Community Endorsement: Russ Henry

Community Endorsement: Russ Henry

I first met Jillia through our work on the Homegrown Food Council, a city initiative to expand access to sustainable foods. During my tenure as co-chair of the Council, Jillia lead the Outreach and Engagement Committee, helped develop urban agriculture policy, and worked with City Council to lease empty lots to urban farmers -- a process new to Minneapolis.

Working with Jillia, I was struck by her approach to policy-making. Jillia is a listener -- she cares about connecting with residents, engaging new communities, and understanding resident’s perspectives.

Jillia maintains an intersectional point of view. She has vast experience as a member of the city body and a unique perspective serving as a community advocate.. Whether it’s food access, healthy living, climate justice, or a sustainable living wage -- she works to uplift people's’ lives.

We need Jillia’s approach to governing at City Hall. For far too long, we’ve seen a top-down approach, where public officials make impactful decisions without the input of residents. Residents often aren’t even informed if a street is closed down for maintenance.

Like me, Jillia is running for public office not to maintain the status quo, but to make our city more efficient, empathetic, and equitable.Our next City Council has the opportunity to transform the use of government. Our city government should not be a means of growing income for high end developers, downtown business interests, and the rich -- it should tool for improving the health of the people of Minneapolis.

The Park Board and City Council works closely together. I look forward to working with Jillia to make a better city.

In solidarity,

Russ Henry,
DFL endorsed candidate for Minneapolis Park Board

Sierra Club Endorses Jillia

Sierra Club Endorses Jillia

“We are very impressed with Jillia Pessenda and her commitment to fighting climate change. We endorsed Jillia because we need leaders like her who will take action and make our voices heard. The residents of Ward One and the rest of Minneapolis will be lucky to have this champion at the City Hall advocating to protect the environment.”

Peter Teigland
Political Committee Chair
Sierra Club North Star Chapter

Community Endorsement: Marcia Thomas

Community Endorsement: Marcia Thomas

I’ve lived in Ward One for half my life. I began my landscaping and gardening business here. My kids graduated from Edison High School, and like so many of our neighbors, I joined the fight to keep Edison open. Northeast is my home -- and I’m excited for its future. 

Our community is changing. We areexperiencing an influx of new families, artists, entrepreneurs, and immigrants. We need a City Council member who represents the changing dynamics of our community. 

Jillia Pessenda represents the future of our Ward: a young, energetic, and progressive woman. She has real vision to ensure Northeast remains a vibrant, thriving, and inclusive community. 

By and far, Jillia is better connected to the needs of residents in our community. I didn’t know Jillia before she started running. But, when we first met I was struck by her honesty, her openness, and her ability to listen. Jillia didn’t just court my vote, she welcomed my perspective. 

I think our current Council Member has done a fine job. But, he has lacked transparency with his decision-making process. As the deciding vote in favor of the stadium -- which greatly impacts working families in Ward One -- Council Member Reich never met with community members, never asked for residents’ feedback, and never offered disclosure on how he would vote. Jillia and I don’t necessarily agree on every issue, but she is transparent with her decision-making and willing to understand residents’ concerns. She embodies open-mindedness as a person and practices openness in governing. 

Northeast has been, and continues to be, a great place to live. We are the crossroads of Minneapolis -- the vibrant intersection of arts, small business, young families, and longtime residents. But in times like these, we must be even more inclusive of newcomers. Diversity is what we thrive on.

Jillia believes in a Northeast that’s welcoming to every person -- where opportunity, a living wage, and housing security are accessible to all types of residents. Every person -- whether they are new to Northeast or new to our country -- deserves the opportunity to make a home here. 

Looking around our community, I see a more a diverse and vibrant Northeast. I’m excited to welcome the new residents moving into neighborhoods, starting businesses, and living on my block. 

Other candidates may have represented the residents who lived here years ago. But Jillia represents the people who live here now -- the families I’m proud to call neighbors.

If you want to show your support for Jillia, please sign up to call folks or doorknock. And be sure to make Jillia your first choice when you vote! 

In solidarity,
Marcia Thomas
Windom Park

Community Endorsement: Davis Senseman

Community Endorsement: Davis Senseman

Let me get right to the point: We need to elect a strong leader like Jillia Pessenda who will listen to the people of Ward One and bring all of our voices to City Hall.

Jillia will put people before profits. And this matters. Right now, big businesses are pouring money into our local city council election and supporting certain incumbents, like Ward One Council Member Kevin Reich, who have a history of supporting their interests. These corporations don’t care about bringing our voices to the table or what's best for Ward One residents. They are only interested in one thing: increasing their profits and their power in Minneapolis.

For the past year, Jillia has been talking with Ward One residents about the issues that matter to us, listening to our concerns, and asking for our input about the future of our city. Her people-powered campaign is focused on keeping Northeast an affordable place to live and making sure folks are paid a living wage. Jillia also knows that we must tackle the racial disparities that are so prevalent in Minneapolis and we must demand more accountability from the police. And in something I have never seen in a City Council candidate in my 10+ years advising small businesses, Jillia has sought out small business owners who live and work in the Ward to ask - What could the City do to really help you and your employees. As our council member, I know she will be committed to our best interests.

The businesses trying to block progressive candidates like Jillia are the same companies who opposed raising the minimum wage to $15 and fought against a bare minimum of paid sick time for workers. They believe that Council Members like Kevin Reich work for them and will fall in line with what they want.

And they're probably right - Mr. Reich DID give them what they wanted when he cast the deciding vote to fund U.S. Bank Stadium, which has cost Minneapolis taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Money that could have been used to help Ward One residents facing a lack of affordable housing and Ward One business owners who could use support from the city.

I am a parent of two and have lived in Northeast for almost all of the 17 years I've lived in Minneapolis. I’m also a small business owner and board member of two local nonprofits. It makes me mad that big business is trying to buy our democracy.  I hope you’ll join me in saying no to their interests and yes to our own best interests by volunteering for Jillia’s campaign.

Davis Senseman
Audubon Park

Community Endorsement: Liam Davis Temple

Community Endorsement: Liam Davis Temple

I love Northeast Minneapolis. I am filled with immense pride everyday to be able to live in the same house where my Grandfather raised my Mom and her three siblings. I have always felt this very strong connection to my community, especially in regards to Edison high school. The proudest moment of my life was when I graduated from Edison in 2016, becoming the 4th generation from my family to graduate from there. I have always felt a responsibility to try and give back to Edison. Throughout my time there, I participated in 14 different activities. From serving four years as a student representative on the school's site council, to still announcing basketball and football games even after graduating, I was able to experience so much of what Edison had to offer.

It is because of my involvement and experience at Edison, that I support Jillia Pessenda for city council in Ward 1. Edison has made tremendous growth in recent years, but there is still much room for improvement. 85% of students at Edison receive free or reduced lunch. Jillia understands the impact financial burdens have on a students' education and has built her campaign on fighting for working families and students, not corporate interests. From the start of her campaign, she has fought for livable wages and ensuring there are affordable places to live, not just in Northeast, but all across the city. Many Edison students live in North, and Jillia understands the need for more east-west transit routes so students can get to and from school, and will fight for equitable transit policies as City Council member.

I was a student at Edison when Jamar Clark was killed in North Minneapolis. It had a huge impact on students. 85% of students are students of color and many students lived near the fourth precinct. To say the incident hit many close to home is a massive understatement. It was clear there was an insufficient response from the current Council Member. Whereas, Jillia was at the 4th precinct, standing in solidarity with those protesting Police brutality.

Jillia is a courageous leader who has spent her whole life fighting for social justice, and there is no doubt in my mind that she will be the champion Edison students, and all Northeasters, deserve to have representing them in city hall. Please join me in ranking Jillia Pessenda as your #1 choice for Ward 1 City council by November 7th!


Liam Davis Temple
2016 Edison graduate
Waite Park Neighborhood

Community Endorsement: Claudia Santoyo

Community Endorsement: Claudia Santoyo

I am a Ward One resident and recent graduate of Augsburg College. I voted early for Jillia for city council because she is a transparent leader who shares my values. 

I am a restaurant server who understands the importance of earning a living wage. Raising the wage to $15 with one fair wage meant no worker was left behind. Jillia and I understood we needed to support all workers and the common good, for all communities.

During my recent internship at the Sierra Club, I was continuously frustrated at how difficult it was to pass policy that benefits people and the environment. I trust Jillia will take more action to confront industrial polluters here in Ward 1 and fight climate change as a city.

Jillia will continue to take action to create living wages, create healthier environments, and create more affordable housing. She is committed to bringing more voices to the table at city hall. With your voice and vote, I urge you to vote early and rank Jillia first on your ballot by November 7th. 

Jillia’s commitment to engage more people empowered me to step up and take on a leadership role in the campaign as the Field Director. Each day, I see the stark difference between what Council Member Reich claims and the bad votes he has taken over the last 8 years.

  • He recently voted against charging for the use of plastic bags at local stores, which would have encouraged people to bring their own bags and would reduce waste as a means to protect the environment.
  • He was the swing vote for the U.S. Bank Stadium that is costing Minneapolis taxpayers nearly $500 million -- taxpayer dollars that could have supported other projects, like affordable housing.
  • He has hardly led on one housing policy as the city has lost thousands of affordable homes over the last 8 years.

Far too often Council Member Reich has aligned himself with downtown business interests, corporate lobbyists, and Ziggy Wilf instead of serving the people of Ward 1. 

Jillia is endorsed by, and has partnerships with, AFSCME Council 5 and TakeAction MN. She is one of the most endorsed candidates of anyone running in Minneapolis in 2017. I look forward to having a council member who understands how to bring people to the table and work with various perspectives.

I want to be represented by someone genuine, someone who is actually progressive and action-oriented – and not just paying lip service to those words. I respect Jillia’s transparency and knowing where she stands on issues while having meaningful conversations if we share different opinions. Jillia’s ongoing work with various communities clearly demonstrates that she shows up and is dedicated to creating positive change.

Community Endorsement: Nancy Davis-Ortiz

Community Endorsement: Nancy Davis-Ortiz

I moved to Waite Park about 20 years ago, after serving in the Army and the Reserves.

Like so many of you, I’m concerned about what is happening right now in our country. That pushed me to leave my comfort zone in April and become a delegate for our Ward One convention – for the first time ever and I’m 61!

There, I voted for Jillia Pessenda, who is running to for City Council. I met her earlier this year.  I had heard she was having a meet and greet at Twin Spirits Distillery so I went there to find out more about her and what she stands for.

I discovered that Jillia’s priorities are my priorities.

We are both concerned about equality and we want to keep Northeast an affordable place to live, which means people must be paid a living wage. I also want to see our city leaders do something to curtail police violence. I support the police – I know they don’t have an easy job, but something is wrong and we must find a way to fix it so that we can stop police shootings.

Last, but not least, I think it’s high time we elect a woman to represent Ward One.  I think Jillia will bring about the positive change we need and push us forward and make Minneapolis a better place to live for all of us.

Community Endorsement: Tony Aarts and Adrienne Widener

Community Endorsement: Tony Aarts and Adrienne Widener

Adrienne and I moved to Northeast Minneapolis four years ago. We were immediately drawn to its rhythm, the great local businesses, and the strong sense of community.

But we have been disappointed with our current Council Member Kevin Reich.

When I've emailed him with concerns, his response has been lukewarm, and it really only echoed work already in progress through City Hall. When Jamar Clark was shot and killed, communities in Minneapolis struggled to feel that the city was responsive to their needs. At a moment of crises in our city, Council Member Reich never showed up at the 4th Precinct to listen to communities and begin to heal the trust between government and citizens. His council decisions show me that he is non-committal on police accountability.  

Ward One deserves a leader who will step out in front to push for positive, necessary change. That’s why earlier this year we researched the candidates running for City Council in Ward One. When we saw that Rep. Ilhan Omar had endorsed Jillia Pessenda, it got our attention, so we decided to go to a meet and greet at The Coffeeshop NE.

Jillia talked about her interest in community building and lifting each other up through strengthening local political power. She believes we can find solutions to the problems we face by engaging more people, by incorporating all of our voices.

We like Jillia’s openness and willingness to listen. We’re impressed by her deep experience and involvement in social justice issues on both a city and state level (the occupy homes movement and marriage equality to name just two). Jillia is a person willing to fight for us and has the tools to do just that.

With the powers that be on a national level trying to move us backward, we must concentrate on making real change in our neighborhoods. We need a leader who will advocate at City Hall for all of us and take action to address the racial disparities in our community, which are among the worst in the country.

Jillia is working hard to bring all of us to the table.  She is actively out in the community and having conversations with people. If you haven’t met Jillia yet, you should.

Community Endorsement: Megan Troyer

Community Endorsement: Megan Troyer

As a school psychologist in the Minneapolis Public Schools, I see that inequity is at the root of the biggest challenges our schools and scholars face; inequity of opportunity, inequity of resources, and inequity of outcomes for too many of our children and families. While some responsibility for these inequities falls on school district leadership, a large share also stems from deeply ingrained inequities in our city as a whole, which have been maintained as the status quo by our city for too long.

I’m supporting Jillia Pessenda for City Council to represent Ward One because she has a record of partnering with organizations and people of color, LGBT groups, families, and diverse small businesses to address these inequities. She shows up. She takes action. She is bringing more voices to the table.

Our current Ward One Council Member has too often taken a back seat rather than taking action on pressing issues such as:

  • police bias and brutality;
  • lack of adequate public transportation routes connecting neighborhoods of color (including lack of bus routes for students in North Minneapolis attending Edison High School);
  • industrial polluters making residents sick in neighborhoods along the river;
  • affordable housing;
  • living wages; and more.

Jillia will take action and lead towards justice and equity. She will represent the interests of the people over large corporations and taxpayer funded stadiums.

Community Endorsement: Dameun Strange

Community Endorsement: Dameun Strange

We need new and fresh leadership who will walk the walk and be committed to progress. That’s why I’m supporting Jillia Pessenda for Minneapolis City Council in Ward One.

As an artist and an arts advocate, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Jillia on several different fronts. Our paths intersected when Jillia was working with California Street Farm where we used art to talk about urban farming. As one of the co-founders, she was dedicated to changing city zoning for urban agriculture and market gardens. In this role, she also hired Step Up interns (high school students) who gained value urban agriculture experience and learned about community activism.

In addition to fighting for marriage equality for same-sex couples, Jillia and I also collaborated at Headwaters Foundation where Jillia was the Development Director and I am a member of their Board of Directors. We worked together to raise money that could be granted to organizations committed to dismantling racism and building bridges to find commonalities between communities.

Jillia is a knowledgeable thought partner. She understands the creative economy – she knows that Northeast Minneapolis is recognized as an arts district and understands the importance of keeping artists in Ward One. Artists are struggling to afford rent or studio space and the problem is only getting worse. Jillia has a bold vision to ensure artists and all of Ward 1 can afford to make this our home. Jillia  will work to increase funding for affordable housing, prioritize community land trusts to create perpetually affordable housing, and strengthen tenants' rights. 

I trust Jillia will ensure Ward 1 is an affordable place to live and work. She has the tenacity and follow through to see that this will happen. She has the courage to put people ahead of corporate politics. I urge you to make Jillia your first choice when you vote in November.

We'll all benefit from having Jillia on the Minneapolis City Council.

In solidarity,

Dameun Strange
Artist & Arts Advocate

Take Action MN Endorses Jillia

Take Action MN Endorses Jillia

TakeAction Minnesota is an organization focused on realizing racial and economic equity across Minnesota and on electing progressive leaders. They support candidates who: 

  • are bold leaders with a progressive vision, having life experience which demonstrates this bold vision
  • have an effective plan to win
  • have an understanding and ability to govern
  • will be a strong governing partner in the progressive movement

Jillia has a proven track-record of implementing progressive values, including working with community and government to bring more voices to the table and passing policies that make a positive impact. She knows that when we take action together, we can bring our collective vision to life.

NOC Endorses Jillia

NOC Endorses Jillia

Jillia is a longtime NOC member we first met through the Occupy movement. She has a brilliant instinct and proven track record for understanding policy related problems and working tirelessly until the problem is solved.

Through Occupy Homes, Jillia worked closely with NOC to bring the energy of the Occupy movement to support the people who were most impacted by the big banks’ policies -- homeowners facing unjust foreclosure. Jillia worked with homeowners and renters who were fighting to keep their homes, helping them navigate paperwork, bank policy, and city government, and led public pressure campaigns to change the policies forcing people out of their homes. She represented NOC in a coalition to pass the Minnesota Homeowner Bill of Rights, one of the strongest sets of homeowner protections in the country, which passed in May 2013 with near unanimous support.

Jillia’s demonstrated ability to combine service work, organizing, and policy solutions make her uniquely qualified to serve on the Minneapolis City Council. She leveraged the skills she used with Occupy Homes to help legalize urban agriculture on the Minneapolis City Council, while working with NOC to turn vacant city-owned lots into community gardens, and to the Capitol to work to pass marriage equality. She’s shown a remarkable ability to solve problems at both the individual and systemic level. Her leadership is exactly the approach we need on the Minneapolis City Council.

Jillia’s answers to our questionnaire revealed a complex understanding of how different systems impact our lives and how policy can help to change those systems. She understands how a lack of affordable childcare impacts our policing system, and how over policing leads to mass incarceration which limits participation in democracy.  She understands how to get to the root of a problem and she isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right, like fighting for a $15 minimum wage with no tip penalty and creating public safety models beyond policing, even before these issues became politically popular.

NOC members who are Ward 1 residents told us resoundingly in our caucus survey that Jillia is their choice to represent them on the City Council. We are thrilled to endorse her as our next Ward 1 City Council Member.

State Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Karen Clark Endorse Jillia

State Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Karen Clark Endorse Jillia

As residents of Minneapolis, we are deeply invested in the future of our city. We urgently need a pro-active City Council who will move our progressive values forward. That’s why we’re endorsing Jillia Pessenda in Ward One.

As Minneapolis legislators in the Minnesota House and Senate, we know Jillia has been actively involved in improving the quality of life for many and diverse communities throughout the state.  At this time four years ago, Jillia was working for Project 515 in support of the bill we co-authored for the freedom to marry for same sex couples -- families like ours. A year later, as a staff member at OutFront Minnesota, Jillia was back at the Capitol advocating for the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, which provides protections for all students, including those who identify as LGBTQ. Prior to that, Jillia was an advocate at the Minnesota legislature in 2012 and fought to protect homeowners from unjust foreclosures.

For me (Karen), I greatly appreciate the work Jillia did as a co-founder of California Street Farm, in collaboration with the Land Stewardship Project, to change city-zoning laws to allow urban agriculture and market gardens. When elected as the Ward One City Council Member, I trust Jillia will be the strong advocate we need for the Green Zone Policy Initiative, including urban farming and food justice, which is focused on mitigating the negative impact low-income communities and people of color experience in neighborhoods that are overburdened by environmental conditions such as traffic and industrial pollution as well as “food deserts”. Jillia will prioritize people over big business.

As the past chair and present ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on Transportation, Finance and Policy, I (Scott) trust that Jillia will not just promote and vote for policies like Complete Streets, she will take the action necessary to implement them. Jillia will fight for the kind of investments in transportation that will deliver on an agenda for equity and opportunity that everyone in Ward One and across Minneapolis deserves.

Jillia’s grassroots, people-powered campaign is empowering and engaging community members across Ward One. We believe that we will all benefit greatly from her principled leadership at City Hall.

Forward together!

Rep. Karen Clark

Sen. Scott Dibble

Community Endorsement: Cameran J. Bailey

When I was in college at Rutgers University, my roommate Theo Langason raved about Minneapolis and the neighborhood where he grew up, which was in Ward One. Fast-forward a few years and now I’m living here and working in the solar industry with my Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Minneapolis is as great as Theo said, BUT not for everyone. The racial disparities here are among the worst in the country. As someone who plans to make my career fostering strong, healthy cities, I believe the Minneapolis City Council must be progressive leaders and do more to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the existing disparities.

The first step is closing the educational opportunity gap. Our current City Council Member has done a lot to make Edison High School a green campus, but what has he done to address the basic needs of the students, 82% of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch? This number is 20% higher than the district average. Intentional action must be taken to support our most vulnerable in the community: our kids.

To me, supporting kids includes raising the minimum wage to $15 so that everyone has housing they can afford and families have money for groceries so students can go to school ready to learn. Jillia's working families agenda supports these things.

Her experience clearly demonstrates that she will be a strong advocate for marginalized community members. She was active in the Occupy Homes movement to fight unjust foreclosures and help people stay in their homes. She was also involved in the passage of the Minnesota Homeowners Bill of Rights that protects families from predatory lenders.

At Project 515, Jillia worked alongside so many others to win marriage equality for same-sex couples. And, as a staff member at OutFront Minnesota, she was part of the coalition that was responsible for passing the Minnesota Safe & Supportive Schools Act, the most comprehensive anti-bullying law in the country.

As you can tell, Jillia doesn’t sit around and wait to see what will happen. She takes action to improve the quality of life for all of us. Her grassroots, people-powered campaign is focused on empowering and engaging residents in our ward, many whose voices aren’t being heard at City Hall.

Cameran J. Bailey

Holland Neighborhood

Community Endorsement: Dan Hawkins & Mike Welter

We’re committed to our community and to having a strong representative on the City Council who will drive progressive issues forward.  That’s why we’ll be caucusing for Jillia Pessenda for City Council in Ward One on April 4.  

We appreciate the way Northeast has grown over the past decade and we want it to continue to develop, but in a planned way, so that we are protecting our neighborhoods, making them even more bike-friendly and limiting pollution. 

The Complete Streets policy, that the City Council recently passed, prioritizes people walking, biking and taking transit - over cars. Unfortunately, it has not been fully implemented on several high-profile projects. As a Council Member, we believe Jillia will not just promote and vote for policies like these that improve our neighborhoods, but will take the action necessary to implement them.

As a board member at OutFront Minnesota, I (Dan) had the opportunity to work with Jillia when she was on our Development team there. I appreciated Jillia’s transparent approach. She tells you what she is going to do - and then she does it.  Jillia also understands the real value of money. She knows how difficult it is to raise money and how thoughtful you must be when you make decisions on how to spend it.  I think both of these traits will serve her (and us) well as our City Council representative. 

We know Jillia will partner with community members to proactively create the progress we need to move our city forward.

Dan Hawkins & Mike Welter

Windom Park Neighborhood

Ward One

Community Endorsement: Jill Davis

I am excited to support Jillia Pessenda for Minneapolis City Council because I believe she represents the future of Ward One.

I take pride in having lived in Northeast all of my life, and I love the fact that I graduated from Edison High School and my son, Liam, did too. Even though I cherish that there are many families with deep generational roots here, the fact is that the demographics are growing more diverse. We need a council member who will ensure that every resident in Ward 1 feels welcomed in this community. A council member who is a strong voice advocating for them at city hall.Whether you are of Polish-American descent, from Somalia, Mexico, Duluth, or Wisconsin, Jillia will represent you at City Hall. 

As a former citywide member on the Minneapolis School Board (2009-2013 - the first person to be elected from Northeast in over 10 years), a community activist and DFL activist, and a 30 year social service professional, I understand the history of Ward One and the challenges we face. In this current political climate, status quo representation is no longer an option. Jillia has the courage and the capacity to face head-on the complex issues connected to racial, cultural and economic disparities. 

Jillia understands the importance of raising the minimum to a living wage of $15/hour without a tip penalty. She understands that unstable housing impacts children being able to function at school. She understands that if you don’t have accessible public transportation, a person can’t maintain steady employment or get to school or college. Jillia knows that if we don’t invest in sustainable environmental practices and safe neighborhoods, the very health of our community is negatively impacted. She understands the importance of investing in small businesses so that our community can thrive. However, she also knows that in her role as a council member, the greatest alliance and obligation she will have is to Ward One residents, not developers or downtown businesses.

Although, there has been great work done at Edison and the surrounding neighborhood, Jillia knows that more can be done for every neighborhood in Ward One. She will work hard to have a genuine working relationship with all 10 neighborhoods in Ward One and will facilitate resources and partnerships that will help each neighborhood thrive.

Jillia is the 21st century leader we need for Ward One. The fact that she is a female candidate is icing on the cake. Let’s make history and elect our first woman to the Minneapolis City Council here in Ward One.

Jill Davis

Former Minneapolis Public Schools Chairperson & Board Member 

Lifelong NE Resident - Waite Park Neighborhood

Community Endorsement: Kyle "Guante" Tran Myhre

Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre

The past few months have been tough. While I live right here in Northeast Minneapolis, my work as an artist and educator takes me all over the country—and the refrain I hear everywhere is the same: this is not normal. The national political climate has so many people frustrated, scared, and disillusioned, and I can’t blame them.

What I can do, however, is challenge myself to recognize the power that I have—that we have—to do something about it. And that work starts here.

I’m excited to endorse Jillia Pessenda as my city councilperson, because I believe that we can still do what’s right, no matter who is sitting in the White House. Jillia’s platform, from economic justice, to racial justice, to environmental justice and beyond, is not just acceptable; it’s bold, progressive, and proactive—exactly what we need right now.

More than anything, though, I’ll be caucusing for Jillia because, while she is a principled, capable, committed individual, she’s also surrounded by a team of staff and supporters who embody the idea that leadership is never just about one person’s brilliance; it’s about how we work together to make things happen. It’s about listening and growing. It’s about affirming the fact that when people stand together, no politician, from any party, can ignore us.

But don’t take my word for it. Read more about Jillia here, and consider caucusing with us on April 4. Thank you!

Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre

Artist, Educator, and Activist

Community Endorsement: Debbie Hahn Fisher, Windom Neighborhood

I am supporting Jillia Pessenda, who was featured in the December 14 issue of The Northeaster, because I want to be represented by a leader who has a clear vision for the future of our city and will bring the voices of Ward One to the table.

I don’t want to sit back and accept the status quo. I don’t want to relax and be comfortable because we have a good-enough City Council Representative and live in a generally-progressive neighborhood of a generally-progressive city.

 Good enough isn’t good enough right now. We need to elect a City Council member who will reflect and champion the values of our community and help implement progressive policies that move our city forward during this time. It’s not enough to just hold our ground. We need to engage and help our community, city, state, and country move forward. We can do this by paying attention and rolling up our sleeves at the local level. We can do this by caucusing for and electing Jillia Pessenda to the City Council from Ward One.

Jillia is my neighbor and I’ve experienced her looking out for others and being concerned about our community. I would love to see her passion and action on the City Council.

She is very clear about what she wants for Minneapolis and she is right on. We need publicly-funded elections, not publicly-funded stadiums. We need to support co-ops and small businesses. We need to enhance public transportation and rigorously enforce our plan to put people over cars when designing our streets. We need to actively focus on climate change and divest from polluters.

If the federal government won’t do it, the local one can. We can start by electing progressive champions like Jillia Pessenda.

Debbie Hahn Fisher
Windom Neighborhood

Community Endorsement: Dan Engelhart, Holland Neighborhood

There’s a lot of exciting things happening in Ward One, and we need a leader who will put the people of Ward One first, not big business. That’s why I’m supporting Jillia Pessenda for Minneapolis City Council.

I’ve lived in Northeast Minneapolis for 10 years. As a member of the Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee, I want a representative who will truly prioritize environmental justice. To me, this means focusing on industrial polluters who are damaging the health of the people who live here. This means committing to cleaning up the riverfront from the Plymouth Avenue Bridge to the northern city limits. This means taking action so that our neighborhoods aren’t overrun by luxury condos.

I know that Jillia will put our interests first. I know she will partner with my neighbors and me to be the champion we need for healthy neighborhoods. Jillia has a proven track record of working with community to pass policy to create healthier neighborhoods and she will continue to lead this work as our Ward One council member. 

Over the years, I’ve met with our current council member, but I’ve found that after a meeting with him, nothing happens. I am looking for a council member who will work with community members, respond to residents, and build meaningful coalitions to improve the quality of life in Ward One.

In light of the horrible things that are happening at a national level, I want to know that on the local level, I have the strongest advocate representing me at City Hall. Someone who is fighting for us, not big business. Jillia is that person. She is committed to grassroots people power. 

Join me in caucusing for Jillia on April 4.

State Representative and Edison Alum Ilhan Omar Endorses Jillia Pessenda

As an Edison High School graduate and former neighbor, Northeast Minneapolis is near and dear to my heart. I believe that the residents of Ward One deserve a Council Member who will listen to their concerns and amplify their voices at City Hall. Jillia Pessenda is that person, and that’s why I am endorsing her for City Council

She is grounded in grassroots, people-powered action. She knows that when we come together to solve our problems, we can create sustainable change.

You can endorse Jillia too by making a donation to her campaign.

Her success in changing city-zoning laws to allow urban farming and market gardening demonstrates that she has what it takes to be an effective leader and make an impact on the City Council. As the finance director of my campaign, I know Jillia’s work ethic. When she sets her mind on something, she maps out how it can be accomplished and then gets it done. So, when she says she will create a more just and visionary city in partnership with community members, it excites me.

Jillia will center her work around gender and racial justice. These are not just buzzwords to her. As a staff member at Project 515, she worked on the campaign to win marriage equality for same-sex couples. And at OutFront Minnesota, she was part of the coalition that passed the country’s most comprehensive anti-bullying bill, which provides protections for all students.

Jillia is committed to increasing the minimum wage to a living wage of $15 and will fight for stable workplace protections, like secure schedules. She will advocate to keep housing costs affordable, so no one is pushed out of the neighborhood. She will also invest in our neighborhoods by tackling climate change and providing support for small businesses as well as advancing opportunities for women artists, artists of color and LGBTQ artists.

If you live in Ward One, I urge you to caucus for Jillia on April 4. She will be a progressive champion for all of us and move our city forward!

In Unity and Justice,

Ilhan Omar