TA announces candidacy for City Council

by Naomi Scott

Under a disco ball at the Blue Nile Restaurant in Minneapolis, University graduate teaching assistant Dan Miller officially announced his candidacy for the Minneapolis City Council on Tuesday.

Miller will run for the Ward 2 seat held by Paul Zerby. The ward covers the University and surrounding areas.

“I feel like I’m in the middle of a dance floor,” said Miller, who teaches at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

Approximately 100 people gathered to support the 25-year-old Democrat and resident of the Prospect Park neighborhood who wants to represent campus.

Miller said he is running because he loves Minneapolis but thinks it “can do a lot better.”

He said he wants the growing Somali population in the ward and University students to be better represented in city government.

Miller said other important issues to him are investing in education and moving away from car-only transportation.

Miller worked for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in 1999 in Washington and said the experience in federal government wasn’t the best way to make a difference where he was from.

“If you really want to make a change in your community, you gotta roll up your sleeves and get to work where you live,” he said.

Miller also said he wants the government to “value every single person as a human being,” and not only as a Republican or Democratic supporter.

Miller will contend for the Democratic Party nomination April 9. Others running for the party nomination include Cara Letofsky, Jerry Stein and Bill Svrluga. Cam Gordon is the Green Party candidate.

Miller said he feels all those seeking the City Council seat are “good candidates.”

“It’s just a question of who has the energy and vision to take the city forward,” he said. “And I think I have that.”

Miller also spoke favorably of Zerby, who said he decided against running for a second term to turn his attention to his family.

“I think he’s a really great public servant,” Miller said. “But I think he could have done more to represent underdeveloped communities in the process.”

Robert Johnson, an emeritus professor, said University students are discriminated against on the City Council and insufficiently represented.

Johnson said he is glad Miller is young and a resident of the ward he hopes to represent.

“I hope he’s got enough political savvy to start doing something for the students,” Johnson said.

Monica Webber, 25, a resident of Ward 2, who met Miller while doing work for the Kerry campaign in Minnesota, said the ward needs a voice that can relate to students.

“Having the University ward, it would be great to have a candidate who’s in the University mindset,” she said. “He’s the perfect candidate for Ward 2.”

Webber called Miller “a very exciting person to get behind.”

Miller closed his speech saying he “just wants to believe again.” The city has had a rough last four years, he said.

“I want to believe there can be a better day ahead of us,” he said.