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Volume 7, Issue 1 - Spring 2021

Letter from the Editors

By Evan A. Davis

Welcome Readers -

It is with great excitement that I present the seventh annual publication of the Humphrey Public Affairs Review. Since its inception in 2013, the review has continued to serve as an outlet for students to participate in the peer review process and hone their academic writing skills. In addition to producing this annual publication, the editorial board has worked diligently to maintain a timely policy blog, enhance our digital publication presence, and streamline the editorial process. I am eager to see how future editorial boards will continue to shape the Humphrey Public Affairs Review and further establish it as an integral part of the Humphrey community.

This year has asked many questions. The global COVID-19 pandemic asked us to reimagine how we move through public space and how we interact with our neighbors and communities. The Minneapolis Uprising in response to the police murder of George Floyd sparked an international civil rights movement and reasserted the tragic question: how can we move toward racial justice when Black individuals and communities continue to deal with inequality and systemic racism? We saw fundamental challenges to the integrity of the U.S. democratic process, which forced us to reckon with the consequences of demagogic political rhetoric in the form of the January 6th storming of the Capitol building.

Volume 7, Issue 1 - Spring 2021.pdf

It has undoubtedly been a disruptive, calamitous, and harrowing year. But it has also been collaborative, transformative, and inspiring. The pieces in this volume of HPAR address some of these questions, and the authors grapple with the ambivalent nature of the past year. The authors offer both summarized arguments and original insights into some of the most pressing policy dilemmas of our time. What strikes me is the interconnectedness of these issues. For instance, one author centers Section 8 housing reform as a rectificatory path toward racial justice. Meanwhile, another author links exploitive prison labor programs to affordable housing policy frameworks. Reading these pieces in tandem indicates that we cannot address complex policy issues in isolation.

Furthermore, the authors approach issues from distinct geographic, topical, and disciplinary scopes which allows us to see policy issues from multiple perspectives. For example, we see the international application of doughnut economics and the implementation of local urban farming as two unique ways to promote sustainable development. One author offers a policy argument for regulating environmentally disruptive pesticides, while others visualize the prospects of nuclear energy as a carbon-free option in the U.S. The authors provide their perspectives and raise questions that should continue to inform a rigorous and robust policy discourse at the Humphrey school.

My hope is that readers engage meaningfully with the articles and the arguments put forward by the authors. This publication is meant to be the start of a conversation and part of a broader interdisciplinary policy dialogue. Thus, on behalf of the editorial board I hope you enjoy this publication and I encourage you to continue to participate with the Humphrey Public Affairs Review .