Now is not the time to stand down.
More to the point, there is never a time to stand down. But now, with all that we have seen politically and culturally within the past year, we as citizens must hold ourselves accountable and exercise in our duty – not our right, but our duty – and vote in the Nov. 7 general election.
Though no federal or state races are on the ballot, there are several races of great importance affecting policy; and ultimately the lives of the citizens of Minneapolis, St. Paul and the many surrounding suburbs. With mayoral races in Minneapolis and St. Paul, city council races in Minneapolis and various Twin Cities suburbs, multiple school board races and seats up for grabs with the Minneapolis Parks Board, there is ample reason for voters to take part and engage.
Having examined the issues and platforms of the dozens of candidates seeking office, Insight News has decided to endorse in several key races. In garnering our endorsement, we feel these candidates have the best vision for advancing equality and economic parody, addressing justice inequality and positioning the region toward one that values diversity and prosperity for all its inhabitants.
Melvin Carter, mayor – St. Paul
For reasons detailed in our page 2 feature, Insight News has chosen to endorse Melvin Carter for mayor of St. Paul. Conspicuously missing from that endorsement is the fact that if elected, Carter would become the first African-American mayor of the city. Insight News thoughtfully chose to endorse Carter because of his past accomplishments and future vision, not because of his ethnicity. Simply put, Carter is the best and most equipped candidate in the race for St. Paul mayor.
Jeremiah Ellison, Minneapolis City Council, Ward 5
Insight News endorses Jeremiah Ellison for Minneapolis City Council, Ward 5. Ellison has the vision to revitalize North Minneapolis and as a coalition builder, he will be able to carry out his stated goals of police reform, affordable housing, business revitalization and environmental justice. Incumbent Blong Yang has been at odds with many in his ward, especially following the killing of unarmed Jamar Clark by Minneapolis Police. Yang’s votes against a $15 minimum wage, against funding for the office of Diversity and Inclusion and against funding for language services for Hmong and Somali residents do not mesh with the core values of the residents of the 5th Ward and Minneapolis as a whole.
Residents of the 5th Ward in Minneapolis are lucky to have two qualified candidates running to unseat Yang, in Ellison and Raeisha Willams. With Rank Choice Voting, we endorse Williams as a second-choice vote.
Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis City Council, Ward 8
Andrea Jenkins is the clear choice to serve as Minneapolis’ Ward 8 councilperson. Jenkins knows City Hall well, having served as a policy aide to former councilmember Robert Lilligren and outgoing Ward 8 councilperson, Elizabeth Glidden. Jenkins, an advocate for all people, was recognized by former president Barack Obama for her work on behalf of the LGBT community. Proving she has the courage to lead, residents of the city’s 8th Ward would be well-served with Jenkins in City Hall.
Stephanie Gasca, Minneapolis City Council, Ward 4
If we are going to prosper as a community, and therefore as a whole, we must address the root causes of gun violence that has torn apart too many lives. A Protect MN board member – a group dedicated to combating gun violence and seeking sensible solutions to the growing gun problem in America – Stephanie Gasca is working to keep our community safe. A 2014 Wellstone fellow, Gasca’s platform is one of police accountability as well. A friend of labor, Gasca supports living wage increases and increased safety measures for workers.
As a second choice under the Rank Choice Voting system, we endorse Phillipe Cunningham.
Teqen Zea-Aida, Minneapolis City Council, Ward 7
According to the special interest group, Minneapolis Works!, the city council is too progressive. Maybe that’s why the group that is less than a year old is throwing its money at Ward 7 incumbent, Lisa Goodman. We don’t believe the council is progressive enough. Teqen Zea-Aida can change that. Zea-Aida, an artist and entrepreneur of African and Latin descent, is a new-comer to politics, which is what the city and downtown 7th Ward needs. Goodman’s held the seat for 20 years, and within that time there has been little opportunity for businesses of color in her ward and people of color have faced continued harassment by police in the downtown entertainment district. We feel Zea-Aida can reverse this disturbing reality.
Alondra Cano, Minneapolis City Council, Ward 9
Few elected officials stood with the protesters during the occupation of the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct following the killing of Jamar Clark. Alondra Cano was one of them. Though the killing did not happen in her ward, Cano decided that ward boundaries were obsolete when it comes to standing up and speaking out against police brutality. Cano has proven to be a progressive leader within the council and one who is committed to issues of fairness and equality.
AK Hassan, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, District 3
AK Hassan wasted little time involving himself in community here in Minneapolis. Born in Somalia and raised in Kenya, Hassan moved to Minneapolis in 2008. In that short time, Hassan, who has secured the endorsements of several Minnesota representatives, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-60B), multiple Minneapolis City Council members, labor groups and others. Hassan is the chair of the DFL Somali Caucus as well as the chair of the Ventura Village Neighborhood Association.
Dave Colling, St. Anthony City Council
The killing of Philando Castile and subsequent acquittal of Jeronimo Yanez, the former St. Anthony officer who killed him, was reason enough for Dave Collings to enter the political arena as a candidate. Even prior to the killing of Castile, Colling was dismayed with what he believes is the council’s ambivalence towards issues affecting people of color and people of a lower economic stature. Colling, who managed Rep. Keith Ellison’s first campaign for the U.S. House, cites the council’s decision to side with a developer rather than the residents, when earlier this year a mobile home park was forced out of the city to make way for middle and upper-middle class housing.
St. Anthony needs new, progressive voices on the council … voices such as Colling.