Yesterday, the Saint Paul City Council named December 13, 2023 ‘Jeanne Weigum Day.’
ANSR staff, board members, community partners and friends filled the Council Chambers to celebrate Jeanne’s decades-long dedication to Saint Paul’s public health, neighborhoods and community.
The resolution highlights many of Jeanne’s commercial tobacco prevention policy achievements in Saint Paul over the past five decades, including banning smoking at bars and restaurants, restricting menthol-flavored products and, most recently, prohibiting smoking in city parks.
Jeanne’s reach in the local community extends far beyond the commercial tobacco prevention sphere. The resolution honors her work as former president of the Friends of the Parks and Trails of Saint Paul and Ramsey County, as founder of the pet rescue and adoption nonprofit Pooches United With People (PUP), as a staunch opponent of billboards with the grassroots movement Scenic Saint Paul and as a community gardener in Saint Paul and her hometown of Mobridge, South Dakota.
After Council President Brendmoen read the resolution, Jeanne shared about the many “roots” that keep her in Saint Paul. She also reflected on just how much the city has advanced over the past 50 years thanks to community organizers and councils past and present.
In true Jeanne fashion, her speech was both a statement of gratitude and a call to action for the Council. “The majority of the Council is leaving, but I’m not,” she said, meaning her advocacy work is far from over. Jeanne urged the Council to consider the negative ramifications of disposable e-cigarettes and a proposed digital billboard at I-94 and 280. She also reminded them about Nicotine-Free Generation policy, outfit change and all.
Several councilmembers shared kind words about Jeanne after her remarks. Councilmember Noecker called Jeanne a “visionary,” saying “I think that so many advocates and organizers can learn so much from your example.”
“There’s so much that you’ve done in this community, and I just want to say I am truly grateful for you as a citizen, as an advocate and as a friend,” said Councilmember Tolbert. “I look forward to the thing that you’re up to next.”
Right after Jeanne’s recognition, the Council voted unanimously to remove tobacco vending machine licenses, reduce the number of Tobacco Shop licenses from 150 to 100 and reduce the number of Tobacco Product Shop licenses from 25 to 15. These actions will help reduce the availability of commercial tobacco and nicotine products within the city.
Supporters gathered outside of the Chambers for photos, desserts and refreshments after the meeting. Thank you to all who came to celebrate Jeanne on this special day.