Government Structure: I support Ballot Initiative #1, which calls for creating a strong mayoral system. While it would be great to have our city’s leaders draw their strength from grassroots support of the people or a positive response to moments of crisis, the city of Minneapolis cannot afford to wait around for such perfect conditions.
Public Safety: I vehemently oppose Ballot Initiative #2, which would replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety. Minneapolis is in the midst of a public safety crisis. We need more police, not less. More importantly, the overwhelming majority of 9th Ward residents and business owners do not support this idea, which does nothing to make them safer or address their security needs.
Rent Control: I do not support rent control, otherwise known as Ballot Initiative #3. We have an affordable housing crisis in Minneapolis and rental rates are way too high, but another bad government policy is not the solution. We can only solve this problem by attacking the underlying causes through the supply and demand dynamic, creating a pathway to homeownership, and using all of our available tools to increase the overall number of available affordable housing options.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The 9th Ward is home to the most diverse group of residents in Minneapolis. As a person of color, I understand firsthand what it feels like to be marginalized, profiled and not have a seat at the table when important decisions are made that impact my life. As your City Council representative, I will have the most diverse staff of professional assistants and policy aides to ensure that every resident feels completely and fairly always represented across all issues. In addition, I will consider all bills that come before the City Council through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure that people of color and our LGBTQIA+ neighbors are never left behind as our great city continues to grow and prosper.
With violent crime in Minneapolis on the rise, calls to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department dramatically discount the experience of victims of gun violence, domestic abuse, and other crimes. I believe in an approach to public safety that focuses on changing the culture of our city’s police department. The MPD needs fundamental reform. Too many Black and Brown people have unjustly died at the hands of the police. This is why I support Chief Medaria Arradondo’s efforts to restructure the department and increase the role of social service providers and mental health professionals when responding to calls to reduce the chance of violent encounters. I will also ensure departmental resources are invested in community policing efforts and relationship building rather than merely enforcement. In addition, I will work with partners at the state-level to reform the police arbitration process so cops are held accountable. I will also create community engagement roundtables so that community members have a consistent voice in the future of the MPD.
For more than a year, COVID-19 has devastated residents and businesses throughout the city of Minneapolis. If elected to represent Ward 9 on the Minneapolis City Council, I pledge to support policies that align with the latest science and data-based evidence when making tough decisions about the deadly pandemic, which has disproportionately affected BIPOC communities and front-line workers in our city. I personally support wearing masks and social distancing when appropriate, which have proven to be some of our best tools to reduce the spread of the virus. I also pledge to work diligently with city, county, state, and federal agencies to ensure that anyone who wants the COVID-19 vaccine can get it for free, regardless of their location, income, or health insurance coverage. I am also committed to working with public health officials to ensure residents and business owners have all the facts they need to make an intelligent decision about getting vaccinated. For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and recommended safety guidelines in Minneapolis, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health website links listed below.
Do you need up-to-date information on COVID-19?
Do you need to get tested for COVID-19?
Do you need to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Do you have questions about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines?
In 1996, I founded The Braid Factory, which began the professional, natural hair care salon industry in Minnesota. As a result, I understand firsthand what it takes to create a profitable, long-lasting small business, including developing viable public and private partnerships. Due to COVID-19 and last year’s civil unrest, the 9th Ward's commercial districts are in crisis. Therefore, we must prioritize their revitalization through a significant infusion of capital and access to financing. As your City Council representative, I pledge to help our city partner with small, medium, large, family, immigrant, and minority-owned businesses in the 9th Ward and throughout Minneapolis to ensure that they have all the tools and resources necessary to not just keep the lights on, but to truly thrive for future generations to come.
There is an affordable housing crisis in the city of Minneapolis. Hardworking men and women can no longer afford to live or raise a family in our city. However, rent control is not the answer. Transitioning renters to homeowners is the only viable solution. It is only through innovative ideas like offering tax incentives and vouchers to developers that prioritize building affordable housing, including small and modular homes, that we can exponentially increase our city’s housing supply. We also must develop long-term, strategic public and private partnerships with banking institutions and nonprofit organizations that offer first-time homebuyers low or no-cost down payments, closing cost assistance, and rent-to-own options, because decreasing the demand for rental units, while increasing the supply of affordable homes, is the only viable long-term solution to this crisis. By transitioning renters to homeowners, we also create equitable inclusion in the ranks of homeownership, which allows all 9th Ward residents the opportunity to build generational wealth in our community. As someone who grew up in government subsidized housing, making sure that everyone has an affordable, comfortable and safe place to call home is not only important to me, it is a very personal issue. That’s why, if elected to represent Ward 9 on the Minneapolis City Council, I pledge to look at all housing bills, policies and programs through the all-important lens of compassion, empathy and experience.
Homelessness is a growing issue in the city of Minneapolis for a host of reasons, including lack of affordable housing, alcohol and drug addiction, and mental health issues. For more than 30 years, city leadership has focused on building more rental housing, when our focus should have been on transitioning renters to homeowners, which would have allowed us to increase the supply of affordable homes while decreasing the overwhelming demand for rental housing. Whether people are experiencing homelessness because they are part of the working poor, substance abuse, or mental health issues, building more temporary shelters is not the answer. Minneapolis and Hennepin County must radically expand its homeless programs and stop criminalizing substance abuse and mental health issues. Our neighbors should not be left to suffer or die in a bus shelter or park because there are not enough supportive programs to help them live and recover safely. As your City Council representative, I pledge to partner with city, county, state, and federal agencies to ensure the most vulnerable in Ward 9 and Minneapolis are not only treated humanely, but also have the programs and resources they need to live their best lives with dignity.
In what the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency describes as the area of responsibility of St. Paul and Minneapolis, there were more than 4,000 enforcement and removal operations conducted in 2019. It's the responsibility of our leaders to ensure local law enforcement agencies provide ICE with zero cooperation, thus enabling the safety of our friends and neighbors from their reach. As your city council representative, I promise to help immigrant communities flourish. This is why I plan to open a local ward office for residents to have a safe, reliable, and comfortable place to go for immigration resources. Immigrant families will no longer have to go downtown for essential news or information. They will be able to go to a neighborhood office, no appointment necessary.
Ideas like the East Phillips Urban Farm Initiative do not come around every day. That is why I pledge to do everything in my power to ensure this transformative green initiative becomes a reality in the 9th Ward, where children disproportionately suffer from the highest rates of asthma hospitalizations and lead poisoning in the state of Minnesota. As your City Council representative, I will also make it a top city priority to eliminate all potentially harmful environmental policies and work proactively with environmental groups and organizations to create more sustainable communities and green jobs for residents in the 9th Ward and throughout Minneapolis.
George Floyd Square
The world was rocked to its core by the senseless murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. As a result, I believe we must find a beautiful, safe and secure location where
people from all around the world can go and honor the life of George Floyd and the social
justice movement that his tragic killing helped to inspire. I also believe elected officials must
have the courage and strength of leadership to reopen the busy intersection of 38th Street and
Chicago Avenue to allow businesses to once again thrive and the American dream of
homeownership to be restored. As your City Council representative, I pledge to work with city,
county and state elected officials to do both simultaneously.
9th Ward Action Plan
Many of our recent elected officials selectively care about only those people and organizations that benefit them politically. I will represent everyone in the 9th Ward.
On day one, I will open a full-time office in the 9th Ward that is staffed every day, providing ease of access to constituent services and municipal operational needs. Residents will no longer have to go downtown to get the help they need, no appointment necessary.
Once a month, I will host a town hall style meeting on a critical issue to 9th Ward residents, as well as personally attend as many business and neighborhood association meetings that I possibly can, making myself available to constituents before, during and after meetings.
Strategic partnerships are required for community prosperity. As your City Council representative, I pledge to nurture these relationships by highlighting a local business or nonprofit partner every month, emphasizing the work they are doing in the community and offering them access to municipal resources to further their mission.
Living by example is the true definition of leadership. On day one, I will also pledge $20,000 of my City Council salary to the creation of the George Floyd Educational Scholarship Fund. This fund will provide grants to the young men and women in the BIPOC community in the 9th Ward to achieve their higher education goals.