With the District 4 Bloomington City Council seat open after incumbent Patrick Martin decided against seeking reelection, Mr. Isaak Rooble, a businessman and past recipient of the “Community Leadership Award” at the 6th annual African Awards, is running to represent the northeastern part of the city that includes the area that Mall of America sits on.
A native of Somalia, Rooble, 36, came to the U.S. in 2011. He and his wife and children have called Bloomington home for the last 10 years. He has an associates degree in applied science from Rochester Community and Technical College.
Mr. Rooble spoke to Mshale after a recent Saturday door knocking exercise accompanied by outgoing two-term Councilmember Martin who has thrown his support behind him, as has the city’s mayor, Tim Busse who has been on the Council since 2011.
This is his first time running for elective office and a win in November will make him the first Somali to serve on the Bloomington City Council. The city is Minnesota’s fourth largest after Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester.
“I’m running to make Bloomington an even more attractive and stronger city,” Roble said. “As a community organizer and volunteer, I (have) tirelessly worked to make a positive impact on people’s lives and enhance their quality of life. My unique quality lies in bringing people together and setting a tone for good governance and leadership.”
The seven-member City Council, which includes the mayor, is up for election this year following redistricting. City voters will elect a mayor and six council members—one for each of the four districts, one at large and another two-year term at-large seat. Unlike the four district council members, at-large candidates are elected by voters citywide.
In 2021, the city implemented ranked choice voting for local elections following a charter amendment by city voters in 2020. The system eliminates the need for a primary election which allows for an unlimited number of eligible candidates to file and run for office.
“Our records show this is the first time in Bloomington’s history that the entire seven-person council has been on the ballot at the same time,” City Clerk Christina Scipioni said in a statement posted on the city’s website when candidate filing commenced on August 1. The filing period runs through August 15.
Those that follow him on social media know that Rooble likes sharing updates on what the city is up to, in terms of service delivery for those that might need them, although since campaigning got in high gear, campaign messages have also taken center stage.
His plans for the City Council however go beyond informing his fellow neighbors of what is going on.
“My governance starts from the bottom where I engage my neighbors and discuss issues and decisions that will impact the neighborhood and community at the neighborhood level. I’m not someone who will say decisions will be made at the city hall, I will bring those discussions to the community level environment, where voters and residents can understand what’s at stake and decide. Then, they can send us to city hall to make a final say on what they want and how they want things to be done.”
Rooble says his top priorities are public safety, small business, affordable housing and accessible city services. He believes being intentional in harnessing public input is key to making Bloomington a thriving city.
“In both my public and professional lives, I’ve been a positive, decisive and compassionate advocate for our residents and small business,” attributes he says he will bring to the Council for the benefit of the city.
Rooble says what motivated him to run is the city’s “fast growing, diverse and vibrant community, and the many plans for our city,” the latter a reference to “Forward 2040,” the city’s comprehensive plan adopted in 2018 that guides development and public investments in city facilities and services such as parks, trails, fire stations, roads, sewer and water systems, and housing.
Rooble says he was disappointed when Bloomington lost the bid to host the 2027 World Expo but believes the loss provides the city with a great opportunity to explore other uses for the parcel around the Mall of America that was to be the site for the expo, referred to as the South Loop.
“We have a discussion going on about the South Loop already (and) once elected I am looking forward to bringing the community together on how we can use those resources to move the city forward for the benefit of our residents,” Rooble said.
Register to vote
Election Day is November 7.
While in Minnesota the law allows voters to register on election day at their voting location, registering in advance is highly recommended.
October 17 is the last day to register in advance as a voter.
Register in advance at this Secretary of State website.
Election Judges: The City of Bloomington is also looking for election judges and will provide paid training. Check required qualifications and apply at this city website.