By Nadvia Davis –
DFL contenders for the 5th Ward Minneapolis City Council seat gathered in the auditorium at Minneapolis’ North Community High School with one goal in mind – to seek the party’s endorsement and it was political newcomer Jeremiah Ellison who garnered the DFL endorsement.
With the help of delegates and volunteers tabling with campaign materials, three candidates shared why they deserved to be endorsed with a ten-minute speech. The three candidates were incumbent Blong Yang, Ellison and Cathy Spann. Raeisha Williams is also seeking the seat, but announced last month that she would not seek the party endorsement.
Nearly 200 delegates filled the auditorium during Saturday (April 22) morning’s convention. Among the delegates were Sen. Bobby Joe Champion and U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district and Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Keith Ellison.
“This is really their (delegates) opportunity to have their voices heard early in the process so that is plays out later in the process,” said Champion.
Toward the latter part of the convention, the three candidates waited anxiously to share their connection to the community and prove why they deserved the endorsement. Jeremiah Ellison, got the delegates stirred up during his speech by identifying as a “Northsider” himself.
“I was raised in this community. I will fight for and with you. I know the pain of violence that our loved ones have received in this neighborhood –sometimes from shots fired by youth in our neighborhood without clear reason. Sometimes by those sworn to protect us,” said Jeremiah Ellison.
Spann spoke about her experience as the current executive director of the Jordan Area Community Council.
“I have been working in the community for 20 years and I have been bringing it. I’ve helped create ESL (English as Second Language) classes for the East African community in the Jordan neighborhood to partnering with Habitat for Humanity. I believe in small businesses, so we’ve created the 11-week entrepreneurial training program. I have hired STEP UP youth in my office every single summer for the last five years,” said Spann.
The veteran in the race, Yang said despite the negative stigma placed on North Minneapolis, the ward is a quality place to live.
“We deserve a Northside that has the same amenities as anywhere else. That is as safe as anywhere else and that is as opportunity rich as anywhere else,” said Yang.
Following a question and answer with the three candidates, the convention concluded with Jeremiah Ellison winning the majority delegate votes and gaining the endorsement.