Actor/director Ralph Remington has entered the 10th Ward City Council race.
"My life has been a tug of war between arts and politics, he said. "Now, I feel this part of my life is about direct social change through the electoral process."
Incumbent Dan Niziolek has announced he would not seek reelection; Remington joins three others seeking the DFL endorsement for the seat covering East Isles, the Wedge, East Calhoun, CARAG, Lyndale and East Harriet.
The 42-year-old East Harriet resident comes from a different mold.
While announced candidates Allan Bernard, Gay Noble and Scott Persons have worked in City Hall, run businesses and/or served on neighborhood groups, Remington’s experience is grounded in the politically active arts community.
He worked as the producing artistic director for the Pillsbury House Theater, a theater for social change, from 1992 to 1999.
Pillsbury’s mission "was to create a platform for marginalized people to have their muted voices heard," he said.
Remington is a Howard University graduate, served three years in the Army, is married and has two grown stepdaughters.
He said his Council qualifications include years of political activism. At 13, he was helping homeless people move into abandoned buildings as part of the Philadelphia squatters’ movement. He was arrested for a veterans’ antiwar protest in New York City during Gulf War I, and arrested and "beaten and jailed" for protesting the Philadelphia police.
He has lived in the 10th Ward for 10 years. A renter, Remington said he is concerned about rising rents, property taxes and home sales prices, which some long-term residents can’t afford. The city needs more police to improve response times – and more police sensitivity. Residents "need to feel that the police are there to protect and to serve and not as an occupying force," he said.
As a Councilmember, he said priorities lso include increasing affordable housing.
He withheld judgment on Police Chief William McManus but said he supported Mayor R.T. Rybak for reelection.