Essays by Mark Andrew, Jackie Cherryhomes, Dan Cohen, Betsy Hodges, Don Samuels and Cam Winton.
On Tuesday, for the first time in 20 years, Minneapolis voters will choose a mayor from a ballot that does not include an incumbent. The Star Tribune Editorial Board asked six of the leading mayoral contenders to make their final arguments on why they should succeed R.T. Rybak, who is not seeking re-election after three terms. The board, which operates independently from news editors and reporters, made its own ranked endorsements Oct. 27. Read the full text of the endorsements, as well as our “Growing Minneapolis” series on key issues in the race. For biographical information on all 35 candidates in the mayoral race, go to http://tinyurl.com/mfmvm2z.
My vision for our city’s future is rooted in my own Minneapolis experience. I was born and raised here in a working-class family and, like my kids, was educated in our public schools. Connie and I started our business here, and I served as chair of the Hennepin County Board and led the DFL for Sen. Paul Wellstone’s re-election. I’ve done well. But the opportunities I had don’t reach everyone. I’m running for mayor to make our great city great for everyone.
We accomplished a lot at Hennepin County. We passed pay equity for women and domestic partnerships benefits, and we built the Midtown Greenway. But I’m not running for mayor based on the past; I’m running to lead us into the future.
As mayor, I will:
• Ensure that all children are educated for success. Our next mayor has to address our achievement gap. I will bring people together to focus on ensuring that every child succeeds from cradle to career.
• Create jobs and economic development. We will grow our economy through transportation, job training, and enhancing partnerships with business and workers — the same innovative and collaborative thinking that made light rail happen.
• Make Minneapolis the greenest city in America. This is good for the environment and grows the economy. I’m proud of my work collaborating to create green innovations like our recycling program and the Midtown Greenway. Together, we will do more.
We will do this while providing basic services like street repair, snow removal and public safety, so that every neighborhood is a great place to live.
I am a proven progressive leader who knows that the most effective way to get results is by working with partners across our community to continue moving forward.
Learn more about my vision at: www.markforminneapolis.com. I ask for your first choice vote for mayor.
I believe that the next mayor of Minneapolis must be someone who is dedicated to the growth of this city and is capable of shepherding the city as it deals with deep gaps in health, education and income. The next mayor must be someone capable of personal accountability, and of placing the city’s needs before her or his own political future.
While serving on the City Council and as council president, I made the hard decisions necessary to move our city forward — settling the Hollman lawsuit and building Heritage Park — and championed the hard votes, such as keeping Target headquarters and the Federal Reserve in downtown Minneapolis. At the time, these were controversial votes. In retrospect, they helped build a stable tax and employment base that allowed Minneapolis to survive the recent deep recession better than most cities in the country.
After losing a close election, I spent the last 11 years running my own business. I took the lessons I learned from my time on the City Council and used them to help other businesses, large and small, navigate the challenges of doing business with the city of Minneapolis. Through this, I learned that creative solutions come from the private sector as well as the public, and that the best solutions are often a public-private partnership.
People elect a mayor to be a leader. In order to lead, you must be able to listen, bring people together and serve the best interests of all who live here. My long history of building broad coalitions across neighborhood, political and public-private lines is proof of my ability to do just that. I have the experience to step into office and get to work on Day 1.
My name is Jackie Cherryhomes, and I am asking for your first-place vote on Tuesday.
I’m Dan Cohen.
The heart and soul of my campaign is restoring the basic right of our democracy: the right to vote. It has twice been denied us.
We got the vote on the same-sex marriage amendment. We got the vote on voter ID. But when it came to the Vikings stadium deal, we didn’t get the vote, we got the shaft: a bill for $500 million, and a deal that puts us in business with a judicially certified civil racketeer. We are entitled to a better deal than this, and I will get it for us. And the right to vote on it.
We got the vote to permit racetracks years ago. But the Legislature, whose members receive some heavy-duty funding from the casinos at Mystic Lake, has refused to give us a vote that could end the Native American monopoly and permit a downtown Minneapolis casino. When a federal judge recently awarded Duluth $10.4 million in back revenue-sharing payments for its downtown casino, Duluth Mayor Don Ness said he would use the money to fix the streets. A Minneapolis downtown casino would generate hundreds of jobs, be a year-round tourist attraction, end the drain of retail businesses out of downtown, provide property tax relief and funding for education and fire and police — and how about fixing those Minneapolis potholes?
This is the second vote we’ve been denied, and I aim to go to the Legislature and get it for us.
I stand for ending racism in the Minneapolis Police Department.
I stand for passing the plain-language charter amendment this election.
I stand for saving the Minnesota Orchestra.
I stand for ending conflicts of interest on the Minneapolis Planning Commission.
I need your help to do it, and I ask for your first-choice vote. Thanks.
My name is Betsy Hodges, and I ask for your first-choice vote on Tuesday. I am the progressive candidate with the first-choice endorsement of the Star Tribune, which said: “Betsy Hodges wins our endorsement based on her City Council record of responsible fiscal leadership, her willingness to take on special interests on behalf of taxpayers, and her potential to grow into the civic cheerleader role that came naturally to [Mayor R.T.] Rybak.”
I’ve partnered with Mayor Rybak to create a progressive, inclusive, livable city that works for you while keeping an eye on our bottom line. We saved the city millions and lowered the property tax levy for the first time in 30 years, all while protecting Minneapolis’ children and families.
I’m proud of the work we’ve done making Minneapolis a great city. But to become the greatest city, we need to take on our greatest challenge. Minneapolis still has too many gaps, in education and jobs, between white people and people of color, between the haves and have-nots. It’s time our schools and our city meet that challenge.
I have the vision to eliminate the opportunity gaps and keep Minneapolis moving forward. My “Cradle-To-K” initiative will eliminate the gaps in prenatal and child-care programming and coverage. My “Ready, Willing and Able” program puts children first, breaking through political logjams to improve our schools and students’ opportunities for success. My vision for growth is centered on transit and rails, bringing people to jobs and jobs to people, and sustainably growing our population by more than 100,000. I am committed to improving public safety in every neighborhood, providing housing for our families and enacting my “Zero Waste Minneapolis” plan.
I have the progressive experience and vision to keep Minneapolis moving forward, and I ask for your first-choice vote on Tuesday.
Minneapolis is at an exciting, pivotal moment in its history. We’ve made great strides over the past decade. We’ve righted many of the wrongs of the 1990s. We’ve paid down $241 million in debt, and since I took over as chair of the Public Safety Committee, we’ve cut crime by double digits every year. There’s no doubt we’re better off now than we were 13 years ago.
Every candidate in this race will be a leader for our successes and will work to make them even better. We’ll continue to have the best parks; we’ll continue to have the most biked city, and we’ll continue to strengthen Minneapolis’ financial footing. The people of Minneapolis will ensure those areas of greatness continue.
But, if we are to take this city to its next level of true and equitable greatness, we must take on our most persistent challenges. I won’t be a mayor who just celebrates our successes while ignoring our problems. I will walk boldly into our historic issues and work to lead the way out.
Current educational outcomes and demographic trends paint a bleak future for the city that will affect us all. That future is a Minneapolis with large swaths of its workforce lacking the skills needed to grow the economy; with an unsustainable dependency on public services, and with persistent crime.
I know that doesn’t have to be our future. I’m confident that with the right leadership — with a mayor who confronts our most challenging problems — we will create an even greater Minneapolis. We can improve upon what we do well and finally address what we haven’t done well before. That is the Minneapolis I envision. I ask you to join me in creating that future, and for your first-choice vote on Nov. 5.
I’m fiscally responsible and socially inclusive, and I offer fresh eyes in City Hall.
My coworkers and I built a company of 120 employees who maintain wind turbines across the country. My wife and I own our home and raise our two young children in Southwest’s Fulton neighborhood.
These days, I see peers moving to the suburbs for better schools, lower property taxes and less crime. My goals: to make Minneapolis work for you in every chapter of your life and ensure that all residents have ladders of opportunity.
To achieve those goals, I’ll fix four things:
1) Today, City Hall churns out red tape that trips up people wanting to hire residents or build housing. As mayor, I’ll streamline that regulation to unleash job growth and affordable housing.
2) Today, we pay for City Hall and Hennepin County to each maintain its own systems for information technology, human resources, accounting and emergency 911 service. As mayor, I’ll end that duplication and cut wasteful spending (like the proposed $53-million-per-mile streetcar line) to keep a lid on property taxes.
3) Today, residents dodge potholes, and our understaffed Police Department solves only 30 percent of property crimes. As mayor, I’ll draw on my service-company experience to improve police, fire and road-paving services. I’ll hold the Police Department accountable to ensure that bad apples no longer harm residents.
4) Today, our schools provide ladders of opportunity for only some students. My own public-school education has enabled me to thrive, so as mayor, I’ll seek school board appointments to push through reform policies, including the end of “last in, first out,” a policy that prioritizes the interests of mediocre adults over exceptional children.
If you think our city is already at its best, many of my fellow candidates would do fine. But if you want fresh eyes to tackle our challenges, I ask for your first-choice vote.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.