The Fifth Ward of Minneapolis can be considered the heart of the North Side of Minneapolis. The Fifth Ward City Council race currently has two candidates making a serious bid for the seat — incumbent Don Samuels and challenger Kenya McKnight.
The ethnic makeup of the area has gone through considerable changes over the past 30 years; census data for 2000 (more recent data has yet to be released) shows that every neighborhood in the Fifth Ward has seen significant decreases in the White population while simultaneously experiencing unprecedented growth in many communities of color.
The single exception is the North Loop, which has seen significant growth in all groups – including Whites. There have also been substantial decreases in the elderly population and a noticeable increase in the population of young people in the Fifth Ward.
Both council candidates express a sincere passion for the well-being of underprivileged and neglected communities in Minneapolis with, of course, a particular vested interest in the North Side of the city. Jobs within the community, safety of the residents, and opportunities for the young people in the Fifth Ward are also issues of concern for them both.
Both candidates see economic opportunity, security and stability as crucial elements to a healthy community. Aside from one candidate being a young woman, and the other being an older male, the clearest difference between them may be how they believe these things can be accomplished most effectively. In recent interviews, we asked the candidates to talk about their hopes and plans for the Fifth Ward:
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