Newly Announced City Council Candidate Talks Minneapolis, Somali-Americans in Office

November 22, 2016 05:52 PM

From Somalia to the largest refugee camp in the world to New York City to Roosevelt High to the University of Minnesota, Mohamed Farah hopes his next stop is Minneapolis City Hall.

The long-time nonprofit leader and activist officially kicked off his campaign Saturday night, promising to address the issues he believes will help the residents of Ward 9 thrive. He said his priorities include safe neighborhoods, clean parks, good streets, responsive government, affordable housing, and job creation.


"Right now there's a wall. People are disconnected from city hall," Farah said. "I want to come in and govern with the people in mind."

Farah says those people -- as well as the candidates -- are changing.

Just a few years ago, there were virtually no Somali-Americans in government, local or otherwise. Now Minnesota is home to several Somali-American elected officials, including Minneapolis City Councilmember Abdi Warsame and newly-elected State Representative Ilhan Omar.

Asked why Somali-Americans are becoming more involved in the political process, Farah replied, "if we don't push legislators, if we don't demand better changes, you know, we're not going anywhere."

But Farah made sure to point out that he's not running on behalf of the Somali-American community, insisting, "I'm running on behalf of everyone in Ward 9."

That, Farah said, is why he picked the 9th Ward's Midtown Global Market as the backdrop for his interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

"This is our strength right here. You're not going to find this in Lake Calhoun," he laughed.

The incumbent in Ward 9 is City Council Member Alondra Cano. Speaking Tuesday afternoon she listed specific ways she's tackled big issues, including public safety and economic development.

"We're at the Mercado Central," Cano said, "which is the state's oldest Latino cooperative, which was due to close the first day I got elected into office, and I said 'no we're not closing this project, we're actually going to make it thrive,' and today they're doing wonderful."

Cano also said she thinks it's important to have competitive races for city council seats in the next election, saying voters should have a choice.


Josh Rosenthal

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