In less than two months, Minneapolis voters will have a unique opportunity to shape the city’s future. For the first time in 20 years, they’ll choose a mayor from a ballot that does not include an incumbent.

Although the slate does feature a number of locally familiar names — Mark Andrew, Jackie Cherryhomes, Betsy Hodges, Don Samuels and Cam Winton, to name five — 30 lesser-known contenders also will vie for votes.

With Labor Day behind us, our hope is that Minneapolis voters are starting to pay closer attention to the race. Minneapolis is healthier than many of its Midwestern counterparts but lags cities such as Denver, Seattle and Portland in other key areas.

Mayor R.T. Rybak touched on those competitive challenges in his final State of the City address, and the Star Tribune Editorial Board took his cue in developing a four-part series, “Growing Minneapolis,” that starts today with our examination of how the city can generate stronger population growth.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll make recommendations on how best to address job creation, growth-friendly transit, and disparities in education, income, housing and health.

The proposals are based on reporting and research by the editorial writers, as well as discussions with the full Editorial Board. Former Star Tribune editorial writer Steve Berg, a frequent contributor to these pages, was enlisted for the project, joining staff members Denise Johnson, John Rash and Lori Sturdevant in writing the editorials.

Readers will note that the four editorials do not explore the positions of the candidates. Instead, the Editorial Board will use the recommendations to judge how the candidates measure up during endorsement interviews.

Each editorial will run with a commentary written by a local expert on the topic, but we hope these pieces are just the start of a larger conversation. You’re invited to participate in online chats with the writers and editors each of the next four Mondays beginning at noon at

As always, your input is welcome via Twitter @stribopinion; in the online comment sections with each of the editorials, and in letters to the editor, commentaries and counterpoints sent to

If you’d like to hear more about how the Editorial Board developed its recommendations, you’ll find short videos at under the “Growing Minneapolis” label.

As an economic engine for the entire state, Minneapolis must continue to grow and prosper. We believe the recommendations in “Growing Minneapolis” would help in four key areas. Let us know what you think.


Scott Gillespie is the Star Tribune’s editorial page editor. Follow him on Twitter @stribgillespie.