MINNEAPOLIS -- The leading candidates for city council in Minneapolis Ward 9 all stand to make history if elected.
Alondra Cano would be the first Mexican immigrant ever elected to the council. Ty Moore would be the first socialist in modern history elected to any office in Minneapolis, and Abdi Abdulle would be the first Somali on the council.
Moore, who is endorsed by the Green Party, is running under the Socialist Alternative banner, but he doesn't think that label next to his name on the ballot will cost him any votes.
"This is one of the most working class and racially diverse wards in the whole city," Moore told KARE.
The ward straddles the busy East Lake Street corridor in the Midtown area southeast of downtown Minneapolis.
"It also has strong left wing and activist traditions, and I think that's one of the reasons we're doing so well here."
Moore is a community organizer and co-founder of Occupy Homes, the protests movement that works to delay and stop evictions from foreclosed homes.
"We think there's an inequality in how resources are distributed, and working people need a voice in City Hall, so that's why I'm running, to put people over profits," said Moore, who is encouraged by strong fundraising results.
Cano came to Minnesota from Mexico as a child, and grew up in Litchfield. She moved to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota, where she became involved in advocacy efforts for immigrants.
"This is a really good opportunity I think for that vision and that story of immigration, of coming here, really empowering and owning your own story," Cano told KARE.
"And being able to help government serve people by infusing it with our voices and our own experiences."
Cano was endorsed by the DFL party, and has the support of Congressman Keith Ellison and many of the DFL state lawmakers in Minneapolis.
"I feel honored to be mentored by people such as Representative Karen Clark and Congressman Ellison," she said.
In the past decade she has worked behind the scenes on immigrant rights issues, and helping to build momentum at the State Capitol for the Dream Act, a bill providing for in-state tuition for high school graduates who as children entered the US without permission with their parents.
"So for voters I just ask them to really think about who can be the most effective voice to ensure that the radical changes we want to see in this community are actually enacted," Cano remarked.
Abdi Abdulle is a Somali immigrant and business owner who said he'll make teen violence prevention one of his top priorities.
"Right now the city has programs for youth but the word doesn't get out of city hall, and we need to see the City, the schools and the police work together to help south Minneapolis function more as a community."
Abdulle said the city council needs someone who can understand the immigrant community, and work for more inclusiveness.
"This city is changing rapidly, and this is our chance to be on the right side of history," he told KARE.
Ranked Choice Alliance
On the final weekend of the campaign season Abdulle formed an alliance with Cano, designed to use the Ranked Choice Voting system in a way that will increase the odds of electing an immigrant to the council.
Abdulle will urge his supporters to make Cano their second choice on the ballots, and Cano, likewise, will urge her backers to make Abdulle their second choice.
"Now is the right time we can elected a leader that can understand the issue of immigrants, a leader than understand the diverse community, a multi-cultural immigrant," Abdulle asserted.
It's also a move aimed at depriving Ty Moore of both candidate's second choice voters, in the event that the election is decided by those second and third choice votes in the RCV system.
But Moore has also made inroads in the Latino community, with a sizeable contingent of first generation Mexican immigrants volunteering for his campaign.
Cano seemed to take that development in stride.
"Like any other voter, Latinos can choose who they support and who they want," Cano said.
"But I have by far the greatest level of support from the Latino immigrant community. They've seen the work I've done for years to enact real policy changes."
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