From the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association – Where Every Story Has Three Sides
By Lisa Bender
This April, neighbors from across our community will gather at the DFL convention to endorse a candidate for the Ward 10 City Council seat. I’m running for City Council because I love our community and I can’t stop thinking about how to make it an even a better place.
Too often I’ve seen progress halted by our current leadership saying no to good ideas, from stopping a new plaza outside a neighborhood business, to restricting market gardens, to resisting the Open Streets events that so many people enjoyed. Often these initial “no” reactions can be overcome with strong community organizing, but we shouldn’t have to fight so hard for things that so many people want. Instead, with more open-minded leadership, we could spend our energy working together to support positive, progressive change.
I ask for your support because I will provide the kind of innovative and collaborative leadership we need in Ward 10. As a city planner and advocate for safer streets I’ve worked for over a decade to make cities more sustainable, equitable and healthy. I look forward to drawing on this experience and passion for community service to serve Ward 10.
We live in a special place. That’s why my husband, Ryan, and I bought our home in Lowry Hill East when we were ready to start a family. We can’t think of a better place to raise our daughter Alice, who turns two this month. We love living in a vibrant and diverse community where we can walk to the grocery store, bicycle to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts or Lake Calhoun, and eat and shop at local businesses.
The neighborhoods of the new Ward 10 are growing and changing, and we have a critical opportunity to make things even better than they are today. We need to do a better job of actively pursuing improvements in our community, instead of just reacting to change. With the kind of forward-looking, collaborative and positive leadership I will provide, I invite you to imagine what is possible.
Our community should be better connected. We’re adding thousands of new residents and we should be improving our transportation system to reduce congestion and keep people moving. We need to improve transit access to downtown, reopen Nicollet Avenue, and connect people to the new Southwest Light Rail line. We should build upon the Midtown Greenway and develop a network of accessible sidewalks and protected bikeways for everyone. I know from experience this won’t happen without political leadership and that is what I will provide.
Our community could be even healthier. As a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed when I was just 32 years old and 12 weeks pregnant with our daughter, this issue is deeply personal. I have become a strong advocate for preventative health, research and access to health care. I will work for our community to be the healthiest place to live in the country by making healthy choices easy. This means making it safe and fun to walk and bicycle and supporting policies that make it easier to access fresh and healthy foods.
Our community could better support our schools. Like many parents of young children, I chose to live in a diverse urban neighborhood and I want to send my daughter to a thriving neighborhood school. I will work closely in partnership with the Minneapolis School Board to make this a reality, ensure we provide a great education to our kids and close the achievement gap.
A connected, healthy and educated population welcomes economic opportunity. I will turn that opportunity into smart economic growth by working in partnership with businesses to cut red tape and attract new jobs right here, close to where people live.
I’ve seen the need for stronger political leadership firsthand during my thousands of hours of volunteer work to make our streets safer for bicycling. Several years ago, I helped start the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, and together we have advocated for numerous safety improvements and policy changes to open up bicycling to people of all ages and abilities. This work isn’t just about transportation. Cities across the country are recognizing that walking and bicycling supports health and drives economic growth – saving health care costs and attracting and retaining innovative businesses and the workers they employ. This is the same kind of innovative leadership I’ve provided throughout my career in nonprofit and government service and the same kind of leadership I will bring to the Minneapolis City Council.
The next City Council member from Ward 10 is going to need to be able to bring people together, actively support good ideas, and make sure government is working well for our community. I am the right person to lead our Ward through this next phase of growth and change by bringing people together around a shared vision that supports connections, health, education and economic opportunity. That is why I ask for your support, and that is how I will earn your support, as the next City Council member from Ward 10.
I encourage you to come out and get involved in the DFL endorsing process this year. This is a critical step in choosing the next City Council member from our Ward, and your voice should be heard. Please come support me at your precinct caucus on Tuesday, April 16 and become a delegate for me to the Ward 10 convention on Saturday, April 27. You can find out more about the caucus and convention process or get in touch to join our grassroots campaign by visiting