Read our profile of Don Samuels


Party: DFL

Occupation: Minneapolis City Council Member since 2003, representing north Minneapolis. He was a toy designer for Playskool and worked at a local toy manufacturer before entering politics.


  • Samuels proposes creating a privately-financed Trust for Innovation in Minneapolis Education fund, which will distribute rewards to high-performing schools and support to failing ones (Campaign). 

  • He is supportive of charter schools and critical of the "last in, first out" policies contained in teacher union contracts. “LIFO is the most ridiculous piece of policy in the teacher contract,” Samuels said in September.

  • Former mayor Don Fraser has endorsed Samuels' education policy plan, which the campaign unveiled in August. Read the entire document here.


  • Samuels has said the city's population will need to increase to "keep services for this scale of a city at a level that works." He believes that the development along the Hiawatha light rail line shows that fixed rail transit, like light rail and streetcars, will be important in reaching that goal. 

  • He said at a forum in September that neighborhoods sometimes need to evolve for the betterment of the city. “We need to respect the architecture, the culture and nature of the community.” Samuels said. “At the same time, neighborhoods change.” (Minnesota Daily)



  • Samuels says he would "knock on the doors of" and personally connect with the six extended families responsible for most of the city's violent crime. He would offer them education, job training and other assistance. If they refuse, the city will pursue tougher action in court. 

  • Chair of the councils' public safety committee, Samuels also proposes banning gun shows at the city-owned Minneapolis Convention Center unless they perform background checks. He would also push for a city ordinance requiring gun owners to immediately report stolen or lost guns, to prevent so-called "straw buyers." 

  • He has been known to confront criminals on the North Side, such as a man urinating on a building and drug dealers outside a convenience store



Key endorsements: Former police chief Tim Dolan (campaign co-chair), mayoral aide Sherman Patterson, Mayor R.T. Rybak's mother, Lorraine Rybak Mesken