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This Is Our Moment

Angela Conley / Hennepin County Commissioner - District 4

Angela Conley

Hennepin County Commissioner - District 4
Nonpartisan

I’ve been a recipient of County services. I’m a County employee. And I’m running to be our County Commissioner in District 4.

 

For over 20 years I have worked to improve the lives of our most vulnerable populations working for both the State of Minnesota and Hennepin County. Seeing holes in these systems and how small inefficiencies made for bigger inequities led me to work within the County to improve those services.

 

We live in the most diverse district in the County, but our leadership doesn’t reflect this. I am running to amplify community voices in decision-making and make the County Board a true reflection of the diverse communities it serves. We must center the lives of working people, families, renters, communities of color, and indigenous communities in our work.

 

We deserve leaders who go out of their way to inform and educate their constituents about essential parts of our government—our current Commissioner has not made these efforts during his 27 years in office.

 

I am dedicated to making the County a more effective and inclusive form of government.

 

– Angela

 

 

Priorities

 

Racial Equity & Justice

Racial disparities in Minnesota are among the worst in this nation. We must make constant forward progress toward equity and justice for all people living and working in Hennepin County. I have served for two years on the Adult Mental Health Local Advisory Council, and in this work I have seen the importance of community leadership in finding the right solutions to the problems that affect them. It is time to raise up the voices of those whose lives are constantly and relentlessly impacted by the color of their skin, whose voices have gone unheard and are continuously ignored.

 

  • I will form the first-ever Hennepin County Racial Equity Advisory Council. Upon election, my first act as commissioner will be to propose a resolution to establish this council and begin accepting applications.
  • This council will consist of at-large members, community activists working to reduce disparities, and members of target populations from various ethnic backgrounds bearing the brunt of inequality in our county.
  • Each year, this council will present the board with budget priorities based on unmet needs within the county that specifically address inequity.

 

Service delivery

As a county, we must move toward a model of integration and co-location of county human and social services to reduce the burden on families and individuals needing career guidance, housing, healthcare and other supports. Black and Indigenous children are overwhelmingly represented in out-of-home placements within our child protection system. Healthy families means whole families and, as a mother, it is critical that family preservation is a top priority.

 

  • I will work with department heads from key areas to create a task force that will develop a plan that integrates service delivery using technology and shared resources, and identifies families and individuals accessing multiple services at once.
  • Together we will simplify the process for people and families in need of services by developing strategies that align services and establish teams, using coordination that removes the need for multiple case workers.
  • Passing the African-American Family Preservation Act (HF3973) is critical and I will work with the legislature however I can so this bill, which will provide better support and intervention before out-of-home placements occur, is passed. My work on this will be led by community leaders already active in the fight to reduce disparities in Hennepin County’s child protection system.

 

Housing

Housing is one of our most basic needs, and far too many residents of Hennepin County live in unstable or insecure housing situations. Like so many things, these problems disproportionately affect people of color, indigenous people, and immigrants. Hennepin County is uniquely positioned to lead housing reform and address this crisis in our communities.

 

  • I will invest in housing that is accessible specifically to low-income communities and our working poor along existing and future public transit expansions.
  • I will expand the reach of HUD funding to address gaps in service delivery for people experiencing homelessness. I will advocate for supportive and transitional housing as a solution.
  • I will work with the board to align our priorities with community needs and expand the reach of HRA funding into the city.

 

Safe, Accessible, and Affordable Transportation

I used to be that single mother on the bus with a stroller, so I understand the importance of a strong public transportation system. Our district continues to develop rapidly and absolutely must provide multiple options for transportation. I will support our transit operators and prioritize safety, accessibility, and affordability for all transit riders, cyclists, and pedestrians.

 

  • I will collaborate with the Metropolitan Council to expand the Transit Assistance Program by uncovering potential funding opportunities. I will partner with cities to plan intersection design to decrease collisions and fatalities. This partnership would bring impacted community members (cyclists, drivers, pedestrians, rail operators, and bus drivers) into state, city, and county planning.
  • I will work with the City of Minneapolis to improve winter maintenance of bikeways and sidewalks, to better manage snow and ice. I will work with city council members to evaluate costs and set a clear policy for snow clearing that is not limited to roads.
  • I will prioritize community voices around transportation needs in all future development Hennepin County takes part in. The community has called for bus rapid transit (BRT) on Chicago Ave, where the route 5 bus currently runs, connecting Bloomington to Brooklyn Center (D Line). This is the highest ridership route in the region, cutting right through the 4th district. I am a strong supporter of the D Line and will seek funding from county resources to bring this line to fruition.
  • I will work hard to continue Minneapolis’ bike-friendly designation, and collaborate with community and all levels of local government to identify county roads for new, protected bike lanes and secure the funding necessary for their design, building, and maintenance.

 

Workers’ Rights

I have spent many years of my working life covered by a collective bargaining agreement; with AFSCME during my earlier years at Hennepin County, and then MAPE during my years working for the State of Minnesota. My deep labor roots have shown me that when we lock arms together, we can move mountains. 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.

 

  • I will elevate and prioritize the rights of workers wherever they intersect with County business.
  • I will always fight for your right to unionize and work without fear of exploitation and abuse, to be paid a living wage, and to take time off for your health and the health of your family.
  • I support a $15 minimum wage with no carve outs.
  • I believe in the power of living, breathing solidarity and I pledge to take your voices with me to the board room.

 

Policing & Criminal Justice Reform

Across the country and locally, we have seen activists elected to public office as the critical next step in addressing the epidemic of state-sanctioned violence against Black, Brown and Indigenous populations.  Representation matters. Our communities must be reflected at all levels of government in order to effectively take on and overcome this problem. If elected, I will be the first ever Black Commissioner to serve Hennepin County. As a social worker, I know the importance of social justice advocacy alongside activism. Just as I have stood up against injustices in the streets, I will do the same in my elected office.

 

  • I will work with judges, community activists, previously incarcerated youth and adults to eliminate the cash bail system, which criminalizes people for being poor. Eliminating this system will also save the county money.
  • I will work to enact policy that requires low-level offenses be met with restorative justice instead of jail. Hennepin County is behind the times when it comes to alternatives to incarceration, and I will champion initiatives that work.

 

Environment

We have a right to clean air and water in our communities. Hennepin County has a responsibility to lead development projects that prioritize environmental health. I will use my voice on the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners to advocate for common-sense clean air and water solutions.

 

  • I will help move our board to divest from fossil fuels by updating county-owned vehicles to electric or hybrid. I would also push Metro Transit to convert its fleet of buses, including those part of Bus Rapid Transit, to electric. Buses are uniquely positioned to function well as green transport, as they have common routes and carry lighter loads than other large transport options.
  • I will evaluate phasing out the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC), a garbage-burning facility in downtown Minneapolis. In addition to the toxins produced by burning, the byproduct produces solid toxic waste that is transported to landfills. Those most affected by environmental degradation, such as poor air quality, are often communities of color. Phasing out HERC aligns with my goal of promoting environmental justice.
  • I will push for Hennepin County to ban the use of plastics, which overwhelmingly harm our environment. Plastic production is fossil fuel intensive, and plastics are hard on our landfills and our wildlife and livestock. A plastics ban would establish our county as a leader in green consumerism in the area. I would ensure that small businesses and low-income communities are not disproportionately affected by a ban. The county can institute a phase-out program with appropriate guidance for small businesses, and exemptions and/or subsidies for WIC- eligible consumers.

 

About Me

I’m running to reduce the inequity that I’ve seen across county departments, as an employee in Health and Human Services.

 

I currently serve as the Operations Coordinator for Family Public Assistance at Hennepin County. I manage outcomes for 16 non-profits contracted by the county to provide services for people living in extreme poverty.

 

My QUALIFICATIONS

  • 20 years of work experience in public services, including Hennepin County and the State of Minnesota
  • Direct case management working with homeless adults

  • Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Hamline University, St. Paul
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, St. Catherine University, St. Paul
  • President of Bryant Neighborhood Association
  • former Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) Union member

 

My Story

I was born and raised in South Minneapolis.  My family lived very close to Bde Maka Ska where I taught myself to swim.  I am the youngest of three daughters born to a mother and father who were hard, union workers in the labor industry.  Around the age of 12 my family and I moved East of 35W into the Phillips neighborhood. My fondest memories include watching the fireworks with friends at Powderhorn Park, walking my children around Lake Nokomis, swimming in Lake Hiawatha and viewing the fall colors along the Mississippi River.  The Southside continues to be my heart and my home.

 

I am renting my home and raising my family in the historic Bryant neighborhood in South Minneapolis.  A beautifully rich and diverse community which is home to the first integrated homes in Minneapolis and, as such, my neighborhood received historic designation status by our City Council in 2017.  I am proud to serve as the President of Bryant Neighborhood Organization where I can listen to my neighbors, build community and take the lead on neighborhood priorities. I am a mom to two sons and two daughters.  We enjoy family movie nights, working in our yard, playing at Phelps Park and relaxing in our home with our big cats Max and Jacob.

 

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.  I received my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from St. Catherine University and Master’s degree in Public Administration from Hamline University. I am running to be the next District 4 County Commissioner to include the voices of our families and communities in every decision the County makes that impact our lives.

 

 

You can learn more about Angela Conley here.