Voter Guide: Ward 1

Updated: October 20, 2017 – 2:02 pm

Ward 1

Ward 1 includes much of Northeast Minneapolis, from the Columbia Park and Waite Park neighborhoods in the north to the Mid-City Industrial and Como neighborhoods south of Interstate 35W.

Incumbent Kevin Reich seeks a third term as the City Council’s leader on the East Side. Reich ran for office following several years leading a Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood organization and continues to work on projects he started before joining the council.

Reich has become a known advocate for the area’s breweries, being an early champion of the Surly Bill that made the local brew boom possible. He’s also worked on the development of several affordable housing projects, such as a newly opened HIV/AIDS supportive housing complex dubbed Marshall Flats.

Reich failed to garner the Minneapolis DFL endorsement because of Jillia Pessenda, a former finance director for state Rep. Ilhan Omar’s campaign. Pessenda has worked on the advocacy side on several issues, such as marriage equality with Project 515 and OutFront Minnesota, homeowners rights with Occupy Homes Minnesota and anti-bullying legislation like the Minnesota Safe & Supportive Schools Act.

Pessenda, a cofounder of Northeast’s California Street Farm, serves on the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council and is a proponent of urban agriculture.

The City Council’s decision to support funding U.S. Bank Stadium prompted John Hayden to run for the Ward 1 seat. Hayden, an independent candidate, said he would’ve rejected a $15 minimum wage for something lower. He would’ve liked to see a youth wage, he added.

Hayden, along with a candidate in Ward 3, recently released a budget proposal that would repurpose funds from a variety of sources — excess sales tax dollars intended for downtown assets like U.S. Bank Stadium, tax increment financing and a special streetcar fund — for affordable housing, workforce training, neighborhood economic development and cultural districts.

Past Ward 1 coverage:

Reich seeks re-election as ‘project director’ of Ward 1 (Reich profile)

Windom Park resident to challenge for Reich’s Ward 1 seat (Pessenda profile)

A City Council candidate, no political labels attached (Hayden profile)


John Hayden

Neighborhood: Waite Park

Occupation: National training lead for Genesys Works

Relevant Experience: Board member, No Labels Minnesota; built partnerships between schools and corporations with Genesys Works; public school reformer in South Chicago; environmental education teacher

Fundraising total: $3,670 (2017)

Endorsements: Former Gov. Arne Carlson, Former City Council President Paul Ostrow


Facebook: /myneighborjohn

Twitter: @MyNeighborJohn


Jillia Pessenda

Neighborhood: Windom Park

Occupation: Development and communications at Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Relevant Experience: Senior development officer, Headwaters; director of development, Project 515; organizer, Occupy Homes Movement; Windom Park Citizens in Action

Fundraising total: $43,200 (2016– July 2017)

Endorsements: Our Revolution (Minnesota and Twin Cities chapters), Stonewall DFL, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5, Minnesota Nurses Association, Take Action MN, DFL Environmental Caucus, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Women Winning, OutFront Minnesota, Victory Fund, State Rep. Ilhan Omar (District 60B)


Facebook: /jilliaforward1

Twitter: @JilliaPessenda


Kevin Reich

Neighborhood: Windom Park

Occupation: Ward 1 City Council Member

Relevant Experience: Two terms as Ward 1’s City Council member; project director, Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association; founding board member, Eastside Food Co-op; chair, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization

Fundraising total: $92,454 (2012–July 2017)

Endorsements: Former mayor R.T. Rybak, Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation AFL-CIO, SEIU Minnesota State Council, International Alliance of State Employees & Studio Mechanics Local 490, Minneapolis Firefighters Local 82, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council, Teamsters Joint Council 32


Facebook: /kevinreichward1

Twitter: @KevinReich4NE