Among elected roles, governing a ward in a large city in particular mixes the macro and micro. There are conflicts but also synergies between citywide visions and constituent interests. There are intergovernmental and city staff processes to navigate, and residents to keep informed.

The 12th Ward, covering the southeastern corner of Minneapolis, is fortunate to have City Council candidates focused on these dynamics. Based on incumbent Andrew Johnson's eight years on the council and his grasp of governmental nuance, we recommend that voters return him for a third term.

Johnson, 37, who earned DFL endorsement, prides his work on constituent services and presents himself as pragmatic, data-driven and collaborative. He plans to make the council's working relationships a focus of the new term. This is crucial; the city's reputation has suffered not just because of the events of recent years but also because of the dysfunction of its politics.

After a "no-win" but "important" appearance at the infamous Powderhorn Park gathering with the "defund police" sign in June 2020, Johnson has provided support for the role of police in public safety, though he believes, as many do, that the Minneapolis Police Department is broken in its current form, needing change that's "beyond incremental." He was instrumental in earlier, prescient efforts to evaluate alternative responses to 911 calls. But to our regret, he favors City Question 2, which is too vague in its aim of replacing the MPD with a new Department of Public Safety.

Johnson also supports City Question 3, which would provide a path toward rent control, but has no position on City Question 1, fearing that the strong-mayor system under consideration might falter under a poorly prepared leader. He laments the attention the charter amendment proposals are getting at the expense of other issues in this year's campaign. He's wrong about that, given their significance, but we take his point.

Opposing Johnson is Nancy Ford, 63, the owner of Repair Lair, a small East Lake Street business that fixes outdoor clothing and camping equipment. She's running without party affiliation, which is refreshing. She's focused on better informing and engaging residents, especially regarding development projects and livability issues, and argues that Johnson's constituent services are not as good as he supposes. She opposes changes the city has made in recent years that have aggravated some residents who rely on their cars, a stance for which there may be an undercurrent of support surprising to advocates of those changes. But Ford's perception of how readily she might do things differently on the council strikes us as underdeveloped.

Ford favors the charter amendment proposal on government structure and opposes the proposed changes regarding public safety and rent control, views that align with those of the Editorial Board.

Also seeking the 12th Ward council seat is David Rosenfeld, 58. His campaign reflects the broader ideological goals of the Socialist Workers Party.

Opinion editor's note: The Star Tribune Editorial Board operates separately from the newsroom, and no news editors or reporters were involved in the endorsement process. To read all of our endorsements, go to