“The 4th Ward has great assets. We came here to open a business, then moved here. We truly love it,” said Kris Brogan. Surrounded by extended family and friends, she kicked off her campaign to unseat incumbent Council Member Barbara Johnson.
Brogan said, “We have a vision for what we want, for what works.” She touted the area’s assets – great parks, easy river access, the Kroening Interpretive Center, good schools. “I’m committed to make the blocks welcoming and safe. We need partners. We need an advocate at City Hall.”
One of Brogan’s supporters put it, “We’ve lived here a long time, seen a lot of changes, and the changes have not been good.” Brogan’s literature states “it’s time to have a leader who puts our neighborhoods and residents first. A leader we can count on, someone to stand up for our children and demand more for our community.” She and husband Mick have five grandchildren.
Young people are at the top of her issues list. “They’re our future. We want them to come back and live here as adults. We need to give them a good library experience [referring to Hennepin County shelving the Webber Library move plan], the opportunity to grow, through sports and please… the arts.” To give youth internships and job shadowing “we need businesses here. We need to ask them, make it easy to come, grow, and stay. We need to support our businesses. Businesses can’t thrive unless people live here.”
“Our wards have been number one in housing foreclosures for six years. We need new neighbors. We need to fill vacant lots with quality new housing, real houses.” Developers need to put multi-family buildings on transit corridors, she said.
Jobs and quality housing are next. Brogan thanked Patricia Bauknight for being persistent getting her to work in Whittier on housing and economic development issues. Northsiders may know Brogan best as the co-owner of Papa’s Restaurant, which closed recently. After Whittier, she worked in the public schools. She was an aide to former Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton and in a 25-year career has been a consultant for affordable housing developers, Gateway Lofts at 27th and Upton, for example.
Gateway Lofts’ dot on the map is in the new 4th Ward and the only dot in the 4th Ward in a city where “there’s over $1 billion of development happening. That parcel was paying $500 a year in property taxes, and next year will be paying $36,000.” The combined incomes of the residents has gone from $700,000 to $900,000. “They make more money when they have stable housing. Our message is one of community investment for positive growth,” Brogan said.
Lisa Keske, an intern whom Brogan mentored 14 years ago in the Mayor’s office, made the pitch to the full room at The Warren March 9 to go to the precinct caucuses and become a delegate, and to attend the convention Saturday May 4. “It’s a day and an evening to change our ward.” She added that the rules committee has limited the number of ballots to five.