In a theater lobby in north Minneapolis, DFL gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza gathered with his supporters to share his vision for Minnesota, including standing up for people socially and economically.
Farhiya Iman traveled from St. Cloud State University to hear Entenza explain his gubernatorial aspirations in person. As a Somali student loosely connected to the campaign through a friend, Iman said she was recruited to reach the Somali population in Minnesota and urge its members to back Entenza.
“I feel like he’s putting out a hand toward minorities,” Iman, 21, said.
The junior said she is excited to see Entenza put forth an effort to address the needs of the Somali community that differ from the needs of other groups.
At his first campaign rally Monday, where about 60 people gathered in the Capri Theater lobby in north Minneapolis to show their support, Entenza described his desire to represent every community in Minnesota.
The sentiment was echoed by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., who said Minnesotans “deserve a good governor … it doesn’t matter where they live.”
Entenza said his campaign is trying to gain some momentum in north Minneapolis because it is a community facing some of the highest foreclosure and unemployment rates in the state, and it is one of the least visited by candidates. He said it needs to be included in the future plans of the state, the same as other parts of the Twins Cities and the towns beyond the metro area.
St. Paul Ward 1 City Councilman Melvin Carter threw his support behind Entenza, saying the former Minnesota House minority leader has proven his readiness to fight.
“Our challenges are at an all-time high. We need to eliminate the achievement gap,” Carter said. “We need a fighter in the office.”
Ellison highlighted a couple key principles to Entenza’s campaign: a green and prosperous economy and protection for consumers. Entenza said he would like to see Minnesota become more self-sufficient.
His plan would include raising taxes, and Entenza criticized Republican candidates, whom he said want to move Minnesota forward by “lowering its sights” in the form of spending cuts.
“Has anyone ever cut their way to greatness?” Entenza asked his crowd. “We’re not afraid to raise taxes and plow it back into education, health care and roads.”
With about a dozen DFL candidates still in the race, Entenza sought to set his campaign apart by emphasizing his experience in standing up to the current governor and fighting cuts to health care.
He said being a city’s mayor or passing some bills isn’t enough to equip a person to run the state.
Entenza represented St. Paul in the state Legislature from 1995 until 2006. He became the House minority leader in 2003 until he stepped down to run for Minnesota attorney general.
Entenza said he will begin touring the state to spread the word about his campaign before the August primary.
- Taryn Wobbema is a senior staff reporter.