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Big ideas: Wants Minneapolis to be the “greenest” city in the country. Seeks a “reinvention” of the riverfront to connect trails, transit and industry. Pushing to install solar panels on up to 150 city-owned buildings.
Big accomplishment: Spearheaded effort in 1990s to create the Midtown Greenway, now a heavily trafficked bicycle corridor.
Weakness/baggage: Has been largely out of the spotlight in the last decade, but remains well-connected. The FBI scrutinized plumbing work at his home in 2002, during the same probe that landed a council member in prison, but filed no charges.
Personal: Lives in the Lynnhurst neighborhood with his wife, Connie. They have two children.
Supporters that matter: Sam and Sylvia Kaplan, the building trades union, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
Stadium position: Critical of state’s reliance on gambling funds to pay its share, but says the project will be a “jobs machine.”
Quotable moment: “The three [mayoral candidates] who are on the City Council ... have done practically nothing to promote or create new job opportunities.”
Ideas for growing jobs/population: Says greening the riverfront and the North Side, including trail and transit connections, will foster business growth and attract residents. Also stresses the importance of “world class” cultural amenities.
Suggested cuts/efficiencies: Says city has “hit our tolerances for both spending cuts and property taxes.” Thinks the city can find efficiencies through collaboration with Hennepin County, noting that county and school social workers often work with the same families on “parallel tracks.”
Written by Eric Roper, photography by Jeff Wheeler