We the People: Running for Public Office

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In November 2021, Minneapolis residents will be voting for Mayor, City Council members, Park Board representatives, and members of the Board of Estimate & Taxation. In light of these upcoming elections, we have asked an impressive group of women to talk about the nuts and bolts of running for public office. Each has run for – and won – public office in Minneapolis: Former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, Former City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, Former School Board Member Pam Costain, and current Minnesota State Senator Patricia Torres Ray.

Read this for more information:
How to Run for Public Office




Sharon Sayles Belton served as mayor of Minneapolis, Minn., from 1994 to 2001. She was the first woman and first African American to be elected mayor. During her time in office, she achieved national recognition as an expert on public/private partnerships in public safety, neighborhood revitalization and economic development. She served on the Minneapolis City Council for 10 years (1984-1994) and was council president from 1990-1994. She currently serves as the V.P. for Strategic Partnerships and Alliance for Thomson Reuters, Government.

Senator Patricia Torres Ray was the first Latina elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2006. In 2010 she was the first woman of color to run as Lieutenant Governor in the State.She has hold multiple leadership roles in the Senate, including Majority Whip, and Chair of the Parks and Trails Legacy Committee, Chair of the New Immigration Policy Commission, Chair of the Education Policy Committee and Chair of State and Local Government Committee.

Elizabeth Glidden was elected and served on the Minneapolis City Council from 2005-2017 and was Council Vice President from 2013-17. She authored Minneapolis’ earned safe and sick time law, Ranked Choice Voting, and helped create Minneapolis’ Clean Energy Partnership with energy utilities, and established the city’s Division of Race and Equity through ordinance. She is a Elizabeth Glidden is a lawyer who currently serves as Deputy Executive Director and Director of Public Policy for the Minnesota Housing Partnership.

Pam Costain was elected a Director of the Minneapolis Board of Education in 2010 and served as Chair of the Board in her first year of office. Following her service on the board she became the CEO of AchieveMpls, the strategic non-profit apartner of Minneapolis Public Schools. Prior to her service on the school board, she helped found Wellstone Action and was their Director of Education and Training for five years. In that capacity she developed curriculum on organizing and electoral politics and trained hundreds of people on how to be a successful candidate for public office.