Frey and Palmisano join City Council

Following the 2013 city election, the Minnesota Daily is running a series profiling new City Council members. Beginning in January, Jacob Frey and Linea Palmisano will represent City Council wards 3 and 13, respectively.

Kaitlyn Walek


Attorney Jacob Frey defeated two-term incumbent Diane Hofstede to represent Ward 3, an area that covers parts of the University of Minnesota and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Originally from northern Virginia, Frey moved to Minneapolis in 2009 after graduating from the Villanova University School of Law.

Frey raised more than $100,000 during his campaign, also defeating Green Party candidate Kristina Gronquist and Libertarian candidate Michael Katch.

Why did you decide to run for the position?

… I believe that a City Council member should be incessantly involved with those he or she is serving — at the very grassroots level — and I think that the City Council position — more than any other position I can think of — has that ability.

You know, I’m an attorney by day … but my real, real passion is community organization. That’s a wonderful spot to have some real positive, tangible impact on people’s lives.

Why was your campaign successful?

The campaign was successful, I think, entirely due to the amazing grassroots organization that we created. … We had an extremely diverse team of, you know, young professionals and empty nesters and students and local business owners … that were really all rallying around a common cause, a common vision, which is very much a new Minneapolis. That has been sort of a message throughout the campaign. It’s been an unwavering message, and I think people have been getting very excited about it.

What are the biggest issues facing the ward?

There are issues facing the ward, and there are issues facing the city as a whole, and I’m of the position that a City Council member shouldn’t be just looking out for their own little fiefdom. They should be looking out for the best interests for the city as a whole …

While we are a diverse city, we’re still very segregated. I do think we need to be looking at policies that move towards living amongst people that don’t look just like yourself, and that’s sort of a desegregation method.

We also need to look at, just quite simply, increasing our residential population, both in the ward and in the city as a whole. … In gaining that population back, I think we need to focus on the demographics that we do have and we don’t
have …

To retain those families, and to attract families to stay in a northeast, southeast or downtown area, we need pedestrian-friendly areas. We need green space, and we need a viable option for a school …

We need to look at narrowing the ridiculously bad opportunity gap and achievement gap between whites and minorities.



Five candidates ran for Ward 13, which encompasses the southwest corner of Minneapolis — the area outgoing City Council member and recent mayor-elect Betsy Hodges represents.

After the final round of tabulating votes, Palmisano secured the spot with more than 48 percent of votes.

Palmisano earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and MBA in strategy and entrepreneurship from the University of Minnesota. She’s held various roles, ranging from volunteering as a coach for the Southwest High School track team to working with Hodges on neighborhood organization projects.

She currently works for UnitedHealth Group. In the past, she worked for IBM Global Services in Disaster Revovery.

Why did you decide to run for the position?

I’ve been really active in our community for over a decade, and I saw this position, being an open seat, as an opportunity to do what I love on a full-time basis.

One of the groups that recruited me to run is an organization called womenwinning, and they also had encouraged me to run. They saw an open seat in the 13th ward as a strong leadership position, [and] … they wanted to have another woman in that seat …

Why was your campaign successful?

… I think I had an excellent campaign team. It certainly was not an echo chamber of people, you know, validating whatever I thought. We had a very broad team comprised of people that are strong independents, people that are real big liberals, people that have a lot of experience with campaigns, and people … who had zero campaign experience … So I think that it was because of the team.

What are the biggest issues facing the ward?

I think that, generally speaking, property taxes … Everything that influences that [is] a big issue facing the entire ward.

People feel pushed out of their homes, pushed out of our neighborhoods because of rising property taxes over the last, well, very long term. I think that’s a problem across the city, but it’s felt particularly hard in our ward.

Education is a big issue … A city that has some of the best schools is something that we need to have to have a vibrant city.

Safety, public safety, you know, violent crime in our city has increased … We cannot grow the population of our city as we plan to if it’s not seen as a safe place to be …

The environment, I think, is also important to most of the people around the ward. And the environmental concern from a city kind of basis involves things like how we sign up for our next Xcel Energy contract [and] making sure there’s more renewable energy in that.

It’s about development in all of our neighborhoods. This part of southwest Minneapolis is comprised of seven neighborhoods, and [it’s about] how we do development in that thoughtfully …