MinnPost will be regularly publishing profiles of candidates running for Minneapolis City Council. Up today: Stephen J. Frich, running for the open seat representing Ward 10. Also in the Ward 10 race so far: Chris Parsons, Alicia Gibson, David Wheeler, Katie Jones, and Aisha Chughtai.
Among the crowd of candidates seeking to replace Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Bender in representing the city’s Ward 10, Steven J. Frich is looking to differentiate himself with his policy goals — and by being the most straightforward.
“I believe candidates should have transparent platforms,” said Frich, a 27-year old resident of the Wedge neighborhood who is running for council in order to “raise awareness and pass policies on police accountability, free public transportation, rent control, increasing the minimum wage and eliminating bail.”
Frich, an Anoka-Ramsey Community College grad and project manager with First Transit, said free public transportation is his top priority and is currently studying other cities that have free public transit, like Olympia, Washington, and how they fund the program through a gas tax or property taxes. “It’s a no-brainer,” he said.
Frich, who’s been active in Democratic Socialists of America, also wants to see a $25 minimum wage that would apply to companies with 10 or more employees. “People deserve a wage where they don’t need multiple jobs to stay afloat,” he said. “The most vulnerable, the single mother or father who has to have a two-bedroom apartment to take care of a kid, they need higher wages.”
In order to keep housing costs more manageable, Frich is also advocating for a cap on rent increases of 3 percent annually. He currently lives in a duplex paying $1,500 in rent, a place he moved to after being forced out of an apartment that saw the rent increase from $1,250 to $1,850.
Another priority for Frich is doing away with bail. “There is no good form of bail in my opinion,” said Frich, who pointed to examples of people who spent long periods of time incarcerated because they couldn’t pay bail.
On the law enforcement front, Frich is very clear about what he’d like to see happen with the Minneapolis Police Department. “I am a 100 percent abolitionist,” he said.
“It’s not a system that can be easily reformed. It’s not just a few bad apples, it’s the whole system,” said Frich. “Obviously, we need public safety,” he continued, “but I would love to see more funding to mental health emergency services.”
Frich’s vision for public safety would strip public safety officers of chemical weapons, military-grade weapons and armored vehicles. “The police shouldn’t be an occupying force in our communities,” said Frich.
Frich said his vision for Minneapolis is built from his work in public transit and in real estate as well as his volunteer efforts in the community feeding unhoused people. And his platform reflects his own experience while also borrowing successful policies from other local governments. Instead of marveling at free public transportation and how much it helps people in places like Washington, he said he would work to bring direct action that will obviously help Minneapolis residents, particularly the most vulnerable.
Candidate snapshot: Steven J. Frich
Favorite place in Minneapolis: Boneshaker Books
Political or civic experience: Democratic Socialists of America, Food Not Bombs, Socialist Rifle Association, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, Save the Boards to Memorialize the Movement
One-sentence reason for running: “I’m running to promote and pass policies to help poor and working class people.”