We Get Things Done

I take pride in not just talking about progressive change, but actually accomplishing it. I’ve worked hard to put big ideas into action. Here are a few highlights from my time as a Council Member:

Voters Rights

  • Early Voting: Passed an ordinance for early voting satellite precincts and extended early voting hours in Minneapolis.
  • Tenant Voter Registration: Passed a landmark law requiring landlords to provide their new tenants with voter registration information at move in.


  • Hussein Samatar Crossing: Following the vision of RT Rybak and working alongside Council Member Abdi Warsame, I advocated for the construction of Samatar Crossing in memory of Hussein Samatar. The Crossing converted the former Fifth Street ramp of I-35W into a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly design including lush landscaping and the incorporation of public art.
  • Central Riverfront Rejuvenation: The Third Ward has been a hub of progress thanks to the transformation of surface parking lots into green space, community-minded development in Downtown East, and a record number of small and local business openings on East Hennepin.
  • Green Zones: Helped found Green Zones, an initiative focused on supporting communities that have a cross-section of poverty and pollution.
  • Pollution Control: Championed and passed a progressive environmental ordinance cracking down on air pollution by tying fees to pollution emitted.
  • Commons Park: Worked with public and private sector leaders to secure the support and funding necessary to bring the Commons park to life.
  • Trail Expansion: Collaborated with the Park Board on expansion of an East Side Mississippi river trail, a two-way, off-street trail for bicyclists and pedestrians along the Mississippi River between Boom Island Park and the 1600 block of Marshall Street NE.
  • Repurposing Surface Parking Lots: Led the fight to repurpose surface parking lots for affordable housing projects, green space, office units, and other investments that make Minneapolis a better city for everyone.
  • Urban Agriculture: Took initiative in opening up numerous vacant lot spaces for urban agricultural farming.

Workers Rights

  • Paid Sick and Safe Time: Co-authored Minneapolis’ landmark Earned Sick and Safe Time ordinance.
  • Minimum Wage: Fought for a minimum wage increase throughout the City.

Education and Schools

  • New School: Promised and delivered a community-based public school to serve the growing number of families along the central riverfront. Webster Elementary is now open and garnering several awards. I routinely serve as a volunteer reader for the kindergarteners.
  • “Vote Yes for Kids" Referendum: Chaired this effort that ensured renewal of 13% of our Minneapolis Public Schools annual funding.

Affordable Housing

  • Affordable Housing Trust Fund: I authored the amendment that fully funded the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to record levels, and will not stop fighting for affordability until Minneapolis is a place where everyone can call home.
  • Great River Landing: Advocated for an affordable housing project for people with felony records.
  • Mill City Quarter: Helped integrate affordable housing among affluent areas of the city.
  • Intentional Communities Ordinance: Led the fight to repeal the worst parts of this ordinance in a close vote at the City Council in Dec. 2016.


  • Small Business Growth: The 3rd Ward has seen record numbers of small and locally owned businesses open and prosper.
  • Streamlining Restaurant Requirements: In partnership with other members of the City Council, I worked to remove outdated and arbitrary sales ratio requirements that had previously saddled our beloved local restaurants with undue hardship.
  • Ride Sharing: Authored an ordinance allowing ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in Minneapolis.
  • Hotel Modernization: Passed a series of amendments to modernize our hotel code and allow for small, European-style inns.
  • Milling: Authored a zoning code to make milling legal (ironically, it was not legal in most parts of the city until this change was made).
  • X-Games Recruitment: As chair of Sports Minneapolis, I recruited the X-games to Minneapolis for 2017-2018.

Residential Growth

  • Almost half of the city’s recent growth has been concentrated in the 3rd Ward.

Community Engagement

  • Wake-Up With Jacob: Since 2014, I've hosted a regular series of morning talks with Third Ward residents featuring speakers ranging from politicians to legislators to thought leaders.


  • Decriminalized Marijuana: Authored a city ordinance that declassified marijuana possession as a criminal misdemeanor.

Marriage Equality

  • Big Gay Race: Founded and organized the first Big Gay Race, a 5K charity race to raise money for Minnesotans United for All Families, a political group organizing for marriage equality.

Pro Bono Legal Work

  • Tornado victims in North Minneapolis
  • Death penalty justice
  • Housing discrimination


  • MLK Civil Rights Award from the City of Minneapolis