Guide for Minneapolis Municipal Precinct/Ward Caucuses on April 16

The Minneapolis DFL will be holding precinct caucuses at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday April 16th, 2013 for the purpose of electing delegates to consider endorsement of candidates seeking election to Minneapolis Municipal Office or Park Board in 2013. To find your caucus location go to

The Senior Caucus has interviewed candidates to find where they stand on issues important to Minneapolis seniors. The results are discussed in the following guide.

DFL Senior Caucus

2013 Minneapolis Municipal Races

Candidates’ Views on Senior Issues

This short voter’s guide is to help Senior Caucus members decide what candidate to support at the 2013 Minneapolis and Saint Paul DFL precinct caucuses.  The guide arose from an All Constituency Caucus Minneapolis and Saint Paul Candidate Screening on March 16, 2013. 

The candidate screening gave each caucus the opportunity to interview candidates on the issues important to that caucus. This guide presents responses given by candidates to questions from the Senior Caucus. 

The screening did not allow audible or visual recording of the interviews; only note taking was allowed.  This guide is a consolidation of the notes taken by the caucus members in attendance.  The answers have been shortened and are not the exact words of the candidates, but have caught the high points and gist of the candidates’ responses. Since all the candidates are good DFL’ers, there is some commonality in response.


Mayor Candidates

Mark Andrew – He stressed that seniors are a critical constituency.  He discussed employment gap in both communities of color and for persons 50+.  He said there are 26,000 fewer jobs in Minneapolis since 2001 He believes there is a need for additional training or new skills for the jobs available.  He spoke about the integration of arts in the city as well as safety on the streets. He is concerned about the increase in property taxes.

Jackie Cherryhomes – She stressed her issue with property taxes that are driving seniors out of their homes.  Safety, jobs, job creation and senior housing also are issues for her.  She discussed the return to Community program and that there is a need to maintain services to prevent isolation for seniors that affects quality of life.  She would like to develop partnerships in the senior community.

Betsy Hodges – She is interested in a well run city that provides services for a growing senior population.  She believes seniors have a commitment to the City financially. She also believes they provide wisdom.  Safety is an issue for her and she discussed having more police on the streets to build relationships.  Transportation for seniors and others is an issue.

Don Samuels – He discussed his background and credentials for the position.  His issues included safety, crime and equality with a deep feeling for intolerance. He also talked about health care in the home.   He would look for the gaps in services.

Gary Schiff – He discussed his role on the City Council for 12 years.  He talked about the issue of creating jobs to address the circle of poverty.  Creating jobs includes a trained work force.  He talked about changing zoning for affordable housing.  Transportation suggestions included mentioned of streetcars.  He also talked about hiring local persons for local jobs.  He stressed senior housing needs and the need to provide support services. 

 Ward Candidates

Ward 3 – Jacob Frey – He stressed his grassroots organizing experience.  His issues included transportation and safety on the businesses. He likes a balance of constituencies.  He thinks there needs to be more discussion with groups who think they represent the community.

Ward 3 – Diane Hofstede – She stressed her work with Catholic Eldercare on community development.  Safety is an issue or her and wants seniors to remain in their homes.  She spoke about the Aging in Place project and how it needs to build relationships among neighbors.  She thinks seniors do not self identify and the community needs to reach out to them. She also mentioned trolleys/streetcars as a possible means of transportation. 

Ward 4 – Kris Brogan – He explained her background as a commercial realtor and her work with the former Mayor on the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.  Her senior issues were the escalating property taxes, providing services to seniors so they can remain in their homes and in the neighborhood where they have ties. He talked about development partnerships possible among 2-3 churches as an example.

Ward 4 – Barb Johnson – She has been on the City Council for 16 years.  Her issues included the budget and its work with all demographics of her Ward.  She addressed safety on buses, guns on the streets, and more money for public works.  She suggested that the Community Relations Department should include seniors. She thought health living came with being proactive especially with safety concerns by getting to know your neighbors as one way. She believes housing for people near their church, parks and things they are familiar with is important. 

Ward 5 – Ian Alexander – Stressed that he lives in North Minneapolis and is a family law attorney.  His issues included business development, safety, city services, and economic opportunities.  His senior issues included housing. He thinks that the Ward is more reactive and not proactive. 

Ward 5 – Brett Buckner – He has been a lifelong North Minneapolis Resident which is a community of about 30,000 citizens.  He talked about crime as an issue in his Ward and the need for police and community eyes on the street; possibly walking the beat.

Ward 5- Kenneth Foxworth – He works with special education students.  His issues included job development, housing, health care and crime in apartment complexes. He thinks the Ward could use more officers to walk the beat.  He stressed the need to take care of our own and suggested churches role in this area.

Ward 5 – Blong Yang – His immediate response to issues in his neighborhood were safety and economic development.  Sometimes the City that provides the services of safety is slower to respond there than in other areas of the city.  He said there are about 10,000 Hmong citizens living in North Minneapolis and most people are not aware of that point.  He said that gun safety, gangs and scare tactics are serious issues in his community.  He wants to address new ideas to create development, recruit businesses to locate in the Ward and wants to represent his entire Ward.

Ward 10 – Lisa Bender – She stressed a need for a change in leadership and the need for the Ward to be proactive.  Her issues included transit, walking paths, health and economic opportunities.  Protected bikeways to keep seniors active is important.  Thinks there are significant health disparities in her Ward.  Suggested Community Health Workers for preventive services for seniors in their homes.  Also stressed the need for transportation services that reach across county borders.  Must create partnerships.

Ward 10 – Ken Bradley – He explained that his community is becoming more diverse.  He recognizes that seniors want to remain in their homes and neighborhoods as well.  He talked about the issues of jobs and transportation. The fact that his Ward does not want any more subsidized housing in their Ward is a problem. 

Ward 10 – Kendal Killian – He stressed his experiences as a representative of MAPE, Upfront MN, HealthCare for All to be able to deliver programs and progress. He thinks all Ward, City, County, State, Federal issues are interconnected.  He stressed the need to provide homes for seniors to remain in neighborhoods they are familiar with.  He questioned why so much power is given to neighborhood groups.  He wants to cap property taxes for seniors.

Ward 10 – Meg Tuthill – Her response to the question on housing was to provide intergenerational living programs.  Her issues as a senior herself are on home maintenance, transportation, taxes, and services such as health care in the home.  Said finding suitable housing is not much different for seniors than it is for the first time apartment dweller.  Her discussion of housing included ghettoizing, safety, rents, etc.

Ward 12 – Sandy Colvin Ray – She said that she has learned the senior issues from the many seniors that live in her Ward.  Ward definitely needs to research community senior needs as the senior population increases.  He wants to organize an Advisory Committee from the community.

Ward 12 – Andrew Johnson – He is the President of the Longfellow Community Council of about 22,000 residents.  His issues include transportation, and services to seniors such as ice and snow removal.  He wants to build relationships to address issues such as property taxes, foreclosures. He also wants to eliminate the Sewage Access Charge (SAC) which affects small businesses.  Safety and response time are high priorities for him.

Ward 13 – Linea Palmisano – She has included seniors and their issues/concerns in her campaign.  Her issues include safety, aging in place, and affordable housing.  Another issue for her is how to transition to manageable housing while remaining in the community.  She talked about a senior cab program with vouchers.  She talked about the increased time it takes firefighters to respond to a emergency call and how it has increased by about 1 ½ minutes. She thinks police need more crisis intervention and mental health trainings.

Ward 13 – Matt Perry – Matt has his own company and provides computer services to small businesses.  He is a member of the Community Engagement Commission.  He thinks it is important to provide services to seniors so they can remain in their homes and their communities.  He wants to bring up issues, listen to the responses to them, and then develop solutions. He also thinks property taxes are a very real issue.

Minneapolis Park Board – John Erwin – He asked to be included in the Senior Caucus screening process.  He had ideas for helping seniors in the parks. He would provide shady tables, provide games such as chess and checkers, and maybe have dances for persons to connect. He believes it is necessary to provide transportation and safety in the parks.  He thinks a big problem for seniors is isolation and city could provide a website giving seniors access to information on activities in their neighborhoods.





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