Social Justice Party candidate advocates for poor, minorities

Melinda Rogers

Tim Connolly will turn 52 on election day this November, and he can’t imagine a better birthday present than winning the Minneapolis mayoral race.

Connolly, one of 22 candidates making a bid for mayor, represents the Social Justice Party.

“I picked (my party’s name) because it seems what I’m really about,” Connolly said. “Social justice is something everybody deserves.”

While Connolly never aspired to a career in politics, he said he’s always been a social activist and interested in political issues.

Residing in Minneapolis for the majority of his life has left Connolly filled with ideas for improving the city.

A strong advocate for minority rights, Connolly said affordable housing, public transportation and racism prevention are priorities the city needs to pay attention to.

“Eighteen point five percent of the city’s population lives under the poverty level – they are the invisible poor of the city,” Connolly said.

“People don’t look at poverty; they don’t think about it. Sometimes people in this city don’t care about anything except what’s in their own little world,” he said.

Connolly said he is also dedicated to eliminating police brutality and racial profiling in the metro area.

A founding member of Communities United Against Police Brutality, a support group for victims of police violence, Connolly speaks out about the negative effects police brutality can create in a community.

“Is police brutality ever called for? There has to be some sanction for the behavior other than a departmental slap on the wrist,” Connolly said.

“People need to respect the law. But you want people to respect the law because they respect the law, not because they fear the lawman,” he added.

Other mayoral candidates have mixed opinions on Connolly’s platform.

“He’s a people’s person. He cares a lot about affordable housing and the environment,” said Leslie Davis, a candidate from the Protect the Earth party.

Dick Franson, a DFL candidate, said he doesn’t expect Connolly will receive more than 200 votes in the election.

“There’s no way in heck he can run on a platform like that and get to first base. The Social Justice Party – nobody understands that,” Franson said.

Connolly said he takes opponent criticism with a grain of salt. After struggling with hardships including bipolar disorder and drug addiction, Connolly views public office as a chance for personal redemption while serving the community.

“There’s all sorts of people who are going to find an issue with me, but I believe in redemption and the ability of people to look beyond surfaces,” he said.

“I’m a radical and I don’t know that people are comfortable with that. I scare the hell out of some of these business types,” Connolly said.

With the Sept. 11 primary approaching, Connolly said he plans to participate in community forums and work toward gaining name recognition.

“I’d rather not print signs or buttons. If people get a chance to know who I am, hopefully they will make their own lawn signs and put them in,” Connolly said.

“Minneapolis needs a thorough housecleaning; we need to examine ourselves closely as a city. I’d be an inspiring leader … I think I might surprise some people,”he said.