ST. PAUL, MINN. – The Bush Foundation has announced that Senator Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) has been selected for the prestigious Bush Fellowship program. The 60-year-old program invests in “great ideas and the people who power them.” Each year the Bush Foundation selects leaders who have already demonstrated great gifts and could benefit from intensive development through self-designed or academic programs – and who are committed to bettering a specific region.
Senator Reinert, utilizing his experiences as both a college civics teacher and an elected official has designed a two-year program that will work with civic education partners like Citizens League and focus on the topic of civic skills. His goal with the Bush Fellowship is to develop a core set of civic skills that a broad cross-section of citizens should have, and feel competent in using. His proposal is modeled after the very successful “Speak Your Peace” initiative begun a few years ago by the Duluth Superior Community Foundation.
“Repeatedly I have had people tell me they don’t feel qualified to be engaged in the civic process. When the highest office in the land is “citizen,” that’s concerning. My project will develop a core set of civic skills necessary for citizens to effectively engage in our democracy,” Senator Reinert said. He also intends to connect individuals who feel they need to acquire or further develop a particular civic skill with the groups and organizations involved in civic education.
In accepting the Fellowship, Senator Reinert specifically referenced the Duluth Superior Community Foundation as a source of inspiration. “I would also like to thank the DSCF and the ‘Speak Your Peace’ campaign for inspiring me, and showing me how a civics and civility effort can make a tangible difference in communities.”
Reinert was President of the Duluth City Council when they adopted the “Rules of Civility,” and repeatedly credits “Speak Your Peace” for helping improve public discourse.
Other Bush Fellow projects include tackling racism in Minneapolis communities, providing free and accessible arts education to Twin Cities children, and developing programs to meet specific needs of post-9/11 combat veterans.
The Bush Foundation was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth. The foundation encourages bigger thinking in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area.