk about ways to build savings and wealth. I’m inspired by the students’ grit and hard work, and their generosity and kindness to my children, who often attend North events with me. Last year the club raised nearly $20,000 and 18 of us went on a "field trip" to New York City. It was an amazing experience and we'll be kicking off another fundraising campaign in January to support 2018's trip.
My work in these two different public schools, in two different communities in Minneapolis has given me a unique perspective on the challenges facing our schools and students. Every week I see what the opportunity gap looks like, in elementary school and in high school; I recognize the nuanced reasons it exists in the first place, and see examples of what works – and what doesn't – to address and close it. I see how decisions made at the district and the State Capitol impact these two schools and their communities – too often in disparate ways. And I know we can do better.
In addition to my work in our public schools, I'm also a volunteer and Chair of the Board at the Domestic Abuse Project, a local non-profit. DAP provides trauma-informed therapy to perpetrators and victims of domestic violence, and children who witness or experience abuse in their homes. 6 years ago I started DAP’s “Family Holiday Program” and still lead it each year. The program’s intention was to help relieve the stress and financial burden the holiday season can pose to low-wealth families. This year’s DAP’s Family Holiday Program will offer support to 38 families.
In addition to my volunteer and advocacy work, I'm a small business owner and a Sunday School teacher at our church. My investment in and service to our community – the whole community – runs deep.
I also talk openly about being a survivor of rape and gun violence, and living with post-traumatic-stress resulting from my attack. I hope my candor empowers other survivors, and helps to de-stigmatize conversations around sexual violence and mental health concerns.
I'm running because we need more survivors at the State Capitol, leading discussions about how violence impacts our communities and how systems meant to protect and defend victims, too often end up re-victimizing us instead. I'm running because we need more public school parents at the State Capitol – people with real "skin in the game", who can advocate for our students and their teachers at a time of unprecedented budget deficits. And I'm running because we deserve elected officials with a commitment to and track record of public service.
You’ll notice that I didn't have to talk about my commitment to equity and inclusiveness, or my desire to fight for economic justice – because I live my progressive values every day and work intentionally to put my values in action. There wasn't a seat for me at the table of power, so I set my own table and invited others who've been excluded to join me. And that's the type of State Representative I'll be too, for all of us.