2018 Election Snapshot: Hennepin County Commissioner District 2 Candidates

Candidate photos courtesy of Facebook

Hennepin County Commissioner Linda Higgins announced earlier this year that she would not seek re-election in District 2 after serving just one and one-half terms. The seat has now turned into an election hotbed with five candidates vying for the now open seat.

The Hennepin County board is comprised of seven district commissioners, the county attorney, and the county sheriff. All are White, despite the board’s vision to “be a diverse, learning organization.” But the District 2 race, with four candidates of color running, seems to be on track to retroactively add some truth to the vision of the board.

The District 2 Commissioner represents Golden Valley, Medicine Lake, North and Northeast Minneapolis, including Bryn Mawr and the North Loop neighborhoods, Eastern Plymouth, and St. Anthony.

Tim Blidsoe

Blidsoe is currently president of the North Loop Neighborhood Association and is a former Plymouth City Council Member. If elected, his priorities include “continued maintenance” of public infrastructure and hospitals, as well as improving the livability for all in Hennepin County.

Irene Fernando (DFL-endorsed)

Fernando is a Northside resident, Filipino American and former Bush Fellow. She says she wants to bring diversity, transparency and accountability to the board and increase community engagement.

Natalie Johnson Lee

Johnson Lee represented Ward 5 as a Green Party member on the Minneapolis City Council from 2001to 2005. Since then, she has been operating in the nonprofit world, specifically with Girls in Action. Some of her focus points include responsible budgeting and more visible collaboration between county and local governments.

Iyob Waldsmayate

Currently employed by the Federal Government in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Waldsmayate is a first-generation immigrant who says he is running because there is a lot of work that needs to be done in this country and change begins at the local level.

Blong Yang

Yang was the first Hmong ever elected to the Minneapolis City Council. He served one term and lost his seat to Jeremiah Ellison in the most recent council elections. Yang is positioning his experience as an elected official for why he would be fit for the job.

About Keith Schubert

Keith Schubert is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at kschubert@spokesman-recorder.com.

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