Mayor Hodges’ State of the City: “We get to grow, Minneapolis, and we get to do it all together”
Mayor makes case for inclusive growth that benefits all residents; announces co-chairs of Cradle to K cabinet, “Bragging Week”
 
April 24, 2014 (MINNEAPOLIS) — In her first State of the City address, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges made the case for inclusive growth, where all residents contribute to and share in growth and prosperity.
 
Mayor Hodges delivered her speech, entitled “Three Questions and a Brag” at the Minneapolis American Indian Center.
Mayor Hodges described how she and her team make decisions about policy, initiatives, and where to focus their efforts, by pointing to three questions at the top of the whiteboard in the mayor’s office:
 
1) How will this make the city run well?
 
2) How will this move the dial on equity?
 
3) How will this move the dial on growing the city?
 
These questions animate her work as mayor and are “inextricably linked.”
 
“If we do not run the city well, it is not possible to meet any of the other goals we have for ourselves as a people and as a city. And if not every part of the city is getting the level of service that they need, we are neither equitable nor running the city well. Equity relies on creating opportunities for people to thrive, and that takes growth. For us to be One Minneapolis, we need to know and act like these questions are all connected.
 
“We get to grow, Minneapolis, and we get to do it all together. We get to truly become One Minneapolis, all of us — by necessity — contributing to that growth and prosperity and all of us by necessity sharing in that growth and prosperity.”
 
She made the case for inclusive growth, pointing to a recent Metropolitan Council study that shows eliminating disparities in Minneapolis-Saint Paul leads to 274,000 fewer people in poverty, 171,000 more high school diplomas, and 124,000 jobs, contributing to $31.8 of personal income.
 
Mayor Hodges said that “increasing equity is the just thing to do … and were that the only reason, it would be enough. But I want to start with the premise that ensuring that all of the community — white people and people of color, high-income and low-income — must be in a position to both contribute to and benefit from our growth and our increased prosperity. All of us have a stake in that. Universally we benefit when universally we participate. And, more telling, universally we lose out when even some of us do not participate.”
 
Mayor Hodges pointed to data showing strong recent growth in Minneapolis, including close to $3 billion additional in the tax base in 2013 from increasing market values and new construction, and a 2.7% increase in jobs in 2013. But she stressed that without equity, Minneapolis will erode the gains it has made.
 
Mayor Hodges highlighted a number of efforts that are moving or will move the dial on her goals, including:
 
     Moving the dial on running the city well. Mayor Hodges spoke of: the extra $1 million that the City has invested in pothole repair this year; efforts to secure Minneapolis’ energy future, which include moving to curbside organics recycling soon and to zero-waste in the long term; continued low levels of violent crime and the approximately 100 new hires that the Police Department will make this year, including efforts to make sure that the force increasingly looks more like the city that it serves. She pledged to deliver a structurally balanced 2015 budget proposal in August.
 
     Moving the dial on equity. Mayor Hodges said that efforts to create equity must begin with kids, because research shows that disparities can be prevented by effective early-childhood interventions. She announced that Peggy Flanagan, executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota, and Carolyn Smallwood, executive director of Way to Grow, will serve as co-chairs of her Cradle to K cabinet, which aims to align work to increase the early-childhood experiences that maximize a child’s readiness for early education.
 
She also praised the City’s efforts to close racial disparities in jobs and workforce, small business and entrepreneurship, and housing and home ownership. Mayor Hodges pledged her support for the Department of Civil Rights’ work to develop the City’s Equity Assessment Toolkit, and for the One Minneapolis, One Read initiative.
Mayor Hodges praised President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative to create opportunity for boys and young men of color and expressed enthusiasm for Minneapolis’ partnering with this White House initiative.
 
     Moving the dial on growing the city. Mayor Hodges laid out a vision of “seamlessly and sustainably interwoven” transit investments along “revitalized urban corridors” as a tool for growing jobs, housing and economic development. “Make no mistake: Minneapolis knows exactly what it wants” in transit, she said. She also made the case for the redesign of Nicollet Mall as “a regional amenity of critical importance to our partners in Minnesota’s business community”, and thanked Governor Dayton and the business and legislative leaders who are working hard to secure bonding dollars for it.
 
Mayor Hodges called for adapting Minneapolis’ economic-development tools to accommodate the needs of a wider set of entrepreneurs, citing as an example Somali women micro entrepreneurs. She announced that City Attorney Susan Segal is leading a review of the City’s business regulations, with a view to easing burdens on doing business in Minneapolis.
 
Mayor Hodges ended her speech by announcing the “Best Week of Bragging in Minneapolis Ever.” She is promoting this week because Minneapolis’ growth is held back by its residents’ being “militantly modest,” adding that “If we are going to grow, if we are going to bring opportunity here, we can’t afford to be modest.” During the week of July 14–20, Mayor Hodges will encourage residents to brag about Minneapolis to their neighbors, friends and relatives. The week will showcase the best of the city, featuring “best of” lists and events meant to help residents practice bragging.
 
Read the full text of Mayor Hodges’ 2014 State of the City address​ as prepared for delivery.
 
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Published Apr 24, 2014