Lisa Bender is my choice for who should represent and lead Ward 10 at the Minneapolis City Council. Lisa is a thoughtful, passionate person who has focused on tangible results that improve peoples’ lives and communities. Simply put, Lisa provides me confidence that she is most the most likely candidate who can help us thrive, maximize opportunities, and tackle issues.
How I met Lisa
I met Lisa back in 2009. I had gotten into bike commuting year round a year or two earlier and was becoming more concerned about safety on our streets. After a particularly deadly 2008 and the unpopular/dangerous arrival of the 1st/Hennepin conversions Downtown, a group of bikers assembled on Halloween to discuss the best strategies to improve safety. Lisa provided leadership at that meeting, suggesting that a formal, standalone bike advocacy group for city issues was precedented and possible. She and others went on to create the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, which has really organized the fragmented bike community to help improve our streets. Today, Minneapolis has more and better-designed bike lanes as the result of their efforts in working with the City and County.
Since then, I have gotten to know her family and discuss a variety of urban issues. We share such similar values and love for the possibilities of our city, that I was excited when she stated her interest in running.
Why Results Matter
A lot of people would make fine city council members. Most of the time, I agree with most of our council members on the issues. But what makes a city council member GREAT is when they can truly enhance our community and do so over and over and over again. It requires active policy making. It requires pulling the right resources and people together to solve our city’s problems.
The challenges we face in this city are real and they are complex. They require passion, care, and hard work to resolve. It takes a collaborator, a resource manager, a facilitator. We live in a time where the city’s revenue is scarce, so we must find creative solutions that leverage resources from other partners, whether private, public, or from foundations. They require pulling together stakeholders to dive into the issues, address next steps, and find resources.
My experience in Uptown is that the Uptown Small Area Plan was created and put on the shelf, only to be referenced when a developer came along. The vision set forth in the plan relies almost entirely on other people to execute it. While the neighborhoods and business associations could pull together and try and find a way to implement its vision, the City could be doing so much more to help guide that process. The City Council member could convene a task force to do so, but that hasn’t happened since the plan’s adoption in 2007.
The key is taking advantage of opportunities, empowering the community to make strides, and pushing the City enterprise to implement where possible.
Lisa is a hard worker, she has a passion for creating a thriving community, and sees more people wanting to participate and join our community as an asset. The people of Ward 10 are diverse and they deserve a council member who will respect their varied opinions by actively listening and partnering with them on solutions.
Lisa’s experience in city planning, advocacy at the city level, and working with governments across the State on issues of schools and transportation, make her an ideal candidate who can get things done.
There are plenty of good candidates in Ward 10 to choose from, and I’ll certainly work with whomever is elected to improve our community, but Lisa is my choice because I think she will be a great champion for the Ward and City by focusing on results.