Minneapolis Third Ward residents Olin Moore and Don Samuels –both Democrats— will compete for the Ward’s City Council seat in a February 3 runoff. Minneapolis Third Ward residents Olin Moore and Don Samules –both Democrats— will compete for the Ward’s City Council seat in a February 3 runoff. The two men are vieing for the seat vacated by former Council Member Joe Biernat who resigned his post in November after a federal jury convicted him of five felonies related to free plumbing work.
Twenty candidates were listed on the ballot for the December 30 special election primary. Moore, an aid for Congressman Martin Sabo, garnered 531 of the 2,061 votes cast (26%); Samuels garnered 363 votes (18%); and Shane Price came in fifth with 201 votes (10%).
Samuels, an immigrant from Jamaica, came to the US 33 years ago, and came to the Twin Cities 13 years ago. He moved to Minneapolis five years ago. He said he selected the Jordan Neighborhood because it was an inner city neighborhood and he felt that one of the problems with neighborhoods that are impoverished or have a lot of crime is that middle class people who can afford to live other places move from them. He said he and his wife wanted to do the opposite.
Samuels said he’s seeking to be the Third Ward council person because the ward needs representation from someone who is authentically connected to the community. He said he’s running so that both Northeast and North will have an active voice on the city council. He wants to bring his real life experience and commitment to being an active voice for the entire Third ward.
The Third Ward which had its lines redrawn after last year’s redistricting is divided not only by the Mississippi River, but also by racial lines. Most of the Third Ward residents of color have historically lived in North Minneapolis, east of the Mississippi, while the Northeast Minneapolis side of the ward has traditionally been home to many enclaves of immigrant Europeans.
Olin Moore, who noted the difficulty of representing the Ward because of the North and Northeast areas, said he’s seeking election to the Minneapolis City Council because he’s deeply concerned about the status of the neighborhood. He said as council person for the Third Ward he’ll work to address the problems of trust and will “work to build bridges. For example, there needs to be trust between the community and the police department. I will work closely with the community and try to achieve these goals,” he said.
“This is a diverse ward, but both communities need to look at areas that could be redeveloped,” said Moore. “The community needs to have input. We need good, quality construction and safe and clean streets. The Third Ward needs a council person who will be available to listen to what clean streets mean for both parts of the area –the needs of the community must be met by city government.”
“The next council member can push for more economic development in the Third Ward, like redevelopment of commercial corridors such as West Broadway, Central or Lowry,” said Moore. He said that along with the redevelopment projects would come good paying jobs for the people who live in the Third Ward, thus creating a healthy neighborhood and community.
Moore has worked for Martin Sabo for nine years and through this experience, he said, he’s been able to work for the citizens of Minneapolis.
Samuels is the co-founder of the Jordan Livability Project – which brought together a group of diverse Jordan residents to focus on livability critical to sustaining stable neighborhoods. Samuels is a senior director of a Fortune 500 company, has owned his own business, and has a Masters of Divinity from Luther Seminary. His business experience has been that of a toy designer and inventor.
“I look forward to leading the third ward into a new era of collaboration and solidarity so that we can become a powerful and singular voice to city hall,” said Samuels. “My commitment to community, m