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4 min read

Voters of Habitat - Part 1

Voters of Habitat - Part 1

With the election coming up on November 3, we asked Twin Cities Habitat volunteers, homeowners, and staff for their reflections on why voting is important, how they bring their values to the polls, and what it means to them to Vote for Home. Some of their responses are below, and stay tuned to hear from more Voters of Habitat in Part 2 of our series.

Seven tall and thin images placed horizontally next to each other to form a banner. In each image is a photo of one of the featured voters. From left to right: Sharon Mason, Buffy Moore, Jim Mulrooney, Polina Montes de Oca, Chris Coleman, Mari Ojeda, Adrienne Aarts.

Before we dive in, you should know that we've created a virtual Elections Resource Center for you, where you can:

  • Learn everything you need to know about voting
  • Sign our pledge to vote for home
  • Download your free Candidate Conversation Guide
  • And more!

Go to tchabitat.org/elections now and then be sure to share with your networks!

Sharon Mason, Volunteer

Sharon Mason, standing on concrete below the camera and looking up and smiling. Wearing a brown t-shirt, khaki shorts, work boots, gloves, a white hard hat, and glasses. She's holding a wooden beam.

“Voting allows me to determine the direction, leadership, and policy at all levels of government that affect my daily life and the lives of those around me. Put simply, I deliberately vote with a housing lens. When given a chance, I ask candidates about their views on housing issues. If the candidate is an incumbent, I am aware of which pieces of housing legislation they have supported or opposed and which committees they sit on to determine how receptive they are to housing needs and solutions. As I vote in 2020, I am emphasizing those who truly support advancing affordable and accessible homeownership. We should all be familiar with decades-long racial inequities in homeownership opportunities, and it's time to right those wrongs. Candidates who are knowledgeable about the stunning homeownership disparities and who are willing to legislate to bring about immediate, positive change are the candidates who receive my vote.”

Buffy Moore, Homeowner

Buffy Moore smiling with her mother in a hotel hallway. Buffy in a black shirt and tan pants with a beige Habitat bag and nametag, plus a gold necklace and earrings. Her mother in a blue lace dress, red shawl, blue headwrap, nametag on a lanyard, and silver necklace, earrings and bracelets.Buffy (right) with her mother.

“I vote. Not just for myself but for the ones I love. I vote for the values that are important to me. I vote for equality and to fight injustices. I vote because as a black woman there was a time I couldn't have voted. I now have that right, and I'll never take it for granted. I believe safe, stable, and affordable housing is a right. Voting helps me raise my voice in support of that right. Voting helps me raise my voice in support of home. Voting makes my voice count.”

Jim Mulrooney, Campaign Council Member

Jim Mulrooney standing on a bridge and smiling, wearing a dark blue suit jacket with a yellow, red and blue plaid shirt.

“'Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.' I first heard this quote from Dwight Eisenhower in a Political Science course in college. I strive to live out this idea by educating and involving myself in our democratic system. The current pandemic has once again highlighted the importance of home. I am not a fan of mowing the yard, but I have never enjoyed having a lawn to mow more than this summer because of the space and safety it has offered me and my family. My hope is that through the pandemic and the increasing awareness of inequalities in our community, others will see that addressing the need of affordable housing and creating an equitable society is critical to preserving 'what is good and fruitful in our national heritage,' and not only vote, but make engaging in the civic process your part-time profession.”

Polina Montes de Oca, Community Relations Manager

Polina Montes de Oca outside in the snow and looking off into the distance, wearing a light gray hat and vest, darker gray gloves, a white cable knit sweater, and a purple and gray leopard-print scarf.

“I exercise my voice through voting. My vote has power in that through my vote, I decide who will be representing my values. My vote allows me to hold those who I vote into office accountable for prioritizing my community’s interests. My vote is a reminder that publicly elected officials work for us and at the end of the day have to respond to us. Voting for home means that I vote for public officials who advocate for quality, equitable, and affordable housing for all our community members. I look at the track record of candidates to know if a candidate advocates for these issues.”

Chris Coleman, President & CEO

Chris Coleman smiling and standing in front of blue text on a white wall that shows the TC Habitat mission statement. Wearing a dark suit with a light blue Habitat pin, white shirt, and peach tie with a small pattern on it..

“Democracy only works if people are participating in it. You can’t leave it up to somebody else to do your voting for you, so I vote to express my opinions about the direction that our city, or state, or country should be heading in. I need to support people that not only get that housing matters but that really understand why we have the level of crisis that we have and how we have gotten to the problem in the first place. It's about making sure people understand the racial inequality that is inherent in our current housing situation in Minnesota. I want to have someone that understands that to be successful, we have to be focused in on all areas of affordable housing, including homeownership.”

Mari Ojeda, Project Manager

Mari Ojeda smiling and standing in front of an orange background while holding a clipboard in one hand. She's wearing glasses, earrings and a necklace with two small bracelets, an orange TC Habitat shirt, and dark pants. In her other hand she holds a pen, and a nametag is clipped to her left hip.

“It’s my duty as a citizen of this country to vote and be an active participant in society. Many places in the world don’t give people the freedom to vote, and I never want to take such a freedom for granted. I research every candidate’s profile and platform, especially their experience and how they have implemented such values in their professional and personal lives. I make sure the candidates I choose prioritize access to affordable and equitable housing within their platform and experience. I vote for folks who are active in the community and have a track record of making positive and equitable change.”

Adrienne Aarts, Leadership Giving Officer

Adrienne Aarts smiling against a wooden background, wearing a black, orange, and white button-up shirt, an "I Voted" sticker, a small gold necklace, and hoop earrings.

“I love voting. I get so excited on Election Day to exercise my right to vote – whether that is in a primary, general, or special election. I believe it is a privilege to use my voice as a tool in our democratic process, and there is power in my vote. I will miss voting in person this year, but because of COVID-19, I have already filled out and mailed back my ballot for the election on November 3. Plus, it was so easy to request my ballot and follow its status online. 2020 is my first year voting as a mom, so I have my daughter, Isabel, in mind as I vote this year. She will turn one year old 3 days after the election, and I want to make sure that my vote helps ensure positive changes for her future through issues like affordable housing, quality education and healthcare, and so much more. Not everyone has the privilege to vote, and I am proud to make my voice heard for my family and my community.”

You can join Sharon, Buffy, Jim, Polina, Chris, Mari, and Adrienne in bringing your values to the polls this election. Sign our pledge to Vote for Home today!

Pledge to Vote for Home

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