By Ingrid Ferlo –
Jeremiah Ellison ventured into politics to improve the lives of the people of Minneapolis’ 5th Ward.
His vision has been influenced from living in the community and communicating with the people on a daily basis. Ellison shared his philosophy, inspirations and campaign platform a couple of weeks ago on the weekly radio show “Conversations with Al McFarlane.” The show airs live on Tuesday mornings at 9 a.m. on 90.3 FM and reaches audiences globally on www.kfai.org.
Ellison said his platform consist of three major points – safety/policing, wealth creation and environmental justice.
The candidate said police accountability is a top priority. He said tactics used to supposedly combat gang violence in the community have been wrongly used by police. He acknowledged that gang violence and youth trauma are issues that need attention in the Northside, but said community safety should not be used to justify unreasonable tactics and said trust has been broken between the community and the police.
“I think that trust is, to say the least, very shaky” said Ellison.
On the environment, especially addressing poor air quality, Ellison said he seeks to collaborate with the county and state authorities to improve the community he wants to serve.
Ellison also discussed at length the obstacles he has observed as a candidate during his campaigning.
“One of the things that really struck me after having worked in some campaigns is that the municipal turnout is very low,” said Ellison, who said he does not believe that the turnout is low because people are disinterested in politics, but because politicians do not appeal to their needs.
The candidate said low turnout in the African-American community at the polls allows political victories for some candidates who do not represent their best interest. He also said there is a lack of information when it comes to governance.
“One of the most common questions I am asked after deciding to run is not about our policy, but what does a city council person do” said Ellison, reflecting on the failure of politicians to educate the public on the relationship between government and the people. He said that he has taken it as a personal responsibility to start that conversation.
When it comes to running as an incoming candidate against an incumbent, Ellison said it will be a “tough battle” but promised he is willing to work hard to reach out to the people and spread his message.
Show host Al McFarlane asked Ellison how ranked-choice voting affects Black political leaders in the community. Ellison said split votes are less likely to happen if candidates run positive campaigns. He believes that voter power has increased under the model of instant run-off voting provided that candidates keep the betterment of the community in focus and not a personal agenda.