Liberian-American Wilfred Russell Eyes Brooklyn Park Mayoral Post in U.S.

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In January 2019, Russell, a former instructor at the University of Minnesota, defeated former council member Bob Mata by garnering a convincing 55% of the vote in November’s midterm elections to make him the second person of color elected to the council after that of his now fellow council member, Susan Pha, two years ago.

BROOKLYN PARK, MN – Mr. Wynfred N. Russell, an American-Liberian and a former lecturer at the University of Minnesota has declared his intention to contest for the post of mayor for Brooklyn Park in Minnesota.

With a population of more than 80,000 people, Brooklyn Park is the sixth-largest city in Minnesota and the fourth largest in the metropolitan area.

Announcing his candidature of the residents of city, Mr. Russell wrote:

“I have represented the West District on the City Council since January 2019. But before my time on the council, I served on the Human Rights Commission, the Planning Commission, Stable Neighborhood Taskforce, and co-founded a community-based organization – ACER – that promotes health equity, generate jobs, creates educational access, and advances quality affordable housing for African immigrants and other people of color in the northwest suburbs.

 “I have enjoyed wonderful partnerships with my fellow councilmembers, residents, businesses, and organizations during my nearly two years. Together, we have accomplished some extraordinary things and positioned to do even more.”

Mr. Russell has been robust in coordinating a state-wide initiative to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on people of color, managing a hotline to connect people to resources, and providing support to testing centers, including one in Brooklyn Park.

He also helped to fast-tracked policies and processes to disburse over $3 million in CARES funds to address rental assistance, mortgage support for homeowners; the second round of funds for small businesses, and maintaining the capacity for local grassroots organizations to continue to strengthen our community.

In addition to that, he developed a comprehensive immigration strategy with the help of Congressional, states, cities, national organizations, and local advocacy partnerships that culminated into the passage in Congress of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act that provided relief to Liberian DED holders and supported TPS extension for Somalis, Yemenis, Haitians, and Hondurans immigrants.

He also helped to revamp the Brooklyn Park Development Corporation to provide $200,000 in business relief funds to local micro-businesses; supported Christiana’s Day Care expansion into Brooklyn Park, providing operating hours from 5:30a to 11:30p, which will give parents the flexibility to arrange childcare according to their work schedules and partnered with Second Harvest Heartland, Minnesota’s largest food bank, to secure $18 million to build a new facility in Brooklyn Park.

 According to him, there is the need for innovative strategies to increase Brooklyn Park’s tax base while decreasing our reliance on property taxes. My administration will actively pursue and entice corporations and support small businesses to locate to our city.

Mr. Russell: “I will ensure that our community is safe, create more sustainable neighborhoods, design policies to prevent and reduce crime, promote a resilient city for families to live in, students to learn in, and businesses to grow in.

“Brooklyn Park is a remarkable, diverse community filled with talented and educated people who share a deep appreciation for our beautiful park system and amenities. We have what it takes to make this a thriving, economically viable, resilient city for our families and residents.”

In January 2019, Russell, a former instructor at the University of Minnesota, defeated former council member Bob Mata by garnering a convincing 55% of the vote in November’s midterm elections to make him the second person of color elected to the council after that of his now fellow council member, Susan Pha, two years ago.

In 2012, Russell, who at the time served on the city’s planning commission, ran for a seat on the same council and lost by just five votes. This time, it was a joyous occasion as friends and family cheered and recorded the historic event.

Minnesota is home to the largest population of Liberians in the United States with Brooklyn Park home to most of them.

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