There’s a framed quote in my office, something Michael Nutter said when he was Mayor of Philadelphia: “I didn’t run for mayor to be caretaker of the status quo.”
Neither did I.
I’ve spoken often about the profound truth of Minneapolis: We are a great city that also faces some great challenges, particularly around race. In just one term, I’ve gotten real results both in building on our strengths, and in confronting the racial inequities and big-money special interests that hold us back from truly becoming a city for all.
I’ve gotten these results by working effectively in partnership, and by taking tough stands that upset old-guard and big-money interests.
Here’s just some of what we’ve done together:
We passed my Earned Sick Time policy. Now, no one has to choose between getting well and getting paid. Over the opposition of the StarTribune, we passed a $15 minimum wage that won’t leave tipped workers behind.
We built a coalition of community and business leaders to renovate Nicollet Mall, on time and on budget. We built a bipartisan, urban-suburban coalition to build Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit. We won funding for each, the second from a Republican-controlled Legislature.
We’ve built the strongest foundation for transforming policing of any city in the country: new training in implicit bias, procedural justice and crisis intervention; body cameras; and real policy changes that put de-escalation and sanctity of life first. We’ve promoted a new police chief who is already pushing us further.
We’ve made historic investments in affordable housing, citywide organics recycling, addressing safety downtown and in every neighborhood, putting racial equity at the core of all our work, and much more. We’ve done it all with the structurally balanced budgets I got passed every year.
I’ve also taken strong stands when necessary, and when others would not.
I insisted that our historic 20-Year Parks & Streets Investment Plan actually include city streets and be paid for with real dollars, not financial gimmicks. When I was presented with an irresponsible, quick fix that left out our streets, I vetoed it — twice — and built support for the sustainable plan that I signed.
I took heat for blocking the appointment of the former police union head to a critical Police Department position in north Minneapolis.
And I stood tough and rejected an unprecedented, permanent taxpayer subsidy for a soccer stadium and its owners, which include the billionaire owner of the Star Tribune. It was a taxpayer subsidy Jacob Frey was happy to give away.
This election is about results and leadership, and I’ve delivered both. That’s why most of my opponents are running on my record, proposing to do the work that I’ve already done. And I’ve gotten results by being consistent about where I stand: I say the same thing to everyone in every neighborhood, in boardrooms, community centers, and union halls. You may not like everything I’ve accomplished, but you know where I stand.
Jacob Frey, by contrast, has tried to be everything to everybody. On minimum wage, he said he believed in a tip penalty, then never introduced one, then voted for my plan to exclude it, then apologized to the business community for doing so while touting his support of my plan to progressives. Tom Hoch’s refusal to support the minimum wage — or even answer the question — speaks volumes.
I wouldn’t accept a donation from the police union, as Jacob Frey did, and I wouldn’t donate to the House Republican Campaign, as Tom Hoch did.
Minneapolis knows where I stand, and I’m proud of the people who stand with me: Sen. Al Franken, Lt. Governor Tina Smith, progressive City Council members, OutFront Minnesota, Sierra Club, and many more. They know that getting real results as a tough, tested, progressive leader requires taking a stand.
No one is more prepared to lead Minneapolis through the challenges ahead, including a Republican Legislature and authoritarian president who have us in their sights. No one is more prepared to keep charting a progressive course toward making Minneapolis the greatest, most equitable city we can be. No one has more often taken on old-guard and big-money interests and won, time and time again.
I’m asking for your vote because we don’t have to go backward.
Let’s walk forward, together, toward a better future.
Betsy Hodges is mayor of Minneapolis.