State of the City address calls for growth and equity in a well-run city

In her first State of the City address, Mayor Betsy Hodges lauded the work of City employees, noting that residents often take their efforts for granted because much of their work is behind the scenes. Minneapolis runs well, said Hodges, thanks to City employees’ great work. “We owe City workers a debt of thanks,” she said.

Three questions guide decision-making

Ensuring that the City runs well is one of Mayor Hodges’ key priorities. When considering proposed policies and initiatives, the mayor told the audience that she uses three questions to guide her decisions:

·         How will this make the City run well?

·         How will this move the dial on equity?

·         How will this move the dial on growth?

Hodges explained that these three questions 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.”

Moving the City toward its goals

Mayor Hodges highlighted a number of efforts that are moving or will move the City toward these goals, including:

Moving the dial on running the City well:

·         Investing an extra $1 million in pothole repair this year.

·         Working to secure Minneapolis’ energy future by moving to curbside organics recycling and working toward becoming a zero-waste community.

·         Continuing efforts to keep violent crime at low levels and hiring approximately 100 new Police officers this year.

·         Delivering a structurally balanced 2015 budget proposal.

Moving the dial on equity:

·         Preventing disparities with effective early childhood interventions. The mayor announced appointments of co-chairs to the Cradle to K cabinet, which aims to increase the early childhood experiences that maximize a child’s readiness for early education.

·         Working to close racial disparities in jobs and workforce, small business and entrepreneurship, and housing and home ownership. Mayor Hodges pledged support for both the Department of Civil Rights’ work to develop the City’s Equity Assessment Toolkit and for the One Minneapolis One Read initiative.

·         Partnering with President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative to create opportunity for boys and young men of color.

Moving the dial on growing the city:

·         Investing in a seamless and sustainably interwoven transit system along revitalized urban corridors as a tool for growing jobs, housing and economic development.

·         Adapting Minneapolis’ economic-development tools to accommodate the needs of a wider set of entrepreneurs, such as Somali women micro-entrepreneurs.

·         Reviewing the City’s business regulations to ease burdens of doing business in Minneapolis.

It’s time to brag

Mayor Hodges ended her speech by announcing the “Best Week of Bragging in Minneapolis Ever.” Noting that Minneapolis’ growth is held back by its residents’ “militantly modest” characteristics, Hodges told the audience that Minneapolis can’t afford to be modest if it wants to grow and bring new opportunities here. The week of bragging — set for July 14-20 — will feature “best of” lists and events meant to encourage bragging.

Learn more about the State of the City Address

Read the full text of Mayor Hodges’ 2014 State of the City address​.

Watch the speech on Minneapolis 79. See a replay schedule.

Published Apr 30, 2014