Janne Flisrand announces Ward 7 candidacy

Apartment owner and self-described “urbanist” will challenge Lisa Goodman

Janne Flisrand

LOWRY HILL — Ward 7 City Council Member Lisa Goodman will have at least one challenger in her 2017 re-election bid: Janne Flisrand, a professional consultant who sits on the board of the non-profit transportation and land use website streets.mn.

Flisrand, a 20-year Minneapolis resident who owns and occupies a Lowry Hill apartment building, announced her candidacy Thursday morning. In going up against Goodman, she’s challenging an incumbent who’s been re-elected four times and commands one of the biggest campaign war chests on the Council, with a greater than $96,000 cash balance, according to her latest campaign finance report.

“I’m running because I really want to make Minneapolis a city that works for every person in it,” Flisrand said. “That’s every resident and business owner, people living in apartment buildings and single-family homes, people of every race and ethnicity and people with less access to money and power. That’s near and dear to my heart, and I want to take an active role in making that happen in the city.”

Goodman, first elected in 1997, confirmed Thursday she plans to run a sixth term representing Ward 7 next year. An official announcement will come at a later date.

“I think campaigns already are too long, so I wasn’t planning already to start the next campaign,” she said, adding that her focus at the moment was on helping others and herself recover from the “trauma” of the national election.

“Lisa’s been in the role a long time and I respect deeply the work that she’s done and the contributions that she’s made to the city,” Flisrand said. “I am a progressive leader and I think I am the progressive candidate. We are a progressive city, and so I think that my vision is aligned with the city and the people of Ward 7.”

A self-described “urbanist,” Flisrand said she is passionate about transportation policy and well-designed streets that work for pedestrians, cyclists, children and people with disabilities. She mostly bikes to get around the city.

Flisrand said she would advocate for changes to the Minneapolis Police Department “so residents of all racial backgrounds are served well and not unfairly targeted by law enforcement.”

She said she would also push the council to adopt policies to proactively address climate change and make Minneapolis more “resilient” in the face of a changing environment, including policies that promote growing more food within city limits. Flisrand is an organic gardener who maintains a community garden and orchard behind her building for tenants and neighbors.

Flisrand pledged to serve all Ward 7 residents and business owners, and noted that included one group she argued the city often overlooked: apartment-dwellers. She noted, for instance, that the city does not always communicate effectively to apartment residents when there is a code violation in their building.

In addition to serving on the board of streets.mn, Flisrand is a member of the city’s Energy Vision Advisory Committee. She served on the steering committee for the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition at its founding in 2009.

That’s how Flisrand first met City Council Member Lisa Bender, who represents Ward 10. She said Bender and Ward 2 alderman Cam Gordon were the models she would follow on the Council.

“The leadership that we have on the City Council right now was really well-suited to the issues that we had 19 years ago when (Goodman) was first elected, and the city has changed a lot since then, and our elected leader has not,” Flisrand said.