MinnPost will be regularly publishing profiles of candidates running for Minneapolis City Council. Up today: Katie Jones, running for the open seat representing Ward 10. Also in the Ward 10 race so far: Chris Parsons, Aisha Chughtai, David Wheeler, and Alicia Gibson.
It’s not about how long you’ve lived in Minneapolis Ward 10, says Katie Jones, one of five candidates who’ve entered the race to replace current Council Member Lisa Bender, who has decided not to seek reelection after two terms representing an area that includes East Harriet, ECCO, Lowry Hill East, South Uptown and Whittier.
That’s because the area’s mix of homeowners, renters, students and newcomers has created a place “where everyone knows they belong,” Jones says.
Originally from Indiana, Jones settled in Minneapolis after visiting the state to attend a language camp as a student. She fell in love with Minnesota and decided to settle in Minneapolis after college. She now lives in the Lowry Hill East neighborhood and works for a nonprofit that helps municipalities identify and improve buildings’ energy efficiency. “I’m running because I want to serve the residents of Ward 10, who welcomed me and opened doors for me,” said Jones.
Jones said her experience working with cities would help her be an impactful council member. Like almost everyone else in the race, she says her top priority is public safety, which she calls “a top-of-mind issue, at least since May 25,” referencing the date George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police.
Jones believes an “us versus them” narrative has emerged on the issue, citing the recent debate over the city’s 2021 budget, during which the council split over the maximum allowed size of the city’s police force. But she says she doesn’t believe that dynamic is true for most city residents: “We all have the same goal of attaining public safety,” she said.
Jones believes the best way to achieve that is to examine what the city’s needs are and invest in programs and personnel tailored to those needs. By way of example, she cites the advent of the paramedic and ambulances — how before the 1960s, police and firefighters were tasked with transporting people to the hospital. When communities started investing in health professionals who specialized in emergencies, few people died in transit.
“If I’m building a house, I only need so many hammers,” said Jones.
Jones’ other top priorities include environmental sustainability, including making sure development deals for commercial and residential properties come with energy efficiency requirements. She also singled out the “15-minute city” concept that aims to have residents’ different needs — employment options, pharmacies, green space, etc. — within a 15-minute commute from their home.
When it comes to the city’s homeless, Jones’ plan includes pushing for cooperative housing like tiny houses. Jones said another way to quickly provide housing is to make the process for adding residential units to current homes and buildings easier. “And less costly,” said Jones, who lives in a triplex she owns.
Candidate snapshot: Katie Jones
Occupation: Community programming and policy manager for energy efficiency nonprofit
Neighborhood: Lowry Hill East
Political or civic experience: City’s Capital Long Range Improvement Committee member (four years); board member, vice president, and president of Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association; Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board SW parks master planning Community Advisory Committee member; MnDOT Sustainable Transportation Advisory Committee member
Favorite place in Minneapolis: Mueller Park
One-sentence reason for running: “As an engineer and community builder, I’m running for city council to work with the community to solve problems, to realize our values of equity and sustainability, and to create a community where everyone knows they belong.”