‘Everybody can make a difference’
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 26, 2018
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
BLAINE — “My goal is to give Blaine better representation,” says Amir Malik. “I don’t think they’re well-represented, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican.”
Malik is running with AFL-CIO and DFL Party endorsement for House District 37B in Blaine. That was an open seat which DFL and labor-endorsed Susan Witt, a retired teacher, lost by just 168 votes two years ago to Republican Nolan West.
(Since then, West earned a low 16 percent AFL-CIO voting record).
Malik says he intended to support Witt for another run this year, but when she chose not to run again, he was persuaded to run for the seat himself.
Although Malik has lived for just two years in the district, he emphasizes that he’s committed to the community which has become home for himself, his wife and their four children. “I live in Blaine, my house is there, I’m raising my children there.”
Malik was attracted to Blaine, he says, because it reminded him of the small town where he grew up, Hoopeston, Illinois, about 100 miles south of Chicago.
He graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and then from New York University Law School.
He’s been a teacher and he currently works as a civil rights attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Years ago, Malik’s father, a food safety scientist, moved to the Twin Cities to work for Pillsbury. When a teenage Amir Malik had a first summer job at the Byerly’s in Golden Valley, he relates, he joined UFCW as a full member, even though it was optional for a part-timer. “Even when I was a kid I was pro-union,” he says. “The data make it clear what happens when you have unions and when you don’t.”
“If people are unhappy with government dysfunction, they need to show up at the polls,” Malik says. “168 votes —everybody can make a difference. Don’t tell me your vote isn’t going to matter.”
“If you believe in investing in Minnesota, you need to show that with your vote,” Malik urges.