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Minneapolis Park Board:
All five of MRLF’s endorsed candidates win races

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, November 17, 2017

By Steve Share, Labor Review editor

MINNEAPOLIS —The Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO endorsed five candidates for Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board — and all five candidates won their races in the November 7 elections. With all nine positions on the Park Board up for election, the result is a 5-4 majority of AFL-CIO endorsed candidates.

“We’re going to have a very different Park Board that’s aligned with our agenda and ran on our agenda,” said MRLF president Chelsie Glaubitz, addressing the MRLF delegate meeting the night after the election.

“I’m looking forward to working with the new board,” said Tony Kelly, field representative for City Employees Local 363, which represents park workers. “We’ve had great conversations throughout the campaign. I look forward to acting on what we talked about.”

Get-Out-The-Vote, November 5: Union members and other volunteers prepared to head out doorknocking for (left to right, front row) AFL-CIO endorsed Linea Palmisano (Ward 13, Minneapolis City Council), Brad Bourn (District 6, Minneapolis Park Board), Londel French (At Large, Minneapolis Park Board).

At Large: Londel French

Three At Large Park Board positions were on the ballot but the MRLF endorsed just one At Large candidate: Londel French. He placed third in first choice votes and maintained that third place position through four rounds of Ranked Choice Voting.

After the first round, French gained 3,639 votes — substantially more than the number of votes picked up by either the first place finisher, Latrisha Vetaw, or second place finisher, incumbent Meg Forney. In fact, the number of votes gained by French after four rounds of Ranked Choice Voting was almost equal to the combined gains of Vetaw and Forney.

French is a member of Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Local 59 and a former longtime union steward.

“I want to thank everybody who played a part in this campaign to make sure our parks are accessible for everyone,” French commented on Facebook. “We told the status quo that business as usual would not continue.”

District 2: Kale Severson

MRLF-endorsed Kale Severson won the open District 2 Minneapolis Park Board seat in the first round of Ranked Choice Voting. Severson received 5,089 first choice votes — nearly 57 percent of the votes cast in the two-candidate race.

District 3: A.K. Hassan

In the District 3 race for Minneapolis Park Board, MRLF-endorsed A.K. Hassan established a wide lead in first choice votes with more than 48 percent of the total 14,630 votes cast in the three-candidate contest. Round two of Ranked Choice Voting put Hassan over the top with nearly 53 percent of the vote.

District 4: Jono Cowgill

In the District 4 Minneapolis Park Board race, MRLF-endorsed Jono Cowgill faced a two-way contest with former Park Board commissioner Tom Nordyke, who had served from 2006-2009. First-time candidate Cowgill beat Nordyke by a margin of 6,794 to 6,615 — only 179 votes but enough to make Cowgill the winner in the first round of Ranked Choice Voting.

District 6: Brad Bourn

In the District 6 Minneapolis Park Board race, MRLF-endorsed incumbent Brad Bourn  faced two challengers in his bid for a third term. In the first round of Ranked Choice Voting, Bourn received 8,084 votes — almost 44 percent of the total. He led former Park Board commissioner Bob Fine, who received 7,491 votes, by a margin of 593 votes. The second round of Ranked Choice Voting dropped the third place finisher. In the second round, Fine picked up more votes than Bourn but Bourn still came out in first place. Bourn beat Fine by 314 votes out of a total 18,488 votes cast.

Indeed, every phone call, every door knocked, every vote counts!


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