Ward 3 Minneapolis City Council Candidate Samantha Pree-Stinson said she dreams of a city that’s equitable for all.
Promoting equity for all residents, she said, is critical for narrowing employment gaps and reducing poverty rates.
“If … you don’t have any assets, you’re not going to have anything to pass onto your children, and you will stay in a perpetual cycle of poverty. That’s what we’ve seen in Minneapolis,” said Pree-Stinson, who’s endorsed by Green Party of Minnesota.
Pree-Stinson said she believes her humble upbringing, military service and passion for social issues will help her win the election on Nov. 7. If elected, Pree-Stinson hopes to address inequity and student issues in Ward 3, which covers Marcy-Holmes and Dinkytown. The Ward 3 city council seat, currently held by Jacob Frey, was vacated due to Frey's Minneapolis mayoral candidacy.
“The lens that I come from is growing up and having absolutely nothing, and having to figure out how to have something,” Pree-Stinson said.
She grew up in Los Angeles and views herself as an intersectional woman due to her African-American and Hispanic ancestry.
Pree-Stinson came to Minnesota during her senior year of high school in 1998. She later took a job as a medical assistant in 2001 after obtaining an associate’s degree from Minneapolis Business College.
But her path changed after 9/11.
“I wanted to find my voice, I wanted to find my inner-strength and I wanted to do something that was bigger than myself,” she said.
Pree-Stinson joined the Army in 2003, achieving the rank of sergeant after two years. She served as a combat medic in Afghanistan in 2006 — a time where she lost four squad mates during her deployment, including her best friend.
“That really changed my perspective to how I saw the world,” she said.
After returning home in 2007, Pree-Stinson held jobs at many organizations, including the Everest Institute, Medtronic and the Global Women’s Leadership Network.
“I did a lot of advocacy work at my time at Medtronic not just for patients, but for actual employees,” Pree-Stinson said.
She decided in December to mobilize her advocacy experience into an election bid for the city’s Ward 3 seat. Pree-Stinson is vying for the council spot alongside DFL-endorsed candidate Steve Fletcher, Tim Bildsoe andGinger Jentzen. Pree-Stinson edged out Jentzen for the Green Party's endorsement.
“I decided to run because we do not have a reflective democracy in Minneapolis,” Pree-Stinson said. “This particular seat has never had a woman of color in the position.”
As of Aug. 4, Pree-Stinson's campaign raised nearly $22,000, according to Hennepin County documents.
She said she plans to bridge economic gaps between residents through financial literacy programs and pathways to home and small business ownership.
Pree-Stinson’s platform earned her the recognition — and endorsement — of Minneapolis mayoral candidate Nekima Levy-Pounds.
Levy-Pounds said she sees Pree-Stinson as the best candidate for Ward 3 because of her community engagement experience and military background.
“[Pree-Stinson] is also not beholden to organizations or groups that would hinder her ability to make decisions that are in the best interests of the residents of Northeast,” she said.
Ward 2 City Council Member and fellow Green Party member Cam Gordon also endorsed Pree-Stinson.
“I’m enthusiastically supporting her. She’s ready to solve problems. … Her genuineness will really touch people, and … she’s going to do a better job representing folks once she’s here,” Gordon said.
Pree-Stinson said she wants to identify more opportunities to fuel affordable housing growth.
Maximizing housing bonds and utilizing the City’s downtown asset fund, which finances large municipal projects, could positively impact neighborhoods by establishing or augmenting housing programs, she said.
“I call it a stadium-size investment in people,” Pree-Stinson said.
She said she would also like to establish a stronger relationship with the University of Minnesota by establishing a student-advisory committee for Ward 3.
The committee would help ensure student issues are brought to the forefront, she said.
“I want to make sure that those issues that somebody that is not in college doesn’t … have visibility to, I want to make sure that those things are in my ear,” Pree-Stinson said.