Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano announced Friday that she would not seek re-election in 2021.
Cano was elected in 2013 and represents the Ninth Ward in central Minneapolis. The announcement on her personal Twitter account explained only that she wants to focus on the future. "It's time to pass the baton to the next generation of city leaders," Cano, 39, tweeted.
Contacted directly, Cano said via text that her plans include completing a master's degree in arts and cultural leadership at the University of Minnesota, where she is enrolled. She also intends to work toward establishing "a cultural arts space on East Lake Street that can promote racial healing and drive economic sustainability."
Her ward includes an area along and around Lake Street that was heavily damaged in the rioting following the police killing of George Floyd. The intersection of Chicago Avenue and E. 38th Street, where Floyd died, is at the boundary between Cano's ward and the Eighth Ward, represented by Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins.
In her three-part tweet, Cano, the council's first Latino member, urged constituents to support "the work of public safety and cultural economic vitality." Otherwise, she warned, gentrification and instability threaten to "erase the Latin American and Latino community from Lake Street."
The Ninth Ward's 30,000 residents comprise the city's most diverse ward, according to Cano's biography on the city's website. Cano was born in Litchfield, Minn., and spent her early years in Chihuahua, Mexico, before returning to Minnesota at age 10. She said she grew up in an undocumented immigrant family, so she has "sought to prioritize the voice and vision of the diverse immigrant families in our community," she tweeted.
A longtime activist, Cano was among council members who called for abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of Floyd's death. That proposal lost support as violent crime surged in the months that followed and polls showed the majority of voters did not approve of it.
She also fought to reduce industrial pollution, the focus of her first election campaign.
"However, we did not phase out industrial polluters" from the Phillips neighborhood, she tweeted. "Delivering a clear environmental justice victory for Phillips is the biggest challenge facing our neighborhoods today."
In her text, Cano listed several of her 2021 council priorities, such as ensuring that immigrants and other cultural communities are included in the city's truth and reconciliation process — an initiative approved by the council in October to address past harms and current inequities experienced by Blacks and Native Americans.
Katy Read • 612-673-4583