Southwest Minneapolis will be getting at least two contested City Council races this year.

Kate Mortenson, a Lynnhurst resident and business owner who has worked with the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) and led the city's NCAA Men's Final Four event, has launched a campaign for City Council in Ward 13. She'll be challenging incumbent Linea Palmisano, who has already announced her own re-election bid.

In Mortenson's press release announcing her campaign, she said the following: "My question to Voters in Ward 13 is 'Do you like where we are as a city, or would you like to see us go further, faster?  In this election, we need our vote to send a message of higher expectations. In our neighborhood, inadequate Policing and poor delivery of basic City services is frustrating, even scary; in other parts of the City, poor execution and the slow pace of reform has dire and dangerous consequences. Ward 13 can vote for greater urgency, more rigorous oversight, and more thorough execution within City Hall."

Palmisano's re-election announcement focused on her term in office thus far: "For the past nine years I have represented our community and been your voice on the City Council. I ask for your support as I look to continue serving you. During my two and a half terms on the City Council, I have made genuine progress on the issues that matter. Whether it be working to innovate our core city services, pressing forward on climate goals, furthering workers rights, managing our city budget, or transforming public safety, I am deeply committed to Minneapolis."

On Monday, Katie Cashman, a Project Coordinator with the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and former United Nations employee, announced her campaign in Ward 7. She joins Scott Graham in the race.

Cashman's introduction: "I grew up in Minneapolis, a city that I love and am deeply committed to. As a kid I would swim in Cedar Lake after school and serve breakfast at Uptown Diner on the weekends. I feel a sense of purpose to protect the natural and community resources we are blessed with in Ward 7... I’m committed to exceptional city services, transit, housing, public spaces, and economic opportunities for all Ward 7 residents. Together we can shape the future of our beloved city."

Graham, a real estate broker and the owner of Uptown Realty, announced his campaign in January, saying: “I care deeply about my city, and am tremendously excited about the opportunity to serve Minneapolis and Ward 7... Our number one focus has to be public safety. We have to balance effective policing, housing for all and especially deeply affordable housing, environmental stewardship, inclusive economic opportunity, and business success. Additionally, constituent service is a critical component of local government, and I pledge to maintain the highest level of service for Ward 7 residents.”

All candidates appear to be contesting the DFL Precinct Caucuses, which take place on Tuesday, March 14th. We'll share more information on how to get involved in those soon. This week, we'll be publishing your responses to our survey about how you want us to cover these races, which we'll use as a guide for how we approach the election.