U student challenges Cam Gordon for City Council

Editor’s note: Some information presented in this story is based on false claims made by Charles Carlson. Upon further investigation by The Minnesota Daily, some of the claims made by Carlson concerning his past were proven to be inaccurate. For clarification, please read the Daily’s follow-up article about Carlson on Monday March 2. Minneapolis City Council elections are coming up this November, and it looks like there will be some changes in the lineup, with one University of Minnesota student in particular hoping for an upset. Charles Carlson, a University graduate student, is challenging current Ward 2 Councilmember Cam Gordon for the City Council seat that represents much of the University community.

Student concerns

For Carlson, it was the numerous University crime alert e-mails, transportation concerns and the sudden closing of the Washington Avenue Bridge that got him interested in what was going on in the Minneapolis City Council. Carlson said he began investigating these issues and decided to take his concerns to the City Council, but he said he didnâÄôt hear back from Gordon for over two weeks. âÄúI was talking with some friends about this, and they said, âÄòWell Charles maybe you should run,âÄôâÄù Carlson said. Carlson, who is currently studying communications and pursuing an MBA at the Carlson School of Management, was an at-large delegate for the Democratic National Convention last year. His political experience includes work for the campaigns of Sen. Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and the Twin Cities GLBTA Chamber of Commerce. However, Carlson thinks his demographic makes him most suited to be on the City Council. âÄúI am a 23-year-old gay student in a ward where the median age is 24,âÄù Carlson said. âÄúI think I am able to empathize with people in this ward better than almost anyone else.âÄù Carlson, who is from Ramsgate, a town in east Kent, England, said moving to the United States from another country also makes him knowledgeable of resources for the immigrant population in the Second Ward. Some of the major issues Carlson wants to tackle are crime in the Second Ward and the placement of high-frequency bus lines around the Central Corridor light rail project. âÄúI want the U to be engaged,âÄù Carlson said. âÄúIf I lose, my one mission is that I keep the community engaged in politics and I want them to know that they do have a voice.âÄù

Councilmember Gordon

Cam Gordon began serving his first term on the Minneapolis City Council, a post which lasts four years, in January 2006 and is the only non-DFL councilmember. Gordon, a Green Party member, said his political affiliation gives him the opportunity to bring an independent voice to the City Council. âÄúI am in a unique place not being the dominant party,âÄù he said. âÄúI feel like there is a bit more of a responsibility to give voice to those who arenâÄôt part of the majority.âÄù Gordon said some of his greatest achievements in the Minneapolis City Council have been the creation of the University District Alliance youth violence prevention programs and championing sustainability in the city. Before he decided to run for the City Council, Gordon worked with the Neighborhood Revitalization Program and was president of the Seward Neighborhood Group. âÄúIt really seemed like you could make a big difference in peopleâÄôs lives, and I felt like I knew and understood the Second Ward well and could represent it,âÄù he said. Gordon said he feels people in the ward are worried about the availability of affordable and accessible housing, and economic and job opportunities. Gordon said he also wants to look into aiding small business owners and attracting more people to make the Second Ward their home. As for the bigger picture, Gordon said he wants to continue looking at how Minneapolis can address issues related to climate change locally. Gordon, who holds office hours at various locations in the city, including at the Hard Times Café on the West Bank, will continue this tradition if he is elected to serve another term, and is looking forward to doing more outreach to students during his campaign. âÄúI want to hear more about the issues and what people care about now,âÄù he said.

Other Races

Council President Barbara Johnson said this election will bring a lot of changes to the current City Council. Several current City Council members have opted not to run for reelection, including Paul Ostrow, Scott Benson and Ralph Remington. âÄúOstrow is a seasoned councilmember and strong representative from the Northeast,âÄù she said. âÄúBenson is a real strategic thinker … and Remington worked on a number of issues that were a little bit controversial.âÄù Johnson said she hopes to see people with broad life experiences running for the positions, and she would like to see a small business owner run and be a representative in the City Council. She also would like to see more party diversity. âÄúWhen you have people all from the same political background, thatâÄôs not really useful,âÄù she said. Commenting has been disabled for this story due to multiple abusive and inappropriate posts