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2 Somali Americans running for St. Cloud council

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pursuing the American dream, two Somali Americans are running for St. Cloud City Council.

It's the first time members of the area's growing Somali community have run for city office. Abdul A. Kulane is running against incumbent Dave Masters and Darrell Bruestle for the Ward 1 council seat.

Ahmed Ali Said is running against incumbent John Libert for the Ward 3 council seat.

Kulane and Said said it's part of the dream of moving to the United States, to be able
to participate in its government and serve the community.

"It means a lot to me," Kulane said.

Kulane moved to the United States nine years ago and graduated from St. John's University. He said he felt like it was time to participate in the political process and that he can offer a fresh perspective.

"We can become one community, not a divided community," he said.

Abdul A. Kulane
Abdul A. Kulane Said moved to St. Cloud in 2001 and works as a medical interpreter. He said if he was living in another country, running for office might not be an opportunity for him.

"It's amazing," he said. "It shows that America is a great country."

Ward 1

With three candidates, there will have to be a primary race for the Ward 1 seat. That ward includes much of the core city, including the neighborhoods of Southside-University, McKinley Railroad Park, Lake George and St. John Cantius.

Kulane said his issues include retaining graduates from the local colleges and universities, job creation and helping families move into abandoned houses. He also is concerned about crime in the city's south side and wants to help youth stay out of trouble.

Incumbent Dave Masters said he remains committed to the residents in Ward 1. He wants to continue to make sure rental inspections are being done and improve the core neighborhoods. He also is passionate about the community and aquatics center planned for Whitney Park and wants to see that project through.

Masters has served two terms.

Ahmed Ali Said
Bruestle has lived in St. Cloud for 20 years. He said he wants to take a look at the city budget and would like to see the it go down. Bruestle said he's concerned that property taxes are too high. He said he wants to listen to all residents and hear their concerns.

Said and Libert will compete for the Ward 3 seat, which represents the area north of Division Street and west of 12th Avenue North.

Said said he wants to work on lowering city costs and improving efficiency. He likes city government because it directly touches people more than other levels of government.

If elected, he would work to get input from residents, he said.

Libert has served since 2007. He said he wants to continue to focus on economic development and public safety. Enforcing city codes relating to rental properties is also an important issue to him, he said.


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