Pirate-endorsed, Katch runs again

The independent candidate hopes to represent the third ward.

Ward 3 Libertarian Party candidate Michael Katch discusses ideas on Tuesday at his apartment complex in Minneapolis.

Juliet Farmer

Ward 3 Libertarian Party candidate Michael Katch discusses ideas on Tuesday at his apartment complex in Minneapolis.

Alexandria Chhith

One of the candidates looking to represent Ward 3 on the Minneapolis City Council drives a limousine and is endorsed by the Pirate Party.

Michael Katch is running against incumbent Diane Hofstede and challengers Jacob Frey and Kristina Gronquist to represent areas around the University of Minnesota, like Marcy-Holmes and Dinkytown.

Katch manages a limousine business, frequently gives testimonies at city public hearings at City Hall and talks politics with his wife Peggy Katch, who is also the manager of his campaign.

He said he wasn’t always planning on running for a spot on the Minneapolis City Council, but his friends, like retired political activist Fred Markus, and his wife encouraged him to start a campaign.

“I thought that I could be heard if I ran for City Council,” he said.

Out of step with many mayoral and City Council candidates, Katch has spoken out against new development in Dinkytown, saying it would “change the culture” of the area.

New apartment buildings lead to traffic congestion, a parking shortage,  and increased rent for family-owned restaurants, he said.

“Why would we want to change something good for something we don’t know … would be better in the future?” he said.

Katch said he wants to hold the city’s landlords accountable for the maintenance of their properties to improve the area. He also said he would like more green spaces in every neighborhood throughout the city.

“There are too many buildings that block out the sun,” he said. “It would be nice to see the sun once in a while.”

Markus said he looks to Katch for leadership in politics and he believes the candidate could bring “transparency to a corrupt system” if he’s elected.

Michael and Peggy Katch owned taxi companies in Minneapolis and St. Paul before starting Katch Enterprise, a small limousine business.

Last year, Katch ran a short campaign to unseat Democratic-Farmer-Labor incumbent Keith Ellison to represent Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. Katch also ran for a City Council seat in 2009 against Ward 7 incumbent Lisa Goodman.

Opponent Jacob Frey said Katch’s unique character is noteworthy. Frey said he isn’t intimidated by Katch’s campaign, but “anything can happen” with ranked-choice voting.

Katch and his wife have been involved in politics since they were children. Native to Chicago, both were strong democratic supporters growing up.

Later in life, Katch said he realized the party didn’t match with his beliefs. Katch said he doesn’t affiliate with any political party, but he’s endorsed by the Libertarian Party and the Pirate Party this year.

“I don’t really fit into a box,” said Katch, “I don’t think I fit the descriptions of any party.”

The Pirate Party advocates for citizens to have a more powerful voice in the democratic process and author bills and city proposals.

Katch said he wants to implement a website that gives everyone in the ward a unique username and password to log on with and submit amendments to various public policies.

“Most people, when they think of Libertarians, they think that they are radical. But Michael isn’t radical; he’s a reformer,” Markus said.