(In These Times) -- Ray Dehn is not the kind of politician you meet every day. The Minneapolis mayoral candidate is calling for policies that would disarm and de-militarize the Minneapolis police force, work to eliminate systematic inequities and generate community wealth. He’s running against establishment incumbent Betsy Hodges, who has made national headlines for her out-of-touch response to multiple Minneapolis police shootings, including the killings of Jamar Clark, Philando Castile and Justine Damond.
Dehn grew up working-class just north of Minneapolis. He experienced the criminal justice system first-hand when he was convicted of a felony for a burglary offense in 1976. This conviction meant he could not vote even after he was released, so in 1982, he asked for—and received—a full pardon so he could vote again. He went to architecture school, graduated in 1993 at the age of 39 (at 60, he’s still paying off his student loans, according to his campaign website), and from there became president of the American Institute of Architecture Students, a “student-run organization dedicated to providing unmatched progressive programs … critical to architecture and the experience of education,” where he learned grassroots organizing.
During the sub-prime mortgage crisis, as part of the Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition, he went door to door to hundreds of homes in Minneapolis neighborhoods with a high number of foreclosures, and helped people find the resources to keep their homes.
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