Andrea Jenkins is passionate about serving the Eighth Ward and the city of Minneapolis. That much was clear in a Star Tribune Editorial Board interview, as well as in her work during her first four years on the City Council and in previous public service positions with the city and Hennepin County.
That passion, and empathy, was particularly on display in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder, which happened in the Eighth Ward. Although her suggested solutions for a city in turmoil don't always square with the Editorial Board's — Jenkins takes opposite positions on the three ballot questions, for instance — the incumbent has enough of a nuanced view on city challenges, especially public safety, that she earns our endorsement for re-election.
If Jenkins, who is the City Council vice president, does return, she's likely to once again be in a leadership position. Her skills in collaborating with council colleagues are likely to be especially needed depending on the election outcomes. The council will have a minimum of two new members due to open seats and perhaps more depending on how voters view the current city governance structure and public safety concerns.
Even though Jenkins, 60, favors the City Question 2, which would replace the Police Department with a Department of Public Safety, she acknowledges the need for a police chief and a "well-trained, accountable police force as an integral part of a public safety continuum." That pledge, and Jenkins' experience, will be necessary if voters pass Question 2, and even if they don't, since the force is currently so depleted.
Jenkins has a sound opponent in Republican Robert Sullentrop, 75. A former U.S. Marine who served in Vietnam, Sullentrop has had a long career as an engineer and shows a deep and sincere commitment to his community, particularly as it relates to public safety. He has not run a vigorous campaign, however, and has no specific governing experience, even though he did have one unsuccessful run for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
If Jenkins is re-elected, we urge her to remember the "both/and" aspects of the public safety debate and heed the urgent concerns over crime in the city even as reform efforts continue.
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 startribune.com/package-opinion-endorsements/.