Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Three candidates seek District 4 Hennepin County Board seat

Posted on 23 July 2018 by calvin

Three South Minneapolis residents are vying for the District 4 Commissioner seat, and the field will be narrowed to two after the primary on Aug. 14.
Any race in Hennepin County that has more than two candidates will be narrowed by a primary election.

Angela Conley
Angela Conley seeks to be the first ever Black Commissioner to serve Hennepin County.

If elected, Conley promises to amplify community voices in decision-making. She would also prioritize a massive reduction in the amount of inequity across all county departments, and seek to make the 4th district seat on the County Board a true reflection of the diverse communities it serves and a safe place for all to inform policy decisions.

Toward that end, she would form the first-ever Hennepin County Racial Equity Advisory Council.

Conley believes that it is critical to preserve families through social service programs that offer career guidance, housing, health care and other supports. She supports passing the African-American Family Preservation Act (HF3973).

She believes that the lack of housing affects too many people of color, indigenous people, and immigrants, and would lead housing reform to address this crisis.
Conley used to be that single mother on the bus with a stroller and says she understands the importance of a strong public transportation system.

Conley has spent many years of her working life as a social worker covered by a collective bargaining agreement; with AFSCME during her earlier years at Hennepin County, and then MAPE during her years working for the state of Minnesota. “My deep labor roots have shown me that when we lock arms together, we can move mountains,” said Conley. “The cornerstone of this campaign is building community power, and nowhere is that power more visible than in the achievements of working people collectively bargaining for better lives for themselves and their families.”

She would seek to address “the epidemic of state-sanctioned violence against Black, Brown and Indigenous populations” by eliminating the cash bail system and enacting policy that requires low-level offenses be met with restorative justice instead of jail.

Conley also supports common-sense clean air and water solutions.

Born and raised in South Minneapolis, Conley currently rents a home in the Bryant neighborhood with her four children.

“For nearly 20 years I have worked tirelessly to change systems at the macro level, both at the state and county, in ways that are holistic, person-first and seamless,” said Conley.

Past volunteer work includes President of Bryant Neighborhood Organization, and two years on the Adult Mental Health Local Advisory Council. Endorsements include Take Action MN, Women Winning, Survivors Lead, Our Revolution – Twin Cities, Minnesota Young DFL, and an “A” rating from the Stonewall DFL Caucus.

Megan Kuhl-Stennes
Endorsed by the Green Party, Megan Kuhl-Stennes has spent the past ten years cultivating a family, an urban farm, and a passion for zero waste.

“I have devoted my professional life to moving us to zero waste, which centers on designing and managing products and processes in a way that eliminates threats to our health and the environment. The principles and values of zero waste can guide decisions beyond how we treat physical objects,” stated Kuhl-Stennes.

Her priorities include implementation of a truly zero waste plan within the county; community engagement and empowerment to make all people in the county active agents in establishing and implementing priorities; affordable child care that will also build capacity for small, family-owned businesses and working parents; urban food systems and access to high quality, local, organic food; a basic income guarantee to establish a universal, unconditional, regular payment from the county that would be enough to live on; and implementation of ranked choice voting in Hennepin County.

She advocates for decriminalizing the personal possession, use, or sale of all drugs for those 18 and older and shifting resources from these “racist practices of criminalization to more effective preventative health approaches” to decrease drug abuse and the conditions that lead to addiction.

“Instead of simply maintaining the status quo, we have the resources, money, and energy to make far-reaching changes that address the root causes of community concerns: income inequality, climate change, lack of accessible and effective health care, and lack of access to quality housing,” said Kuhl-Stennes.

Raised in Dubuque, Iowa, she graduated from the College of St. Benedict-Saint John’s University with a degree in environmental studies and a minor in theology. Following college, she lived in the Phillips neighborhood during a year of volunteer service with the St. Joseph Worker Program, and has owned a home in East Phillips Neighborhood since 2010 with her partner and three-year-old son.

As a 10-year employee of Eureka Recycling, Kuhl-Stennes works in customer service, community engagement, and advocacy. At Eureka, she pushed to stop recent legislative attempts to preempt local laws and led the fight in 2017 against the preemption of plastic bag bans and fees at the state legislature.

Other experience includes: Spirit of St. Stephen’s Catholic Community, Community Council member (2012-2013), and chair (2014-2015); Eco Education, Board of Directors member (2011-2013); Minnesota Environmental Fund, Board of Directors member (2017-current); and 5th Congressional District Green Party, Steering Committee member (2011-2014, 2016-2017).

Peter McLaughlin
Peter McLaughlin has focused on investing Hennepin County resources in ways that will build a strong, urban, regional center.

He championed the Hiawatha LRT when nobody thought it could be built, and continues to support building out the LRT system. He presently serves as chair of the Counties Transit Improvement Board, which advocates for the expansion of the transit system.

McLaughlin helped develop a comprehensive county bicycle transportation plan and create a bicycle gap funding program to expand non-motorized transportation options. He advocated for the construction of Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis, which serves multiple light rail, commuter rail, and intercity passenger rail lines, as well as pedestrians, bicyclists, and bus riders.

He worked to achieve a merger with the Hennepin County Library System when the system was shuttering libraries and supported renovating and modernizing its buildings.
McLaughlin authored the resolution making Hennepin County one of the founding members of Cool Counties, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.

He serves as chair of Fort Snelling Upper Post Task Force, Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, and County Administration Committee. His priorities also include workforce development as retiring Baby Boomers could mean the loss of 32% of Hennepin County’s workforce.

“Thank you for supporting my work on economic and social justice, elimination of the education gap, fair taxes, and a transportation system that is reliable, affordable and sustainable,” said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1971, and his master’s degree from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in 1977. He moved to Minnesota in 1975 and resides in the Standish-Ericsson neighborhood with his wife and daughter.

Over the years he has started and joined many community service organizations, including Phillips Partnership and the Midtown Community Works Partnership; and he’s served on the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners since 1991. Before that, McLaughlin served three terms in the Minnesota Legislature.

He has been endorsed by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, AFSCME Minnesota Council 5, and the Hennepin County staff line workers, among others. He also received  an “A” rating from the Stonewall DFL Caucus.