“I am fully against the end homelessness mindset,” said Aswar Rahman, one of the six candidates running for Minneapolis’ mayoral seat.
On Nov. 7, 2017 six candidates will compete for the Minneapolis mayor position. Candidates include mayor incumbent, Betsy Hodges, current House Representative for district 59B Raymond Dehn, City Council member Jacob Frey, former President of the Minneapolis NAACP Nekima Levy-Pounds and former Deputy Executive Director of Minneapolis Public Housing Authority Tom Hoch. And then there is Rahman.
“I have no interest in a long-term career in politics, I just give a big sh*t about Minneapolis,” Rahman said passionately.
Born in Bangladesh and raised in Minneapolis, Rahman never graduated from high school or obtained a GED. He is currently a 23-year-old filmmaker, but believes that gives him an outside look at the issues the city faces.
“Having that background as an immigrant gives you a whole different perspective,” Rahman said. “[I] see from that very clear perspective how the city is laid out, how the rules of the city work, who it benefits and who it hurts,” Rahman said.
Though he never graduated from high school, Rahman managed to get into college, eventually transferring and graduating from the University of Minnesota at age 19 with a bachelor’s degree. Since then, he has organized two film festivals and produced two and half films.
Rahman is critical of the other mayoral candidates, saying they are not upfront with the people. He said his opponents give vague answers when asked direct questions.
Unlike his opponents, Rahman doesn’t plan to invest time into “ending homelessness” because of the lack of success of Minneapolis’ former campaigns for the same cause. Instead, he wants to create a small department that would employ a few people whose exclusive job is to find homeless people and discover ways to rehabilitate them. He also wants to improve citizens’ knowledge of mental illness as many homeless people suffer from mental illnesses.
Also differing from his opponents who hold the stance “stop violence and police brutality,” Rahman thinks expanding diversity and adding more officers to the police force would be more beneficial to the problems at hand.
Rahman has had to do unusual things to get the public’s attention including making a comical press release to gain attention. Citypages did not approve. It didn’t faze him but they have not yet followed up with him, which was his end goal in writing the press release.
Rahman may be an unusual candidate as of right now but if he can get people to listen and understand the context from which he speaks, he could be a dark horse to win the mayoral race.