On the Issues

Public Safety for Every Neighborhood

No matter your race, income, or zip code, everyone deserves to live without fear of crime in their neighborhood. Violent crime disproportionately impacts low-income and diverse communities, and it’s simply unjust to allow rampant crime to persist there.

Making good on our shared commitment to always live in our city’s most challenged neighborhood, Sondra and I moved into the Jordan neighborhood in north Minneapolis shortly after we were married. During the first week in our new house, a bullet shattered a window in the room we were preparing for our first child together. While many would have taken it as a sign to leave, we took it as a sign to organize our neighbors, many of whom wouldn’t have the means to just up and leave for a safer neighborhood. In our effort to turn the city’s attention to the impact of gun violence in our community, we demonstrated the power of collective action as we assembled block clubs, hosted vigils, and organized for more public safety resources.

We saw progress; and in that spirit, Sondra and I have continued our advocacy through these recent, turbulent years. We joined our neighbors in suing the city of Minneapolis to provide the required police staffing levels and in leading the fight against Question 2, the misleading amendment put forward in the wake of the Defund the Police movement.

I believe we must reform policing to ensure those tasked with keeping us safe don’t abuse their power, but I also recognize the tremendous progress that has been made to improve policing and the sacrifices individuals made in striving for that progress.

Our communities demand safety and accountability—and I will support legislation that will ensure public confidence in our police departments, such as:

  • Providing federal funding and assistance to municipalities who build their police forces from within their own communities, ensuring that police officers have a stake in the neighborhoods they are sworn to protect and serve and ensuring a path to fill policing vacancies.
  • The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act which holds law enforcement officers accountable for misconduct in courts of law, improves transparency amongst police departments and reforms police training and policies.
  • The Amir Locke End Deadly No-Knock Warrants Act which will place restrictions on the use of no-knock warrants in drug-related crimes.

With regard to the gun violence plaguing our country, I will fight tirelessly to make our streets safer and call for:

  • Permanent bans on assault-style weapons and the after-market modifications that allow weapons of war to be used on our streets.
  • Permanent bans on 3D-printed guns, or “ghost guns.”
  • States being required to report to the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System. Currently, state reporting to NICS is voluntary. The FBI estimates over 3,000 gun sales occur annually where the purchaser would have been prohibited from purchasing guns by state or federal laws.
  • Better funding for mental health programs and the utilization of red-flag laws to temporarily restrict access to firearms for those who might do harm to those around them.
  • Additional federal funding for gun interdiction programs.
  • Universal background checks for all gun sales.

While violent offenders must be properly sentenced in accordance with their crimes, we must admit that for too long, there have been two justice systems in the United States. Black Americans are more likely to be arrested, tried, and convicted of crimes than their white counterparts and often face much harsher sentencing as well. This disgraceful disparity must end. One way I will work toward making justice more just is by ending the War on Drugs, which has been disproportionately waged against Black Americans, who use drugs at no different rate than other groups of Americans. To do this, I will support legislation that:

  • Ends the prohibition on marijuana.
  • Funds intervention and rehabilitation programs for drug-related crimes.
  • Funds research on addiction and treatment.

In addition to supporting these types of legislation, I will also support legislation that changes the way federal courts deal with non-violent, drug-related crimes and work with state and local leaders who seek to reform their own courts as well. These changes include:

  • Ending mandatory drug sentencing.
  • Further reducing the disparity in mandatory sentencing between cocaine and crack cocaine, which currently stands at 18-1.
  • Funding programs that divert non-violent offenders away from prison and into rehabilitation or work programs.

While we expect those who have perpetrated crimes against our communities to face the penalty of the law, we must also ensure the rights of the incarcerated and seek to rehabilitate them during their stay. To this end, I will support legislation that guarantees dignity for the detained, as well as supports their reentry into society, including:

  • Programs in federal prison that focus on rehabilitative measures.
  • Education for incarcerated individuals.
  • Programs designed to research and reduce the causes of recidivism.
  • Full restoration of voting rights for felons after their sentence concludes because a shunned citizen has less to lose.
PO Box 50024 Minneapolis, MN 55405

Contributions or gifts to Neighbors for Samuels are not tax deductible. Contributions from corporations, labor organization treasury funds, federal government contractors, and from any person contributing another person's funds are prohibited. Only U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents (“green card holders” residing in the U.S.) are eligible to contribute. An individual can contribute as much as $6,600 to Neighbors for Samuels ($3,300 for the primary election, and $3,300 for the general election). Married couples may together give a total of $13,200. Federal multi-candidate political action committees (PACs) can contribute as much as $10,000 ($5,000 for the primary election, and $5,000 for the general election). Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in an election cycle.