Reflection, Healing, and Magic: The Transformative Power of Angela Conley’s Campaign

Angela Conley was born and raised in South Minneapolis. A leader and mother, she not only worked with people directly impacted by the services controlled by the Board of Commissioners during her 20-years as a Hennepin County employee—she used them herself. She knows how the over two billion dollar budget that the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners operates fits into a bigger picture of housing assistance, accessible transportation, mental health care, and public health. “That’s twice the size of Jay-Z and Beyonce’s net worth,” she often liked to remind people on the campaign trail.

Angela’s win for Hennepin County commissioner really was a win for all of us, because she ran a campaign centered on all of us. A campaign that stated, again and again, that “experts are those with lived experiences.” In a system where people are so often pushed to the margins, Angela offered a way in. That’s what inspired TakeAction Minnesota member leaders to make phone calls, knock doors, and text their friends to get out the vote for Angela. And it worked.

In a system where people are so often pushed to the margins, Angela offered a way in.

Hear directly from TakeAction Minnesota member leaders about what Angela’s campaign and election has meant to them.


I met Angela last year and I got involved in her campaign because I saw a woman like me running for office—a renter, a bus rider, someone deeply involved in her community and who wanted to extend that involvement even deeper.  I was making phone calls for her one night, and someone asked me what she would do about education.  I didn’t know the answer, or what a county commissioner could do, so I asked her.  Her answer? Making sure that families and kids are stable—access to transportation, to county services, to housing—so that they can be successful in school.  She thinks about the whole person, and all the pieces of our lives that allow us to thrive, and then connects them into her leadership.  I love that!

I am proud of the work TakeAction Minnesota did, and will continue to do, with Angela.  It felt like and continues to feel like we are building a movement of women, especially women of color, taking political leadership and building power.  Every time I phone banked or door knocked for Angela, there were new volunteers in the room. We got clear on our stories, on why we were there, and our visions for Hennepin County.  It wasn’t just a volunteer shift, it was an invitation into something sustainable and growing.

—Amity Foster


Angela is a woman of color and a political healer. I watched her decide she was going to run for office and I was there to help her hold on to her courage. She understood the struggles of being a woman of color in Hennepin County and worked hard to understand how she can make these systems better for everyone. One of the reasons why I knocked 1,900 doors was because I wanted to see people truly invested in helping her win, and I wanted to be part of her campaign as a TakeAction Minnesota political healer.

She is a loving and caring person and someone I knew would be worth my time investing in. My biggest hope for her is that she doesn’t lose herself, and that she knows she has other women of color she can lean on. We will not leave her feeling abandoned in her new position.

—Mary Spaulding


Running for office is hard AF (trust—I did it this year too!). Doubly so as a black woman, a mom to young ones, a first-time candidate up against an entrenched incumbent. Angela rose to this challenge with joy and humor and love even when it got hard.

She gave all of us who worked together on her campaign the opportunity to love each other, to make our love for our community manifest through action, the chance to will and work the world that would elect Angela Conley as their County Commissioner into existence. I couldn’t have ever imagined that helping on an election for County Commissioner would be one of the most profound experiences of community I’ve ever had, but that’s what happened. I am changed and I will forever be grateful to have joined with thousands of my neighbors and folks across the city and region to weave this magic.

We talk about how another world is possible—my belief in this fuels my organizing and political work. We took a leap into that world on November 6. We have a long way to go and we can only go together, but the work will be joyfully sustaining and life-affirming and so very worth it. Let’s keep pushing. 

—Aisha Gomez
(Read Aisha’s full reflection here—it’s beautiful, moving, and filled with magic)


Join us in celebrating Angela’s Conley’s win and the other amazing work that we have built over the past year at our People’s Celebration on December 8. Angela Conley and recently-elected Saint Paul City Council member Mitra Nelson will be emceeing. Purchase tickets here.  

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