In a matter of days last week, Minneapolis recorded multiple homicides, a 15-year-old was gunned down on a light rail platform, and shots were fired at Mall of America outside the Nike store.
In a recent interview, Julie Wicklund implored Hennepin County voters to vote for public safety in Tuesday’s primaries.
Wicklund survived a home invasion in her southwest Minneapolis home in December. She co-founded Safe Streets Now for a Better Tomorrow soon after the crime. She was on the Liz Collin Reports podcast in March to discuss the work her group is doing.
Wicklund told Liz Collin the primary is a chance for voters to make a change.
“We won’t have that chance in November if people don’t show up to the polls on Tuesday,” Wicklund said.
She said she has done her research, attending community meetings and candidate forums for months. Wicklund also meets regularly with city, county, and law enforcement leaders.
She believes the race for Hennepin County attorney will be the most consequential on Tuesday. There are seven names on the ballot. The top two will move on to the November election.
“We have to have someone in that position who understands violent criminals, whether they are juveniles or adults, belong in jail,” Wicklund said.
She is supporting Martha Holton Dimick in that race. A former Hennepin County judge who lives in north Minneapolis, Dimick has been endorsed by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputies Association.
“There is a candidate who has been endorsed by the Democratic Party who would be an absolute nightmare for our county. This person is Mary Moriarty,” Wicklund said.
“She was in the public defender’s office for years and she is supported by an organization called People Over Prosecution that doesn’t believe anyone should be incarcerated,” she added.
Wicklund said Moriarty has vilified the police department and is someone who doesn’t want to work with law enforcement. She believes, if she were to be elected as county attorney, it would lead to a mass exodus of law enforcement across Hennepin County, even more so than departments are already experiencing.
“Having a public defender in the prosecutor’s office is an experiment that was tried already. It was tried in San Francisco and that failed. That person was recalled because that was not an experiment that worked and it is not something we want to have happen in our city,” she said.
Other top candidates in the race include House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, a Democrat, and Republican Tad Jude, a former judge and state representative.
Wicklund also spoke at length about the race for the Fifth Congressional District. She is not supporting Rep. Ilhan Omar but former Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels.
Wicklund attended a community meeting Rep. Omar hosted last week where she made it clear her relationship with Mayor Jacob Frey has soured.
“If you continue to neglect your job, your city will rot and now we are dealing with the repercussions of having a leader who does not take his job seriously,” Omar said in reference to Frey.
Wicklund called it another example of finger-pointing and said nobody is making any real effort to solve the problem.
Omar also said her calls to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department have nothing to do with the sharp decline in officer numbers.
“Nobody wants to be associated with a police department that isn’t responding to areas that are in need,” she said.
Omar told the crowd that she went on several ride-alongs and wasn’t impressed by the work officers in the city do.
Wicklund said her comments were disappointing and she was there to try to let Omar know her words matter.
“The reason I am supporting Don Samuels is he was actively involved in the movement to not defund the police,” she said.
“He has worked hard his whole life to stop the violence,” Wicklund added.
Tuesday’s primaries will be a test of Mayor Frey’s influence in the city. He endorsed Dimick and Samuels; Omar and much of the progressive wing of the party are supporting Moriarty.
Wicklund also discussed the race for Hennepin County sheriff and the ongoing struggle with homeless encampments in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis.