Al McFarlane and B.P. Ford, the Editors
Affordable housing advocate and community activist Jeff Hayden announced his candidacy Wednesday for the Minnesota State House's vacant seat in District 61B, pledging to bring experience and smarts to the State Capitol. Farheen Hakeem also announced she will be a candidate for the 61B Legislative District seat. She said she will seek endorsement from the Green Party, with the intent of representing that party in the General Election in November.
Pictured: Farheen Hakeem
Farheen Hakeem also announced she will be a candidate for the 61B Legislative District seat. She said she will seek endorsement from the Green Party, with the intent of representing that party in the General Election in November.
Hakeem, who has lived in Minneapolis since 1999 says she joined the anti-war movement following September 11, 2001, in part because of "poor decisions that our government was making." Working as a teacher, she said, she saw local resources being drained while corporate interests were being expanded.
In 2005 Hakeem ran for the office of Mayor of Minneapolis. She was the first mayoral candidate endorsed by the Green Party and secured 14% of the primary vote.
When she later ran for Hennepin County Commissioner, District 4, she won almost 17,000 votes, for 33% of the general vote against a long term Democratic Party incumbent.
Farheen has lived in 61B Legislative district for 8 years. She has served as the Lead Community Coordinator for the Muslim Girls Initiative for the Girl Scout Council of Greater Minneapolis and is currently, a Policy Advocate for Grasstops Inc. and a Program Manager for Minnesota Adoption Resources Network.
Born to immigrant parents who were small business owners and raised with her two brothers on the north side of Chicago, Hakeem graduated from public high school and holds a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Oberlin College. She is also a foster parent and continues to volunteer as a Girl Scout Leader.
"As State Representative, I will introduce proactive comprehensive youth policy so that youth are on their way to being active members of society. Those steps include investing in early childhood programs, offering opportunities in supplemental education to our youth, increasing community involvement with our youth at schools, and an increase in before-school, after-school and during-school programming," Hakeem said.
"From my first-hand experience working with homeless families, finding solutions to homelessness — and preventing it — is among my core values. I was actively involved in this issue as a board member of the Minnesota Coalition for Homelessness, and practiced it as a Hennepin County funded Rapid Exit worker," she said.
"To end homelessness we must respond rather to these root causes: unemployment, addiction, and mental illness. We need to be developing pro-active solutions to these underlying problems. In the course of the past 20 years we have spent hundreds of millions of dollars responding to homeless people on the street. Yet many services have been astonishingly slow in prioritizing homelessness prevention," she said.
We need to focus on strategies and systems that offer support rather than punishment. We need more treatment facilities for addiction recovery and mental health services, not more prisons. We need more outreach. We also need to focus on cultural competencies in our dealing with the problem of homelessness," she said.