I have lived in Loring Park for 20 years. Loring Park used to be a place where young people could start out with an affordable place of their own, but that’s not the case anymore. After 20 years with Lisa Goodman as our city council representative, affordable housing has never been harder to find in Ward 7.
When I heard Janne Flisrand was running for city council, my immediate reaction was excitement, followed by relief. I set up a time to meet with her right away. Just the possibility of having new energy in Ward 7 was exciting. And then, when we really talked about what she intended to do, I was immediately inspired to get involved. I said Yes to caucusing on her behalf and Yes to being a delegate. There’s something about Janne’s visible, receptive approach to leadership that makes me want to be involved. I haven’t felt this way for a long time.
I’ve been acquainted with Janne for long enough to know that she’s a collaborator, a listener. Her vision is clear: she wants Minneapolis to be a city in which everyone has a voice, everyone feels (and is) safe, and everyone has an equal opportunity. She has great ideas about how to help make that happen, but best of all, she’s also always listening to people who might have even better ideas.
I met Janne at a "Coffee Caucus" event shortly after she launched her candidacy for city council. She immediately impressed me as an inquisitive and compassionate woman who shares my progressive values. I moved to Loring Park five years ago because of its walkable streets and ready access to public transportation. But even when I first moved here, it was clear that affordable housing is scarce. And while the public transportation downtown is among the best in the cities, it rapidly becomes more difficult to get around without a car outside of the immediate confines of downtown. We need to do much better to ensure that Minneapolis is a livable city for all of us.
Janne is a deeply knowledgeable leader who understands this. As a private citizen and an activist, she has already established a strong record of making our city a more sustainable and equitable place to live. We have the chance, this year, to elect a city council that can put Minneapolis at the forefront of advancing economic and racial equality, stopping climate change, and building a healthier and more sustainable future. This is why I am supporting her for city council.
I’m supporting Janne Flisrand for Minneapolis City Council in Ward 7 because she shares my progressive values. I agree with her positions on policing, creating a more equitable ward, economic justice issues, streets that are safe for bicycles, and so much more.
Just as important as her progressive stance on the issues, however, is the fact that Janne is open and eager to listen. Over the years my husband and I have sent numerous written communications to Lisa Goodman and called her office about issues we care about, but we have gotten no response of any kind for four years. Ms. Goodman goes to meetings, but it’s clear that she’s interested in being connected to some people and not others. Even her website hadn’t been updated for years, until Janne announced her campaign. It seems there’s no information going in or out. You know it’s time for a change when you can’t even get an automated response from your city council representative!
Janne is running so that Ward 7 can have a city council member who represents everybody.
Our experience with Janne is that she listens. We in Ward 7 have noticed that quality and understand how important it is, especially in the current political climate. Janne can be relied on, in all circumstances, to be empathetic while being civil. She thinks critically and makes tough decisions about any situation before her. She doesn’t show up to anything already decided. She has no agenda beyond doing what’s best for everyone.
Janne’s own story is a lot like that of many of us in Ward 7. She considers herself lucky to have bought a multi-unit home at a time—20 years ago—when she could afford to. When we were in our 20s, we were able to buy our first house here and start building wealth. That is pretty unheard of now in Ward 7. Young people have lots of reasons to want to move to Minneapolis—and particularly Ward 7, given its proximity to the lakes and Downtown. But they will go elsewhere if the housing situation doesn’t welcome them and allow for more economic diversity. We need this generation in order to keep our neighborhood vibrant and looking toward the future. It makes sense that so many young people are supporting Janne and volunteering many hours on her campaign. They know she cares about their issues. These are issues that should be critical to all of us who care about the future of our city: safe, affordable housing; street design that keeps walkers, bikers, and drivers protected; affordable, safe, reliable public transportation; protection of the environment and working to undo the harm we’ve already caused.
I’m supporting Janne Flisrand for Ward 7 City Council because I have seen her effectiveness over the last two decades as I’ve worked with her on a variety of affordable and sustainable housing issues in the city.
Janne is an excellent facilitator of conversations. She really listens, and far too few people have that quality. Because Janne has such a strong commitment to fairness and equity, she seeks the input of people whose voices are most often not heard. When she puts a solution forward, you can be sure that it will serve a broader, diverse community.
After working in the affordable/sustainable housing space for two decades, I can tell you that too often decision makers are serving those who have more money, more power, more influence, or just louder voices. Janne has always made sure that more voices were brought into the conversation and that those voices were heard and valued.
My dad, John Curran, moved to Ward 7 in 1928, and he knows the city in ways you can’t even imagine. My dad likes Janne, too, and he’s the best judge of character I know. For my father, at 97, the frequency of coffee shops along a street or the fear of frostbite determines whether he can go out or not. Nobody whose view of the city is on a map or from a window in City Hall can understand how to help people like my father to age in place and continue to thrive.
Janne is out in the community, seeing every inch of Ward 7 and the rest of the city up close, often on foot. She’s visible, and she was visible long before she decided to run for office. I didn’t realize how important that is until I started running into a core group of City Council people, not just in meeting rooms, but on the streets. I was looking at the people making decisions about our city, and I realized that not all of them are actually out there using our city. When I see Janne out there, I realize the government is accessible to me. It’s exciting for me that, come November, I may have a City Council member I’m likely to run into out in the world.
I support Janne Flisrand for Ward 7 City Council because she supports Black Lives Matter. When Jamar Clark was killed by a police officer in 2015, three members of the City Council showed up at the 4th Precinct and in the press as advocates for justice; Janne’s opponent, kept silent. Racial justice is complicated, but committing yourself to police reform—particularly the issue of stopping the police from killing African American men—is not complicated. It begins with some deep listening, and that means the City Council listening to Black Lives Matter and other groups working for racial justice and police reform. I’d like to see the city treat BLM with greater respect, and I’d like to see them have a seat at the table. Janne listens to everybody, and that includes Black Lives Matter.
I believe that Janne would have a positive effect on the City Council overall. Because she is a deeply reflective, clear headed person, people respect her perspective. With Janne on the City Council, I see the possibility for the council to become more Progressive while retaining a high degree of self-discipline.
When I learned about Janne Flisrand’s candidacy for Ward 7 City Council, I was initially just happy to hear that a viable candidate was finally challenging Lisa Goodman. Goodman has not voted the way I’d have wanted her to vote over the past few years, and I would like to see her replaced by a true progressive who’s interested in really fixing things. That’s Janne.
I agree completely with Janne’s stance on expanding and improving public transportation. I also appreciate her strong commitment to making Ward 7 safe and pleasant for those who choose to walk places. It’s clear that all of the urban design that’s taken place in the last 20 years in our neighborhood has created an environment targeted for people who drive and nobody else. Think about the way that impacts people’s lives. It’s not about going for a stroll; it’s actually hard to get around in Ward 7 unless you have a car.
Janne’s done a lot for our ward and our city already. It’s clear that service to her community is Janne’s life. She’s looking to be of service in a bigger way now, and I believe she has the ideal skill set to be an extremely effective member of the Minneapolis City Council.
I support Janne Flisrand for Minneapolis City Council. That’s probably not a surprise since I’m married to her, but I support her candidacy because the things I most admire about Janne are also the things that will make her a great City Councilmember for Ward 7.
Janne lives her principles more thoroughly than anyone I know. Her accomplishments, such as helping to create the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition (now Our Streets Mpls), creating a community garden, and working to improve energy efficiency in affordable housing, came out of a deep commitment to equity and sustainability. These values frame every choice she makes, not because someone said they would look good on a campaign flyer, but because that’s just the kind of person she is. You can count on her to carry herself with integrity, placing these values front and center in everything she does.
Janne Flisrand was literally the first person I met in Minneapolis. I came to town with my mom and brother to look at apartments, and the first place we looked at was in the building Janne has owned and occupied on Hennepin Avenue for 20 years. We decided to look at the rest of the places on our list, but even if the other places were a little better in some ways, we found ourselves saying, “This place is nice, but we wouldn’t get Janne.”
Janne knew all about the neighborhood and was candid about what was good and what was not-so-good. She explained bus routes, and since my brother is a big biker, Janne was always getting out the map to show him the safest, most efficient biking routes.
I might not even have been voting in every election if I hadn’t lived in Janne’s house. She encouraged all of us to be informed and participate. She would share her own positions only if asked; her political mantra was and is, “Do your research.” She had election night traditions—no matter how small the election—that if you lived in the house and you voted, you could come for homemade cherry pie in her apartment. I’ve never missed an election since moving to Minneapolis. Her level of civic engagement was really inspiring. We’d all walk over to vote together when we could.
I support Janne Flisrand because I am deeply concerned about issues of clean energy, sustainability, and health—especially as they relate to the interests of people who have less financial and political influence than others.
I was the director of the Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR) at the University of Minnesota for 17 years. We worked with Janne for many years beginning in 2005 when she was leading the Green Communities Program. In that role, she was the representative of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and the Family Housing Fund. CSBR developed a set of building standards designed to improve the environment as well as the health and wellbeing of inhabitants, and it was Janne’s job to coordinate actions and build consensus among many different parties so that we could transform affordable housing in the state of Minnesota to be more healthy and sustainable. She played a really important leadership role, and now that program is required in all affordable housing projects in the city of Minneapolis. The healthy affordable housing Janne Flisrand helped make a reality has shifted expectations in the realm of affordable housing overall. It’s not just about keeping costs down anymore. Now it’s also about creating healthy housing with lower environmental impacts and lower operational costs.
Janne is very skilled at listening deeply and bringing people to consensus. I have no doubt that putting Janne Flisrand on the Minneapolis City Council will make the council more effective, and it will ensure that the interests of those who have less will be given the time, focus, and consideration they deserve.
I support Janne Flisrand for Ward 7 City Council because she is an innovative thinker with an impressive history of solving complicated problems.
I met Janne more than ten years ago while we were both volunteering with the Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association (LHNA). Janne was an integral part of transforming the LHNA into a truly inclusive organization that worked to improve our neighborhood for the betterment of all residents, not just homeowners. When Janne chaired the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) committee for LHNA, she figured out a solution to the perplexing question of how to invest our housing funds. LHNA didn't think it made sense to use them for home improvement loans when the majority of Lowry Hill homeowners are able to borrow from traditional lenders.
Caroline Horton, a friend Janne met interning at an affordable housing organization in 2000, summarizes what happened next:
In 2008, Janne called me to talk about the challenge of what exactly to do with a portion of her neighborhood’s NRP funds—$216,000—which by law, had to be spent on housing. We came up with the idea of lending the money to the Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF) to finance predevelopment loans to affordable housing developers. These loans are critical to building affordable housing because nonprofits need to pay costs of work that happens before a project is funded, such as working with the designers and neighborhoods, filling out the funding applications, or the right to buy a property. Janne approached Kate Barr, President and CEO of NAF, to ask if they would be interested in partnering.
Kate Barr summarizes how Janne's idea was received:
We were interested. Through this innovative plan, at the end of the loan period, the funds would go back to Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association with a small amount of interest. For the neighborhood, they would meet their legal obligation to use the funds for housing, and once it was repaid they’d be able to fund community-building activities and improvement projects in Lowry Hill.
Janne pulled together the partners, got all of the necessary approvals, and the plan was such an effective solution that several other neighborhood organizations have used the same model since.
I support Janne Flisrand for Minneapolis City Council because she’s committed, social-justice oriented, passionate, inclusive, a great listener, and she gets things done.
I first met Janne when I moved back to Minneapolis after 10 years away. I was just thinking about getting back on a bike after 25 years. I found the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition (MBC) on Facebook, and the first thing I saw was a meeting Janne organized for potential volunteers. I showed up, but in all honesty, I figured it would be awkward and I would leave. Janne was the reason that didn’t happen. She brought together this group of people from all different backgrounds, none of whom knew each other, and she made sure every one of us felt welcome and included. Her ability to organize, lead groups, make sure everyone is heard and included, and draw ideas out of people who might not be comfortable talking in front of a group was remarkable. That evening a couple of committees were formed, and people kept coming back. Janne’s leadership was a big part of that. I became a volunteer that night; after about a year, I became a lead volunteer, and later I was asked to serve on the board of MBC a position I've held now for the past 3 years.
Janne knows how to help people work together to create results. The key to this is that she doesn’t go in saying, “This is the result I want,” but rather, she inspires creativity and critical thinking in the group. She goes in asking people, “What do you want this to look like? What do you want to create here?” She listens to everyone, and she facilitates people to be self-directed, creating a work group that works together beautifully.
I support Janne Flisrand because she cares deeply about the city and all of the people who live in it.
I met Janne 5 or 6 years ago at the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition. I went to a neighborhood meet up where her role was to tell people about MBC and explain what volunteer opportunities existed at that time. She was super welcoming and very friendly, so I was immediately at ease, after having been pretty intimidated coming in as a new biker. Her leadership skills were apparent right away: she was comfortable in front of a crowd, a very clear communicator, and deeply passionate about the important work MBC was doing. After the meeting, I contacted her to see what role I’d fit best in. She asked about my interests and skills, and then she took the time to figure out where I would be most likely to make the most significant contribution. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Janne was continually grooming others for leadership. She is great at seeing qualities in people that they might not even realize they have. She never pushes people; she’s just very encouraging, and since she inquires so thoroughly and listens so well, she often ends up guiding people into making a more valuable contribution than they even thought possible—sometimes stepping pretty far out of their comfort zones to do so. People tend to go above and beyond when someone of obvious substance believes in them.
Janne is deeply intelligent, honest, creative, friendly, and energetic—and all of that is tempered with a social grace that makes her far more likely to give someone else credit than to seek it for herself. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what those qualities will look like on the Minneapolis City Council, but I’m 100% sure I want to find out.
I support Janne Flisrand because she is super smart, and she’s committed to making the city of Minneapolis the kind of place where I want to live.
I met Janne in 2012 when I got involved as a volunteer with what was then the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, now Our Streets Minneapolis. Janne was serving as the volunteer coordinator. I came in rather intimidated because the coalition people seemed like fast bikers with cool bikes or were all smart city planner types. Janne helped me feel less intimidated, and she helped me find a volunteer position that was a fit for me. She was a unique combination of extremely accessible and very clear and direct. She wanted to see me get connected and to succeed with the organization, so she made sure I knew exactly what was expected. After volunteering for a while, I joined the Coalition board. Not long after that I got really involved and became the board chair and took on a lot of leadership responsibilities. Janne showed me early on that I could play a valuable role (even though I am still not a fast biker and I don’t have a cool bike).
Janne can always be trusted to be accessible and open to different perspectives, but she's also fierce and committed. Because she’s highly principled, she’s not so open that she lets people get away with doing less than they’re capable of doing. Janne is also great at making something that seems infinitely complex simple enough for people to understand it. That quality will be invaluable on the City Council, where being able to make complex issues thoroughly understandable is an essential step in creating good policy.
I support Janne Flisrand for City Council because she is a visionary, pro-active leader who is actively working to bridge and empower our community. Janne is ready to tackle the biggest issues facing our city. Instead of continuing to wait to see if our current representative does the right thing for our ward and the city, we finally have the opportunity to elect someone who we can have absolute confidence will do the right thing, visibly and confidently, right away, always. The time is now to bring a proven pro-active change agent to our council chambers.
I’m extremely impressed with Janne’s knowledge on how to create the Minneapolis of tomorrow — a city we won’t be able to have with Ward 7’s current council member still in charge. Unlike the long-entrenched incumbent, Janne has a vision that will move the city beyond what has become the norm in our ward. Her vision (detailed and published on her website) will empower our neighbors, families, and professionals; it’s a vision that will benefit each and every one of us for decades to come. Whether it’s improved transit access or supporting small businesses and the employees who work at them or her unmatched thought-leadership on our dire affordable housing situation, Ward 7 will do better — and be better — with Janne representing us at City Hall.
I support Janne Flisrand for Ward 7 City Council because she is a thoughtful and proactive leader. She can be counted on to seek out many perspectives and weave together a solution.
Janne's dynamic leadership has inspired people from all walks of life to join her change-making campaign. It has been inspiring to watch the energy around her candidacy grow so rapidly, and I am particularly gratified to see young people get actively involved in a political campaign--many for the first time--in service of electing a candidate with such high integrity.
About a month ago, Ward 7 City Council candidate, Janne Flisrand, convened a group of smart, engaged people with diverse areas of expertise. Right in the middle of her campaign, rather than hold a “get to know the candidate” event or a fundraiser; she put together a creative solution-generating exercise that she masterfully (and humbly) facilitated so that she—and everyone present—could learn something new about the ward and the city. I was very impressed with her for bringing that kind of insight into her campaign. Even though she is clearly an independent thinker, she is also wise enough to seek the input of a diverse group of people to ensure that she is as informed as possible on every issue.
The way Janne engages people is refreshing. She doesn’t give you an immediate, “YES-YES, rah-rah…I understand completely; you’re so right!” She takes in the information and she thinks about it. That’s an indicator of maturity, authenticity, and integrity. Given what’s happening on the national level, the thought of someone as level-headed and wise as Janne helping run this city gives me no small degree of comfort.
I’m an urban planner, so I’m looking for some very specific characteristics in my City Council people. I wouldn’t be swayed by someone’s personality or charm; I’m looking for someone to be deeply knowledgeable about how cities work and what it takes to make them better. When I met Janne Flisrand, I knew I’d met the person I would be supporting in the Ward 7 City Council race.
I moved here from Michigan a couple of years ago, and I’m in awe of how great Minneapolis is. Janne was positive about Minneapolis too, but I liked that she wasn’t complacent about how things are here. She has a vision for how to make things even better. We talked about how Minneapolis aspires to actualize a “complete street” philosophy, where pedestrians, cyclists, and people in and on all other vehicles could move safely and harmoniously through the streets. She has a vision for how new developments in the city could happen in a way that complements the character of our city. She’s one of the only people I’ve heard talk knowledgeably about how to make sure we maintain quality housing stock that is still affordable for people. She understands that if we fail to do so, we lose who we are as a city.