Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


After three RCV counts, Minneapolis has seven new City Council members

The newcomers include the first representatives from the Hmong, Latino and Somali communities.

city hall interior
Three City Council race winners were declared at Minneapolis City Hall Friday.

Minneapolis election officials on Friday ended the suspense, declaring winners in the three City Council races determined by reallocation of ranked-choice votes.

The new council will have seven first-timers among its 13 members, including the first representatives from the Hmong, Latino and Somali communities.

Here’s a look at the three races decided Friday:

Ward 5

Blong Yang, from north Minneapolis, replaces Don Samuels, who ran for mayor. Yang will be the first Hmong American to serve on the City Council. He lists interests in public safety, economic development and housing on his web page.

Article continues after advertisement

He won a four-way race with a final allocation of just over 52 percent.

Yang is a family law attorney who served as an investigator for the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department and has made funding for that department a priority. Early in his law career, he worked for the Legal Aid Society.

Ward 9

Alondra Cano, who was born in Mexico and came to this country at age 10, will replace Council Member Gary Schiff, who represents such neighborhoods as Corcoran, Longfellow and Phillips. Schiff also gave up his seat to run for mayor.

Cano won a six-way race with a final allocation of more than 47 percent.

Active in student and immigrant rights movements, Cano works for the Minneapolis School District as a senior communications and public affairs specialist.

She is the founder of the Latino Engagement Task Force, which works to bring the community into public policy discussions and decisions. A former aide to Council Member Robert Lilligren, she was an organizer for the student sit-in to save the General College at the University of Minnesota.

Ward 13

Linea Palmisano, who will represent the city’s southwest corner, will take the seat held by Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges.

She won a five-way race with a final allocation of just over 48 percent.

Palmisano, who has been working for UnitedHealth Group, founded Navigate,  a program to help immigrants gain access to colleges and universities.

Article continues after advertisement

She  is an assistant track coach at Southwest High School and serves on the board of the Linden Hills Farmers’ Market. She is a graduate of  Notre Dame University and holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota.

Other council newcomers

Rounding out the slate of new council members are four who were declared winners Election Night:

Jacob Frey, Ward 3: He defeated Council Member Diane Hofstede. The ward includes part of northeast Minneapolis, the North Loop and the Mill District downtown.

Abdi Warsame, Ward 6: He defeated Council Member Robert Lilligren. The ward is just south of downtown. Warsame will be the first Somali on the council and is believed to be the highest-ranking Somali to hold elected office.

Lisa Bender, Ward 10: She defeated Council Member Meg Tuthill. The ward includes the Wedge and Whittier neighborhoods.

Andrew Johnson, Ward 12: He will replace Sandy Colvin Roy, who did not seek re-election. The ward is in the southeast part of Minneapolis.

Six returning members

Those returning to the council are: President Barb Johnson (Ward 4), Kevin Reich (Ward 1), Cam Gordon (Ward 2), Lisa Goodman (Ward 7), Elizabeth Glidden (Ward 8) and John Quincy (Ward 11).