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May 28, 2024  |  
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Gabrielle M. Etzel, Healthcare Reporter


NextImg:Biden challenger Dean Phillips recruits hardcore 'defund the police' figure to his campaign


Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), the long-shot Democratic challenger to President Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election, has hired a former Minneapolis lawmaker who staunchly supported efforts to defund the city's police department.

The 54-year-old representative brought Alondra Cano, 42, on to his campaign after she served on the Minneapolis City Council from 2014 to 2021. Cano strongly supported calls to dismantle the city's police department following the death of George Floyd in June 2020, saying publicly that the department was "not reformable."

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Cano was a leading voice in the 2021 election in Minneapolis in support of a ballot initiative to replace the city's police department with a department of public safety. Although the measure was ultimately not passed, the ordeal hotly divided Democrats in Minnesota, and Cano did not seek reelection the following year.

Phillips has campaigned on his support for law enforcement during his congressional runs, having been endorsed by the largest officer organization in the state, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.

Phillips's campaign website says that he believes in strengthening public safety "by providing funding for police departments and other first responders for the recruitment and retention of the best and the brightest from our communities, for up-to-date training practices and access to necessary equipment, and for mental health services for community members and first responders alike."

In response to concerns about Cano joining Phillips's campaign, Phillips's campaign team reinforced the congressman's record of supporting law enforcement.

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"He has also been clear that we need reforms that end the disproportionate killings of people of color, particularly Black Americans, during encounters with law enforcement," his campaign said in a statement.

Although Phillips has not performed well in 2024 projection polls compared to Biden, the House Democrat has asserted that the sitting president is "among the only [Democrats] that will lose" to former President Donald Trump.