Meet Barb

Barb was first elected to the Minneapolis City Council in 1997 to represent the Fourth Ward in the northwest corner of Minneapolis. She has served as President of the Minneapolis City Council since January of 2006. Barb serves on the Public Safety & Health, Executive and Zoning & Planning committees of the City Council.

She also serves on the Board of Estimate and Taxation, Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, and the Mississippi Riverfront Partnership. Governor Mark Dayton recently appointed Barb to the Board of PERA, the Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association.

Barb is a registered nurse. Her background in health has spurred her support for health sector growth in Minneapolis.  She has a strong interest in parks due to her 18 years of service on the Metropolitan Parks & Open Space Commission.  She also served on the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area Commission, appointed by the Secretary of the Interior. Barb was a founding member of the Victory Neighborhood Association (VINA) and was the Chair from 1994-1997. She is a former Girl Scout leader and community volunteer.

Barb and her husband Duane, an attorney, have three adult daughters and five grandchildren.


Public safety is a huge concern for 4th Ward residents. While we have had large decreases in property crimes, the incidence of shootings, shots fired and aggravated assaults have become intolerable. The solutions are complex, but Barb has met with judges to help them understand the impact of gun crimes on our neighborhoods. She also is a member of the Hennepin County of Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee which consists of judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, public defenders and senior staff from the city and county. They meet and discuss issues in the criminal justice system and recommend changes and improvements.

Barb supports increasing the size of the Minneapolis Police Department which will decrease response times and is also supportive of the extensive training Minneapolis officers receive in Mental Health Crisis Intervention, Implicit Bias and Procedural Justice.
She feels that all residents should receive respectful, prompt and helpful service from our police and follows through when she receives complaints about officers who treat neighbors in a unhelpful manner.

When asked what residents value about their City, our park system ranks very high. In fact, Minneapolis’ Convention and Visitors Association has the slogan, “City by Nature”. When the the Minneapolis Park And Recreation  Board did an assessment of the needs for increased operating and capital for the system and recommended going to the voters for a levy increase which would have fallen heavily on homeowners, Barb led the charge to find a more practical solution. The result was a 20 year agreement between the City and the Park Board that increases spending for our parks and Northside facilities will be the first to see new improvements due to the equity measurements the Park Board uses in it’s decision making.

The Upper Harbor redevelopment offers a great opportunity for increased green space and aggressive storm water treatment. The developer selected for the Upper Harbor has great experience in storm water management and we will see innovative proposals for a green redevelopment. Shingle Creek has benefitted from active work by the Shingle Creek Watershed Commission. This year several projects are planned to improve the water quality in this natural resource that winds it’s way through our neighborhoods.

Barb worked with the Minnesota Pollution control Agency to craft a legal solution that shuts down Northern Metals.

The 4th Ward is experiencing a housing rebound. We have had had much new construction, from the Humboldt Greenway to Green Homes North.  Private investment is strong but the City has been a partner in supporting this new construction. We also have a new policy to incentivize people to build on the vacant lots which are available on the Northside. New homeowners can receive a subsidy of $20,000 to build on the vacant lots, $25,000 if you are a public safety employees of the City. The City has also supported the renovation of many existing homes, preserving the charm of our wonderful older housing stock. Housing values are increasing and we are seeing many new homeowners.
Successful businesses are the lifeblood of neighborhoods. The Northside can be a challenging place to start or expand a business. That is why support and neighborhood spending is so important to the viability of our business community. We are on the cusp of seeing a new grocery store open in our community but it will only succeed if we shop there. The 4th Ward has benefitted from the private investment of many entrepreneurs including the owners of the Goddess of Glass,  Roots Birthing Center, Webber Mart,  and NewHorizons Child Care center. The City recently passed a measure which will increase support for small business by hiring “navigators” to help entrepreneurs through the City’s regulatory process.
The citizens of the 4th Ward are the most frequent callers to our 311 system. The most frequent call is about housing issues. Neighbors want to see properties maintained to neighborhood standards. We have a challenge with a few landlords who do not care for their properties and rent to people who have a history of being challenging tenants. Block clubs can be extremely helpful in dealing with these problems. Barb has been successful in dealing with a number of these properties and will continue to work with Regulatory Services, MPD and the Hennepin County and Minneapolis  City Attorney’s offices to mitigate these challenges.

On a better note, the 4th Ward has benefitted from the opening of the County’s first natural swimming pool at Webber Park and will soon enjoy a beautiful new Hennepin County Library fronting on a refurbished Victory Memorial Drive.  The opportunity to plan and implement the conversion of nearly 50 acres of publicly owned land on the banks of the Mississippi River from industrial use to a community oriented mix of housing, jobs and great green space is our most challenging adventure. Please help support this conversion at the Upper Harbor.