Did Not Respond
Party Affiliation Democratic Farmer-Labor
Communities can learn a lot about candidates from the ways they show up in their city and neighborhoods when the attention isn’t on them. What is one non-performative action you’re proud of that you’ve taken in support of the citizens you represent (or hope to represent)?
I’ve spent my professional career in service to the neighborhood and residents I represent. As a tenant advocate the people in Ward 6 have seen my work in support of renters, immigrants, and the elderly. It’s come through in my office in the work we do on behalf of renters and immigrants who contact us. Even if I can’t give them the service they need, there is nothing more important I can do than making sure they are personally connected to the resources they need in community and empowered to live their lives.
How will you keep young Black and brown kids safe — those who are simultaneously the most at risk from gun violence but also most at risk during interactions with the police? What do you believe are best practices for solving these issues in tandem, and how will you involve the communities most affected in problem solving and determining next steps?
Productive engagement with our youth is one of the most constant concerns I have heard from residents. We need to support youth employment, outreach, and activities with more city dollars. I was happy to support along with my colleagues a substantial investment in youth employment programs this year and we have to keep building on that. It’s got to be culturally specific, engaging, and in so many ways driven by our youth and what they tell us they need.
There are numerous issues that come together around young people and guns. So, after doing our best to make sure that youth have productive and positive opportunities we need to tackle many of the negative draws they face. It’s been an honor to support work to stop addiction and the influence of opiates in our community. We must keep reinvigorating that and supporting breaking people and families out of cycles of addiction and violence.
The city finally has a role to work to get weapons and violent criminals off the street. We have to get to the right balance of community investments in health, welfare, and opportunity, with obviously necessary law enforcement functions. After those offenders interact with the police and the justice system it is important to make sure that we offer them resources like we have with GVI to get them out of the life.
People of color in Minneapolis are killed or otherwise harmed by law enforcement at disproportionately high rates, despite many attempts at reform over several election cycles. How do you intend to reshape a policing system that has been resistant to change, and slow to show meaningful strides toward equitable community outcomes?
We need to take every advantage to reform the police department and policing we can. The proposed public safety charter amendment is just one of those avenues. It will allow us to bring all of the public safety functions of the city, the Police, Fire Department, 911, Office of Violence Prevention and others under one umbrella so we can coordinate and direct responses to public safety issues much more intentionally.
The opportunity presented by being able to hire several hundred police officers to replace those that have left recently is probably the best chance at reforming a culture and identity in the Minneapolis Police Department that has been endemic for years. Those officers need to represent our communities, not view themselves as some righteous occupiers protecting us from ourselves. They need to respect all of the diversity in Minneapolis as the strength of the city and that we all deserve to be treated like fully formed human beings.
I have supported and will continue to support investment in alternatives to policing, which views this as a public health and safety issue. Mental health training and response in policing has been a priority of mine and will be a subject I continue to work on in the next term.
What are your stances on memorializing public spaces when our community is grieving, and/or demanding action through constitutionally-protected protests? What policies would you put in place or what organizations would you engage to ensure residents can do these things safely?
I support everyone’s 1st amendment right to protest, and in response to protests I feel like the city should take a light hand unless there is violence. We’ve seen it here, often simply letting a protest play out would have been far more positive to residents and less destructive to property than the escalation that comes with a heavy handed police response.
Rental assistance from the federal government has helped keep people in their homes through the pandemic. This funding is not permanent, however, and inability to pay is the leading cause of evictions. What is your stance on more permanent rental assistance, rent stabilization, and/or rent control measures in Minneapolis?
I support the rental stabilization charter amendment and look forward to studying rent stabilization proposals next term after it passes. It is important that we provide guardrails for renters to protect them from the percentage of local landlords who are exploitive. Rent stabilization is one tool in that toolbox and one that I think the city should explore fully.
I would want to know the financial impact of a permanent rental assistance fund and how that would impact the city’s ability to deliver necessary services, support affordable housing development, and the other services we deliver to renters.
Gentrification results in cultural loss for communities and major economic impacts for those priced out of their longtime neighborhoods. As our city grows, what plans do you have to combat gentrification and increase the amount of affordable housing available in Minneapolis?
We need to build more housing. More triplexes and fourplexes. More apartments. Rooming houses. All of them are parts of this solution. I have supported increased investments in the city’s affordable housing trust fund and know that we must do more to support not just “affordable housing” but deeply affordable housing for the neighbors struggling most among us.
In the last few years, Minneapolis has experienced a spike in encampments of unhoused people on public land — a high percentage of whom are Black and/or Indigenous. Many of our unhoused neighbors see this as their best housing option over shelters (for reasons of personal safety, pet ownership, or having to abandon property). What will you do to protect these neighbors and connect them with safe and stable housing?
I posted a statement on the homelessness crisis we face and it goes into more detail than I could here.
Jobs and Economy
Black, Indigenous, and Minneapolis residents of color pay local taxes and contribute to our local economy, but often do not receive the same shared economic benefits as their white counterparts. Through generations of oppression via policy and unequal systems, wealth has been chronically and systematically extracted from BIPOC communities—how do you envision addressing this legacy of economic harm, in both the short term and the long term?
The city needs to do what it can to support entrepreneurs and business owners of color. Through all of the means we can we must create opportunities for disadvantaged communities to empower themselves economically. I have and will continue to bring up with corporate and business interests in the city that they need to hire more people of color, pay them more, and promote them.
The power dynamics of work are heavily tilted against low-wage workers, especially immigrant workers. What actions have you taken or what plans do you have to protect and support these workers?
The city has a host of workplace regulations, wage and time off requirements, and safety concerns that our Civil Rights Department is supposed to be able to enforce. We have underfunded and understaffed these positions for too long and simply doing our jobs on that front would be such a benefit for disadvantaged workers– investigators who can pursue cases and bring action against business owners. We need more of them and I will continue to advocate for more resources for our civil rights department to meet the growing needs of gig workers, service workers, and all low wage employees.
Explain your understanding of systemic racism, and how—or whether—you believe it affects Minneapolis’s education systems & outcomes, our housing market, our environment, public safety, healthcare, or other major systems.
Systemic racism is the establishment of legal, cultural, and political norms to disempower and marginalize people of color.
I am a refugee and a black man, and yes I think that systemic racism in engrained in literally everything about our local culture and governance system.
Our community suffers from some of the greatest racial disparities in the country across many social, educational, and economic metrics—and has for some time. If you’re in government now, what have you done to address this, and do you feel your efforts have been enough despite the lack of change? And if you’re seeking office for the first time, what ideas are you going to put forward that haven’t already failed?
No the efforts aren’t enough. There is very little except for the direct and intentional transfer of wealth and opportunities to the most disadvantaged communities among us that will actually change the immoral disparities in this city and state.
What have I done? I have worked to create and support opportunities for East Africans, our Native and Latin neighbors, and the African Descendants of Slavery to start, own, and develop their own businesses. People of color hire people of color. White people don’t. We must continue to open doors and make smooth the path for people of color to economically empower themselves.
Climate change is already upon us, and its causes are on such a large scale that we can’t expect everyday Minneapolitans to recycle or LED bulb our way to a solution. How would you encourage businesses in our city to adopt practices to mitigate climate change, and/or hold them accountable for practices that worsen it?
We need to work with our energy industry partners to get them to transition as immediately as possible away from any fossil fuel based systems. The city has its clean energy partnership and we need support from other local governments and states to push XCel and other companies towards a sustainable future.
The transportation sector is one of the largest contributors of GHG in the country. Finding ways to get people out of cars and reducing heavy truck traffic are two of the most important things we can do to reduce our heat island effect, reduce the particulate pollution experienced by many of the neighborhoods in my ward, and doing our part ads a city towards stopping climate change.
What have you done or what will you do to protect and expand voter access in your ward/Minneapolis?
The East African community are regular early voters. I am always working to make sure that we as a city have as many accessible sites, available for as long as possible for early voting.
The elections department at the city does a wonderful job of finding accessible central locations for election day voting sites, if those become unavailable I will always make sure we get the accommodations we need.
Who are the people and/or organizations that would be part of your decision-making process in office?
I am honored to represent one of the most diverse places in the state. My relationships with the East African community are robust and I hear from elders and Imams to my neighbors out at Currie Park. They let me know their thoughts! I have deep respect for leaders in our Native community and I have turned to leaders like Mike Goze, Joe Hobot and Robert Lilligren for their insight and wisdom. Latinx business leaders on Lake Street have helped guide my understanding of the rebuilding needs.
I turn to subject matter experts, both the ones at the city and outside, on important issues. I try to stay engaged with business and government partners on all aspects of our housing needs from private developers, non-profit managers, and MPHA.
Since I assumed office I have hired my own professional staff who I trust and empower to get into details and process and advise me accordingly.
What’s one thing you think Minneapolis does well that you’d like to build upon if elected?
Everything we do well as a city we need to reinforce. The incredible work of our Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs is the product of just one staffer, and she is a lion for the newest among us and those who are seeking refuge here. I want to see her office grow to reflect her spirit and the needs we have in the city.
But, the thing we MUST build on is the singular chance we face as a city to confront a history of racism, violence, and inequality and to create something different, something new, something that works for everyone, not just the richest and most well connected. From rebuilding the Minneapolis Police force to reflect the community it serves, to creating systems and strategies that don’t involve the police to respond to any number of the things that don’t really need law enforcement responses, that’s the chance we have.
That’s being watched by the world and doing it well is something we won’t be able to judge for a while, but it’s the most important thing we can do to create a city that is more just and one which lifts up all its residents.