This year looks to contain a rather unusual and exciting off-year election cycle for the city of Minneapolis. Foremost is the mayoral race, in which multiple candidates have already announced their candidacies for Mayor RT Rybak’s position at City Hall. Among those candidates is the Council Member for the 13th ward, Betsy Hodges, which in turn opens up her own seat on the Council. So far there have been two announced candidates for this seat: Linea Palmisano of Linden Hills, and Matt Perry of East Harriet. The Examiner was privileged to sit down for an interview with Ms. Palmisano and has extended an invitation to Mr. Perry for the same.
Ms. Palmisano has lived in the Linden Hills area for 14 years. She grew up in Chicago and has also lived in Cleveland. She attended school at both the U of M and Notre Dame University. She has worked for IBM, currently works for United Health Group, and coached track for Southwest High School. Ms. Palmisano also served as the chair of the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council for four years and is currently on the Linden Hills Farmers Market Board of Directors. She founded the NAVIGATE MN program, which according to campaign literature is “an organization to help immigrant youth overcome barriers in pursuit of higher education.” She told the Examiner that her experience with immigrant students at SW High School made her realize that they don’t always receive the proper help they need to get into higher education. She has also helped to pass deferred legislation to help expand the program to the entire state of Minnesota. She said this program aims to create understanding that “everyone is responsible for the school system – not just the school board.” Ms. Palmisano was also instrumental in creating Southwest Pedal Power, a project that lobbied for bike trails in the Linden Hills area, both in the community and through City Hall. As a follow-up comment, Ms. Palmisano wrote:
I think the example set by initiating Southwest Pedal Power speaks to my interest in living in a more sustainable community. With development, it should never be about trading this value as we think about urban growth.
When asked about what the major issue she will be running on, Ms. Palmisano told the Examiner it would be “development.” She spoke about the need to accommodate the many people who will be moving to the Twin Cities in the next few years and the need for transportation systems such as light rail. She also spoke of the need for small area business plans in the Linden Hills area and to work with the community and the City Council on these matters. Some more issues that will come up during this race can be found on her campaign website.
Regarding what she likes best about the 13th ward, Ms. Palmisano said it was the people of the area. She said she enjoys the neighborhood and that she can find almost everything close to her home. She also said the park system is “better than any city (she’s) lived in” and that the citizens take good care of them. Ms. Palmisano also spoke of the need to do more, including cleaning up pollution in and around Lake Calhoun.
Ms. Palmisano had some kind words for the person she hopes to replace on the Council. She said CM Hodges always had a “big-city vision,” was a “good financial steward of property tax money,” and connected with her fellow residents on the issues they felt were important. Ms. Palmisano said she hopes to continue Ms. Hodges’ legacy of a good relationship with the ward.
When asked about what got her involved in local politics, Ms. Palmisano cited CM Hodges and her neighborhood association. She also said she has been inspired by Council Members Cam Gordon and Elizabeth Glidden. She spoke of a desire to change things “where we live” in local neighborhoods.
Ms. Palmisano said there are a few important dates in the upcoming election cycle. First are the DFL precinct caucuses on April 16th. The ward convention for the endorsement takes place May 11. Ms. Palmisano said she expects the mayoral election to drive “unprecedented” amount of people to the polls in an area of the city that already has a high voter turnout.
The Examiner was in attendance for Ms. Palmisano’s campaign kickoff at the Turtle Bread restaurant in Linden Hills February 7. The candidate gave her opening speech among a crowd of roughly forty citizens. She gave a basic outline of her experience and background, saying she had worked with the community “behind the scenes” but was now moving to the level of elected office. She also asked for volunteers to her campaign and for people to come out to the DLF precinct caucus in April.
Linea Palmisano is running for City Council for Minneapolis in the 13th ward.