Hodges outlines vision for Minneapolis

  • Article by: EDITORIAL BOARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 24, 2014 - 7:05 PM

Hodges focuses on battling inequality in State of the City address.

A well-run, more equitable and more populated city. Those are the three goals that will guide the work of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and her administration. During her first State of the City address Thursday, Hodges laid out those priorities and made a strong case for how narrowing disparities would benefit all residents.

As she did during her campaign and inauguration, Hodges emphasized equity and inclusion — this time offering impressive numbers to support her effort to close racial and other gaps.

The mayor pointed to a Metropolitan Council study that said eliminating disparities in St. Paul and Minneapolis would result in 274,000 fewer people in poverty, 171,000 more high school graduates, 124,000 more employed residents and $31.8 billion more in personal income.

“All of us have a stake in that,” Hodges said. “Universally we benefit when universally we participate. And, more telling, universally we lose out when even some of us do not participate.”

As part of the inclusion theme, the mayor chose to deliver her first address to citizens at the Minneapolis American Indian Center a day before the city is expected to change the name of the Columbus Day holiday to recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day. The change is a way to acknowledge the history, culture and resiliency of those who originally inhabited the city, Hodges said.

Echoing a plea heard often from business leaders, the mayor urged residents to put aside their “militant modesty’’ and start promoting their city. To that end, she introduced plans for “The Best Week of Bragging About Minneapolis — Ever,’’ to take place July 14-20. The city will provide a variety of ways for residents to blow their own horns about where they live.

Despite highlighting the importance of transit Thursday, Hodges failed to mention the vital Southwest Corridor light-rail line. If the city finally gives a green light to the line, residents will really have something to boast about this summer.

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