At least two candidates are gearing up for a 2017 run in Ward 11: incumbent City Council Member John Quincy, who plans to seek a third term, and Jeremy Schroeder, the policy director for Minnesota Housing Partnership.
Schroeder, a Green Bay, Wis., native who moved to Minneapolis in 2011, has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, previously serving as executive director of Common Cause Minnesota. This would be the Diamond Lake neighborhood resident’s first run for public office.
“I’m not running to be an elected official; I’m running to get things done,” he said. “I’ve always taken the job where I felt like I could make the biggest difference, and right now that’s City Council.”
A member of Quincy’s staff confirmed Monday he plans a re-election bid.
Schroeder said he would be a more “proactive, engaged” leader at City Hall, pledging to be a transparent decision-maker who is responsive to the residents of Ward 11. He said messages from his neighbors are going unreturned by Quincy’s office.
“I’m an old organizer. You go to where the people are, and right now they’re on NextDoor, they’re on Twitter, they’re on Facebook, and you need to have a presence there to be genuine about looking into the community, and that’s not happening,” he said.
For Schroeder, part of being a proactive City Council member means working closely with small business owners as the city’s Working Families Agenda forces changes in the way they operate. Schroeder said he supports the earned safe and sick time measure that passed the council earlier this year, as well as a proposed $15 minimum wage ordinance that is expected to come before the council in the spring. But two key issues for business owners, city fees and property taxes, should also be a part of the conversation, he said.
“It bothers me that our City Council member is not walking hand-in-hand (with business) to make solutions possible,” Schroeder said.
Describing a city at the “crossroads,” Schroeder said equity and inclusion would also be a top priority. That includes improving the environment for women- and minority-owned businesses.
“I love Minneapolis, I think we’re at a great place right now, and how we address the inequities in our city will determine our success in the next 20, 30 years,” he said.
Schroeder again mentioned business in a discussion of the third leg of his platform: creating vibrant Minneapolis neighborhoods. While his longer-tenured neighbors are rightfully proud of his neighborhood’s vitality, he said, the area is not seeing the same influx of new businesses as other parts of the city.
“And it’s something we could be doing much, much more with leadership and with having an advocate down at City Hall, someone that’s going to pick up the phone and recruit businesses to be there,” he said.
The son of two public school teachers, Schroeder said he’s “always been someone who’s very involved.” He spent a year in inner-city Baltimore through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, an experience that inspired him to earn his law degree.
Schroeder moved to Minnesota from Chicago, where he was legislative director for the Service Employees International Union before becoming executive director of the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. The coalition’s efforts to end the death penalty succeeded in 2011.
“After putting myself out of a job, we got to pick where we wanted to go and got to move to where our values were reflected,” he said. “That’s how we ended up on the south side of Minneapolis.”
Schroeder and his wife have two boys, aged 2 and 4 — “and five chickens,” he added.
A Jeremy for Minneapolis fundraising committee was registered in October, according to Hennepin County records. That same database showed Quincy had about $12,800 in campaign funds at the time of his last annual filing in 2015.