Minneapolis City Council gets more progressive after election, president survives tight race
Tuesday’s election pushed the Minneapolis City Council more progressive, although not as much as some had hoped.
The results, while still unofficial, will bring back all 11 incumbent council members who ran for reelection plus two new faces.
The race for Ward 8, City Council President Andrea Jenkins’ seat, was so close — 38 votes apart — that it’s eligible for a recount. A campaign spokesperson for Jenkins’ challenger, Soren Stevenson, said they’ll make a decision on whether to concede or ask for a recount on Thursday. In the meantime, Jenkins is celebrating the close victory.
“It was a tough race,” Jenkins said.
“My goal and intent is to build bridges, to build consensus, to really get things done,” Jenkins added. “I’m not interested in grandstanding, I’m not interested in pontification, I’m not interested in gridlock, we have to move forward.”
As for the decision to run for council president again, Jenkins said she’s enjoying the moment and will make that decision at a later time.
Aurin Chowdhury will be one of the new faces on the council.
“I’ve been campaigning on a comprehensive, accountable and responsive public safety system, and I say that because I think our current system lacks those qualities,” Chowdhury said.
While she’ll be new to the council, Chowdhury knows City Hall quite well, having served as the senior policy aide to council member Jason Chavez.
“For me, it’s really about that consensus building,” Chowdhury said.
“The council is liberal and becoming more liberal,” University of Minnesota public affairs professor Larry Jacobs told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Wednesday.
Jacobs was closely following the council results, saying there was a push by some in the community to elect more politically progressive candidates.
“The progressives had hoped to get a large enough majority that they could override the mayor’s veto; that has not happened,” Jacobs said.
Nine votes are required to override a mayor’s veto.
“I’m glad to have City Council President Andrea Jenkins back, she’s been one of my most important allies for me at City Hall,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said.
The mayor said he’s optimistic and ready to work in good faith with the new council.
“That’s not to say every council member will agree with me, they never do, but I still have a veto pen if necessary, and I’ll use it, but that’s not how you start off a term, that’s not how you start out the term,” Frey said. “You start out the term, let’s work together.”