Next up in our DFL Candidate series–Mitra Jalali Nelson, Ward 4 Council Member. We asked Mitra a few questions too. Here are her answers:
Why did you decide to run?
I ran for City Council in 2018 to be a new progressive voice for the future of our city. I’m running for my first full term this year to keep leading change in four key areas: attainable and affordable housing and home ownership, community-first public safety, transportation and sustainability, and building our community wealth. I’m also running to do something much bigger and deeper, which is to change the way our government engages with residents. I believe that no matter how long you’ve lived here or where you call home, you have a stake and a say in the future of our city. In this time of great change and potential for our city’s future, I’m running to keep organizing for progress that brings all of us with it.
How do you see your ward 30 years from now?
I would love our part of the city, and all of St. Paul, to be a thriving, safe community where everybody has a great place to live, a well-paying job that amply covers the costs of living and gives people something leftover to save or reinvest in our local economy, where our city-funded parks and library systems are even more equitable and accessible to all kids and families, where public transportation is free and equitably built out throughout our city to reduce our dependency on cars, where our imagination around public safety has grown beyond punishment and incarceration to instead support a range of interventions for youth and people struggling with a range of issues, where our elected and community leaders fully reflect the experiences and values of those who live here, and where everyone can fully be who they are.
How do you plan to govern in a way that is inclusive, creative and equitable?
I ran for City Council not only to take action on the issues facing our city’s future, but to change the way our city engages with residents. I’ve returned regular office hours to Ward 4 in all our neighborhoods, have pushed for district council reform and resources to ensure these city-funded engagement bodies are more innovative and representative, organized our first-ever Renter Voice Summit and am leading the 2020 Census effort in Ramsey County so that all of us can be counted. I ran to bring everybody to the table, and I’m running again to keep opening up our processes to all.
What’s the last book you read?
I’m currently reading The Green New Deal by Jeremy Rifkin. It lays out the case for a massive rethinking and public investment in our economic and energy infrastructure for both action on climate and a more sustainable world.
Favorite restaurant/ dish in St. Paul or your ward.
On’s Thai Kitchen off the Snelling stop of the Green Line is the undefeated champion.
Tell us a fun fact about your ward.
Nearly half of all local St. Paul breweries are located in Ward 4, and we also have the first-ever Ethiopian consulate office, the longtime Eritrean Community Center, historic Korean, African and African-American businesses in the Midway, and so many more unique ‘first’ or ‘historic’ features that tell our diverse city story. I’m so proud to represent us at City Hall!
Visit Mitra’s campaign online at: https://www.mitranelson.com.
Connect with Mitra’s campaign on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mitrajnelson/.