Five candidates will be running for Brooklyn Center City Council this year, and two candidates will be vying for the seat of District 40B State Representative.
For city council, two seats will be on the line: those of Councilmembers Carol Kleven and Dan Ryan, both of whose terms expire at the end of the year. Kleven will not be seeking re-election, but Ryan will.
Ryan has served on the Brooklyn Center City Council since 2007. A Brooklyn Center resident since childhood, Ryan graduated from Brooklyn Center High School, after which he earned a degree in political science from the University of Minnesota. Currently retired, Ryan was a material supply manager with the Spec Corporation in Fridley, and also worked at the Minneapolis Housing and Redevelopment Authority in the 1970s for the redevelopment planning staff. Ryan serves as a board member for the BCHS alumni association, a member of the Brooklyn Center Lions Club, and also serves as a neighborhood watch captain. Ryan earned a bronze medal from the National League of Cities, is endorsed by the DFL, and is also endorsed by the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation. Ryan lives in Brooklyn Center with his wife of 25 years.
Running opposite Ryan are candidates April Graves, Jeremiah Sandahl, Randy Christensen and Ned Storla.
Graves, a St. Paul native, has lived in Brooklyn Center for the last three years with her partner of nine years and four children. A graduate of Metropolitan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in creative writing and social science, Graves has worked with youth professionally for the past five years, and also has served through Americorps at Brooklyn Center Community Schools. Graves is in the process of starting her own consulting business, and has attended the Tri-College New Leadership Institute, a camp for low-income and minority women hoping to attain leadership skills. Graves is passionate about social justice and equality, and wishes to serve as a representative for single mothers and women of color if she is elected. Sandahl has lived in Brooklyn Center with his family since 2008.
After graduating high school in Germany, Sandahl attended Northland Baptist Bible College in Wisconsin for a degree in Bible and music studies. He later earned a master’s certificate in web development. Currently working as a web developer, Sandahl lives with his wife and has four children. A delegate for the Minnesota Republican Party for the last two election cycles, Sandahl hopes to provide a voice for the youth demographic in Brooklyn Center, and if elected, will attempt to bring city spending to more conservative levels.
Attempts to contact Christensen and Storla were made by the Sun Post, but the calls were not returned by press time.
Current District 40B State Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, will face Republican candidate Mali Marvin. Hilstrom has served with the Minnesota House of Representatives since being originally elected in 2000. A graduate of Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park, Hilstrom went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in sociology at the University of Minnesota, and eventually earned a Juris Doctor degree at St. Paul’s William Mitchell College of Law. Prior to her inaugural election, Hilstrom served on the Brooklyn Center City Council from 1995 to 2000, as well as serving on the Brooklyn Center Planning Commission. During the 2011-2012 legislative session, Hilstrom served as deputy minority leader for the House. Hilstrom is currently an assistant Anoka County attorney. She lives in Brooklyn Center with her husband, and has three children.
Born and raised in Beijing, China, Marvin has lived in Brooklyn Center for the last two decades with her husband and three sons. Marvin received her bachelor of science degree in chemistry at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong, China. After moving to the United States, Marvin received a master’s degree in organic chemistry at North Dakota State University. She worked as a chemist for the Waldorf Corporation, and currently works as a technical service manager at the RockTenn packaging manufacturing company in St. Paul. Marvin currently serves as the director of treasury for the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP). If elected, Marvin hopes to provide a voice for for minorities and working mothers, and also improve conditions for immigrant and low-income families. Marvin will also promote education and small businesses.
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