Ward 3 is a robust part of the City of Minneapolis. The ward is comprised of major parts of the Downtown East and Downtown West neighborhoods, which are extremely business-heavy, as well as some of the largest residential neighborhoods in the city, including Marcy-Holmes, Northeast and North Loop. The act of balancing these incredibly important and diverse neighborhoods has fallen on the shoulders of Jacob Frey, the Ward 3 city council member for the past four years. However, Frey is running for the mayor of Minneapolis and the area will need a new leader.
We believe that Steve Fletcher should be the new leader and Ward 3 city council member. Fletcher is the DFL-endorsed candidate, a former small business owner, the founding executive director for MN Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and a University of Minnesota and New York University alumnus. He has been long involved in Ward 3 as a business owner, community organizer and citizen. His innate knowledge of Ward 3, as well as his experience engaging the community in different capacities, leaves him with the best all-around approach to tackling the issues facing the ward for the next four years.
With a large amount of Ward 3 being residential neighborhoods, the new council member needs to be able to tackle the issue of affordable housing, which is a concern throughout the city. Fletcher, we found, has the most comprehensive and realistic plan to attack this issue, starting with updating the zoning code, increasing density and granting tenants more protections. His integration of other policies into housing plans, such as updating the public transportation system, creating networks for residents to access City Hall, and making himself accessible to his constituents, sets him apart from other candidates.
Fletcher takes a multidimensional approach to many policies, which we feel is good for Ward 3 and, ultimately, good for University of Minnesota students. His accessibility and want to engage the community make him a great candidate for students and Ward 3 residents alike. Being a University of Minnesota alumnus, we feel he has the best grip on the needs of students and his plans tackling housing issues, tenant rights and public transportation greatly affect and benefit the lives of students.
Samantha Pree-Stinson is our second-ranked choice for Ward 3. Pree-Stinson is a Green Party candidate, U.S. Army Veteran and a former educator and Associate Director of Education at Corinthian Colleges. Her plans for affordable housing and approaches to business are also very well laid out, and her extensive knowledge about Ward 3 and its many issues make her an extremely viable candidate. Pree-Stinson’s specific want for transparency in the City Council set her above other candidates. She is a newcomer to the Minneapolis political landscape, however, that has not deterred her from having in-depth policies. She understands how to represent the student body at the University of Minnesota well, however, we felt that Steve Fletcher exhibited these traits slightly better and is part of the reason we ranked Pree-Stinson slightly behind Fletcher. She is, overall, an excellent candidate worthy of attention.
Our third choice for Ward 3 council member is Ginger Jentzen. The former executive director for 15 Now, the main organization pushing for a $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis, and current Socialist Alternative candidate has made a serious push in the Ward 3 race, breaking City Council fundraising records. Her main points include pushing for rent control, introducing a tenants bill of rights and advocating for change in many institutions across the city. Jentzen’s ability to mobilize and organize is remarkable, however, we felt her policies were less realistic, making her fall short of both Fletcher and Pree-Stinson.
Tim Bildsoe, who was not interviewed by us, was left off our ranks. He is a Wells Fargo insurance manager, a former 16-year Plymouth city council member and a DFL candidate for Ward 3.
Overall, we believe Steve Fletcher’s approach to affordable housing, business and transportation is the most specific, realistic and executable. His ability to connect to the people of Ward 3, prioritizing listening and turning that information into action sets him above other candidates. Samantha Pree-Stinson offers a good alternative to Fletcher. We hope the new Ward 3 city council member can tackle the issue of affordable housing quickly and efficiently. This issue affects a large portion of the student body and fixes need to materialize quickly. Hopefully, the Ward 3 city council member elected may solve this issue and benefit every resident of Ward 3 and students at the University of Minnesota.