Twenty-five religious leaders have endorsed a Liberian-born American politician mayoral bid for Brooklyn Park, the sixth-largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota.
Wynfred Russell, a renowned community leader, and advocate who currently serves on the City Council, representing the West District, is one of the seven contestants vying for the vacant Brooklyn Park mayor position. The position became vacant after the election of the City’s former Mayor Jeff Lunde to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners.
In a press statement, the religious leaders described Russell as the best person who has the experience, track record of service, and collaborative mindset to move Brooklyn Park forward among the seven contestants.
“Seven candidates are running in the race. All are good people, but Russell has a sophisticated understanding of the principles that Brooklyn Park strives toward,” the religious leaders’ statement added.
They furthered that Russell, as a public health practitioner who worked on H1N1, Ebola, Polio and now coordinates a statewide COVID-19 response “is the only candidate in the race for mayor of Brooklyn Park who, we believe, has the experience, and is better prepared to provide effective leadership for the city, especially at this time.”
“Like any other election, many of the things we valued are on the ballot. Hence, we will cast a vote for the community we know we can be, with a mayor who honors service and will support policies that diversify our tax base, lift small and micro businesses, and support affordable housing, as we all seek the welfare of all residents. Our faith compels us to vote for the candidate who will think of and speak not just for some of us, but all of us including the powerless. For us, the choice is clear; that candidate is Wynfred Russell,” the religious leaders noted.
Before being elected to the City Council, he served the City of Brooklyn Park for four years as Planning Commissioner; three years on the community advisory council of the Metropolitan Council; two years on the Hennepin County Library Board; and one year on the Stable Neighborhood Action Plan.
In recognition of his outstanding service, he was given Minnesota prestigious Human Rights Award, which extolled him for his service to the State. With extensive knowledge of public health, wellness, and infectious disease prevention policy, Wynfred was one of many Liberian-Americans who heeded former US President Barack Obama’s call to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
He served as Program Operations Manager and Ebola Response Manager, respectively, leading an Ebola Response Team from Minnesota to southeast Liberia. Currently, he also runs an organization named ACER – to continue working on his vision of improving disadvantaged and under-resourced people’s lives, and now coordinates a statewide COVID-19 response as well as sitting on the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM) to support state and local health departments.
Recent census place Liberians among the largest segments of the local population of Brooklyn Park and with a wide network of support in the upper reaches of the local and statewide political echelons, Russell is on pace to make a breakthrough.
It is estimated that 40,000 Liberians reside within the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, with an overwhelming majority from the town of Brooklyn Park.
His network of support includes several powerful players within and beyond the arena of Minnesota politics, including the Liberian-born Mayor of Helena, Montana, Wilmot Collins who made a recent stop-over at a campaign event.
Meanwhile, the religious leaders added that the upcoming Brooklyn Park comes during an unusually challenging and changing time; one that requires a result and integrity-driven leader with vision, conviction, and focus. As such, they are endorsing Russell based on his valuable track records of service to the city.
“Resultantly, we are making this endorsement as individual faith leaders and people of faith, and not on behalf of our individual and collective congregations. Without a doubt, we are battling a global pandemic, struggling economy, and racial reckoning. At this moment, Wynfred is the right choice to lead the City of Brooklyn Park, the sixth-largest city in the State with 56% people of color,” they added.
They furthered that when Russell becomes mayor, he will only be commended for the things he does right.
“We will hold him accountable for the things he does wrong. And above all, we will pray fervently for his success. If Mayor Russell succeeds, we all succeed. May God bless Wynfred Russell and his family, and may God bless the people of Brooklyn Park,” they added.
Signatures of some of the religious leaders.