R.T. Rybak, Former Mayor of Minneapolis
"Kevin Reich's unique combination of compassion and common sense has made him one of Minneapolis' most effective city council members… The First Ward is diverse and complex so it needs a council member who can do a wide range of work… He has been especially effective working on transportation, including finding ways to make streets more friendly to bikes and pedestrians, and to plan big visions for mass transit… Kevin is not the loudest member of the city council, and he doesn't spend a lot of time bragging about his work. But he is one of the very, very best. He works hard, solves problems and, as I've seen first hand, delivers for people in the First Ward every day…”
The Star Tribune
The years since the Great Recession eased have been good ones for the Minneapolis neighborhoods east of the Mississippi River, and Council Member Kevin Reich is part of that success story. He has been a consistent contributor to the area's progress. Representing the First Ward since 2009, Reich has been a dependable friend of the revitalization that has brought more business activity to Central Avenue, a new focus on the Mississippi River's water quality and accessibility, and national distinction to the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. That record of steady, solid service should be rewarded with a third term. A native of the city's east side, Reich, 50, built a career in neighborhood betterment before being elected to the City Council. He's a former project director for the Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association who pays attention to fiscal and regulatory details and cultivates the relationships needed to get things done in the public sphere. The respect his colleagues have for his often behind-the-scenes work landed him on the council's Executive Committee four years ago. He's also chair of the council's transportation committee and helped develop the 20-year agreement with the city's Park Board that charts a path for orderly maintenance and upgrades of both city parks and streets. "Kevin is not the loudest member of the City Council, and he doesn't spend a lot of time bragging about his work. But he is one of the very, very best," former Mayor R.T. Rybak said in endorsing Reich's re-election. Reich's experience and connections could be particularly valuable next year in a council that looks likely to have a majority of first- and second-term members. Neither of Reich's two challengers makes a strong case for unseating him, and we did not rank them. Jillia Pessenda, 35, has considerable familiarity with the community and the workings of state and local government after a half-dozen years as an advocate for a range of progressive causes. DFLer Pessenda, a development and communications officer at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, is backed by the Bernie Sanders-allied Our Revolution group; neither she nor Reich has DFL endorsement. At age 30, independent John Hayden is less well-grounded in the First Ward. But he's a promising newcomer who argues for improving city government efficiency and transparency, possibly through a charter change to install a city manager who would report to the council. Hayden's campaign chair and political mentor is former Council Member Paul Ostrow, who unsuccessfully pursued a City Hall restructuring during the last of his dozen years on the council and has kept the idea alive since he left office in 2009. The idea deserves renewed discussion — but not at the expense of losing an able and effective incumbent.
Chris Bubser, Eastside Resident
“I like working with Kevin because he intimately understands transportation and urban planning policy. He knows how to engage the community in the project planning process – not just as a token gesture, but to actually get input from residents. Only one of the bike lanes or bike boulevards we currently have in Northeast was here when Kevin was elected, and he's still working with us to this day to make our community even more bike friendly... You can be sure Kevin is advocating for bike lanes and other development projects that are good for the Eastside and Minneapolis in general because the results are all around us…”
Darielle Dannen, Eastside Resident & Housing Advocate
“Council Member Reich has been a leader on affordable housing his entire time at city hall. He helped find funding to support free legal services for renters, he created a city program to support senior housing, he helped set aside special funds to support housing for very low-income families with kids, and so much more. He has done all of this work side-by-side with housing advocates, listening to the needs of everyone in our community. We need Kevin's collaborative leadership at City Hall to secure the safe, affordable, and stable housing we need – now and into the future…”
Jamez Staples, Renewable Energy Partners Founder
“I've dedicated my life to bringing jobs to people who need them and doing the work of improving our environment in tangible, real-world ways. I support Kevin… because he understands the importance of ensuring that workforce development goes hand-in-hand with advances in sustainability technologies. He's long been a proponent of providing equitable workforce development opportunities by leveraging the City of Minneapolis’ procurement process as a way to spur economic participation and development for minority communities to get engaged... Kevin is working hard to make sure no one is left behind in the new sustainability economy and I hope you'll join me in supporting his work."
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
"We look forward to proudly supporting you as a labor-endorsed candidate. As an endorsed candidate, we know that you prioritize the issues facing working families and we look forward to seeing that represented in your campaign. Given the National and State landscape, the work we do together in Minneapolis in 2017 will be important to ensuring successes for workers across our state in 2018 and beyond."
Mariam Slayhi, Eastside Resident & Environmental Activist
“Over the past several years, as NE has tackled the work of cleaning up polluted sites and fighting to stop current industry from poisoning our air and water, Kevin has stood firmly with us. Kevin fights for a cleaner NE – taking a stand to get polluter GAF’s attention through direct action on their lease of city land, supporting the Bottineau Neighborhood in obtaining funding to collect data on industry-related air pollution near the River, and pushing action with state regulators that has led to the Northern Metals shutdown and soon-to-be move out of our neighborhood… I am proud to enthusiastically support Kevin for Ward One…”
Susan Tuck, Eastside Resident & Teacher
“I support Kevin Reich’s re-election because I want our community to continue to evolve as a safe and vibrant place, full of opportunities for kids and families of all backgrounds. Kevin believes in our public schools and has made sure that kids have real-world educational opportunities right in our community... If he believes that the interests of our community and city aren’t being served, he’ll come to the table with a solution to make it happen. His work to make sure impacted Northeast communities along the Mississippi were included in the City’s Green Zones policy is just one example of how he has fought for equitable health and environmental initiatives for the Eastside, which make a difference for our community now and for future generations...”
James Everett, Community Organizer and Activist
“I've seen up close how Kevin’s efforts in neighborhood engagement and youth initiatives on the Eastside have connected across the river and positively impacted our community on the Northside. Now he is a Council Member who knows that end results are ultimately what matter; and his work to promote youth employment and empowerment has led to direct positive results. Kevin understands that a city is only great if all its residents have access to opportunity, and he knows we still have challenging work ahead of us…”
Anj Johnson Ronay, Eastside Resident
“In 2009, my wife and I, expecting our first child, trekked back to the Midwest, settling in Minnesota... A few years later we were shocked when a proposed marriage amendment was placed on the November 2012 ballot. To strengthen our voices in NE Minneapolis, we dreamed up grassroots organizing called "NE Votes NO.” Kevin, both personally and in his role as Council Member, was one of the FIRST contributors to and most vocal supporters of our movement. I will never forget our launch party, on a front porch in NE with trains sounding, as Kevin closed out the evening with us with a call to action, fired up and ready to go. Months later we all celebrated victory for our community. Thank you, Kevin, for your long-standing commitment to and for standing with the LGBTQ community!...”
Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council
Teamsters Joint Council 32
Jim Brenner, Eastside Resident & Artist
“Kevin understands that art is a powerful tool that can transform neighborhoods. He actively supports the integration of art into the community through public art projects, artist-in-residence and arts mentorship programs in our local schools, championing the mission and work of our Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, and leading the expansion of city policies and initiatives that help artists thrive. Art isn’t just an afterthought with Kevin; it’s an integral part of his vision for our community... (J)oin me in supporting him for re-election as the Ward 1 Council Member."
Minneapolis Firefighters Local 82
"We proudly endorse Kevin Reich for City Council because he has demonstrated consistent and solid advocacy and results at City Hall to get firefighters the resources we need to do our jobs. He continues to fight for the increased staffing levels that are essential to keep up with the growing demands on the Fire Department and fully supports innovative training and recruitment programs that aim to expand the diversity of our workforce."
Stephanie Johnson Ronay, Eastside Resident, Local Government Employee, and Environmental Engineer
“I have had the pleasure of working directly with Kevin for the past several years. During this time I have witnessed firsthand Kevin's commitment to protecting and improving our urban environment, and his vision for re-connecting NE Minneapolis to the Mississippi River. I am proud to stand with a local leader who knows how to bring people together and get things done. Please join me in supporting Kevin Reich!”
Sarah Jane Perbix, Eastside Resident, Local Musician & Central Avenue Business Owner
“A little over two years ago Kevin celebrated with us as we officially opened our school in a renovated storefront on Central Avenue and he has been a staunch supporter and ally ever since. I was drawn to this space because of the buzz of activity all up and down the Avenue – bikers and pedestrians seemed to be everywhere. And it’s only gotten more lively! I remember when Central was not as vibrant, and as a long-time Northeaster I am grateful for those like Kevin who saw the vision of our “Main Street” and did the work to make it happen… Join me in supporting Kevin Reich for Ward 1…”
Louise Zawojski, Eastside Resident & Housing Advocate
“I want to see, and live in, a community in which everyone has a place to call home; the path to this result is complex and requires the ability to work with many different partners and systems. Kevin Reich has the passion for this type of complex work, and I have witnessed his ability to bring multiple partners to the table and move policy and projects forward. Affordable housing doesn’t just happen because we say we want it – it only happens when policy makers understand the intricacies and are willing to work behind the scenes to overcome every barrier… I have seen firsthand how Kevin Reich gets results in creating and maintaining affordable housing options for everyone in our community, with even more in the pipeline…”
Nicole Pappas Stanoch, Artist & Bad Apple Mini Urban Orchards Owner
“I scout out vacant urban land that can be turned into small urban fruit farms. Some of that fruit is used to produce apple brandy, while the remainder is available to be enjoyed by the property owners. When I brought this idea to Kevin Reich, he didn’t just embrace it, he went into action. Northeast Minneapolis now has two new small urban fruit farms that owe much to his supportive efforts... I support Kevin Reich because he knows how to turn words and ideas into living results that bring beauty and harmony to the community."
Larry Pinkney, Eastside Resident
“As a long-engaged member of our community, I served on the Holland Board while Kevin was the Neighborhood Projects Coordinator and also worked with him as part of the Central Avenue Plan’s steering committee. We worked side by side on housing and livability issues, launching initiatives that tackled real crime and safety concerns and helped spring this neighborhood back to life. I’ve seen Kevin’s deeply felt commitment to economic and social justice up close and in action. As a longstanding progressive writer and organizer, founder and coordinator of the Black Activists Writers Guild and veteran of the original Black Panther Party, I know the real thing when I see it. And Kevin is the real deal…”
Joel Hernandez, Eastside Resident
“I came to know Kevin Reich during our early efforts to bring urban agriculture to Northeast.... As a result of our work together, my neighbors now plant vegetables in place of lawns, add chickens and bees to their yards, and more importantly, greet each other as they work with their shovels and spades each spring after the long winter’s hibernation. I couldn’t be more proud of the work Kevin has done with us – both in those early days and now in his work as a policy maker enacting the laws and regulations that enable that energy to grow and spread… We need Kevin Reich’s commitment and ability to get things done as we work to expand our urban agriculture footprint.”
"We are excited to stand with Kevin Reich for Ward 1! Kevin's commitment in words and action promotes the value of our creative jobs, and the value of all jobs in Minneapolis and statewide, and this is the leadership that we need right now. Kevin's experience working on progressive employment initiatives and streamlining regulations important to our local film industry help us keep these jobs here. Moving Minneapolis forward requires leadership and experience. Kevin has both. We ask you to join us in supporting Kevin for Ward 1!"
Meerwais Azizi, Eastside Resident & Central Avenue Business Owner
“Kevin understands that local businesses like mine are an important part of what makes this community special, and he’s been one of our best allies at City Hall. Every day, all over our neighborhood, small business owners like me roll up our sleeves - working hard, providing jobs, and adding economic and social value to our neighborhoods. We’re not big box stores and national chains. We’re the people who live down the block, raising our families and supporting our local schools. Kevin has been working for and alongside us, assisting us with immense determination no matter how small or large the challenge... We need a representative who understands that strong small local businesses make our whole community a better place to live. We need Kevin Reich for Ward One...”
IUOE Local 49 | International Union of Operating Engineers
“We are the largest construction union in this state, representing close to 14,000 equipment operators, that build and maintain the infrastructure of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Our members work safe, they work efficiently, and they are best at what they do. We will continue to fight to maintain the middle class wages, pension and health care that our members have worked so hard to earn. You have been with us, and supported us in these efforts for your entire career on the council. That is why we are taking the unusual step of endorsing your campaign without screening. We simply don’t believe anyone could do a better job representing hard-working, blue collar, middle class people in your community better than you have.”
Kevin Kelly, Eastside Resident
“I strongly support Kevin Reich in his re-election to the Minneapolis City Council because he offers the kind of collaborative and resourceful leadership our community needs. As a former Board Chair of the Audubon Neighborhood Association I worked closely with Kevin on a number of community initiatives and issues, most notably the Hollywood Theater. Kevin worked with residents and stakeholders to tackle this ongoing priority and brought innovative ideas and partnerships to the table... Kevin has the proven ability to transform community visions into practical action. That’s the kind of leadership we need for Ward 1."
Dr. Herman Milligan, Jr., Arts Advocate
“Kevin has shown that he understands the singular importance of our Arts District and the creative economy it nurtures and he’s underlined that understanding with consistent direct action and support. For one example, two years ago he authored the Percent for Art ordinance, legislation that provides 1.5 % annual dedicated annual funding for public art in the City of Minneapolis. I was a strong supporter of this legislation and Kevin’s work to achieve it demonstrates an individual who is willing to go to bat for artists and celebrate the contribution they make to our community. I support Kevin because he supports the arts."
Amy Fields, Eastside Resident & Former Eastside Coop General Manager
“Kevin has both the vision and the know-how to get things done for our community... (He) has been a key factor in reversing a trend of disinvestment on Central Avenue and making it a vibrant place to live, work and play... Once-empty retail sites are filled now with a rich mix of thriving small businesses... Kevin was supportive and helpful as the NEIC volunteers worked through the challenges of reclaiming a dilapidated building into multiple uses, including a bike shop, bakery and cooperative brewery. Kevin believes in the power of cooperation, partnership and community building to create positive change and his work demonstrates that belief in action. That’s why I hope you’ll join me in supporting him…”
Governor Mark Dayton
"As Governor of Minnesota for the past six years, I have worked with many elected officials toward the goal of making a Better Minnesota for everyone. I want you to know that Kevin Reich, your First Ward Council Member, has been an extremely strong ally of mine to make not only Minneapolis better, but also all of Minnesota. Kevin and I share two principal goals: improve our state’s water quality and create better educational opportunities for all of our children. Both are critical to our future. Kevin is known for his work in the field of water quality, serving as Chair of the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization. He has worked for clean water and a better environment since even before he was elected. Kevin has led many city projects to achieve those goals, and I applaud him for that. Kevin has also been a major advocate for better educations for all Eastside children. Kevin has worked with the Minneapolis Public Schools to create better buildings and better learning environments for our children. As Chair of the Minneapolis City Council Public Works Committee, Kevin has been a key innovator on transportation issues and has supported regional efforts to create a better transportation and transit system. Kevin Reich also been a strong voice for economic development and has taken tough votes to advance the economic interests of all Minnesotans. It’s easy to talk about making our state better. It’s another matter to actually do it. Kevin has delivered for the Eastside! The Eastside community has seen a remarkable renaissance since Kevin was first elected. Kevin has represented you with integrity, honesty and thoughtfulness. He epitomizes what it means to be a public servant. I hope you vote to re-elect Kevin Reich to the City Council as your First Ward Council Member on Tuesday, November 7th."
Doug Werner, Eastside Resident & Teacher
“Among the many reasons I support Kevin... is his unwavering dedication to education and our Eastside schools. He’s a determined advocate who has consistently secured resources and facilitated partnerships for projects that provide real benefit for our students – from the University of Minnesota-led stormwater monitoring project at the Edison High parking lot, to the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization-led, cutting-edge sustainability infrastructure installation that created the greenest athletic field in the state right here on the Eastside… Kevin understands that strong schools make for a strong community and I want him to continue working for us…”
Laura Bonicelli, Eastside Resident & Central Avenue Business Owner
“Opening a small business in the neighborhood I call home has been my dream for many years. Kevin Reich helped make that dream a reality through his unstinting support. He was enthusiastic about my plans, his door was always open and he worked hard to guide me through the process, assisting with roadblocks, seeking innovative solutions and always making sure my voice was heard. I’m proud to have a council member who is so deeply invested in helping small local businesses thrive and who makes me feel truly represented…”