City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren
Robert Lilligren has represented the 6th Ward of the City of Minneapolis since January, 2006. He was first elected to represent the 8th Ward in November 2001. With no political background or experience, he entered public life because of a strong desire to help his fellow Minneapolitans and to bring a strong voice to core-city concerns.
Robert’s background of community activism, housing development, and on transportation issues were the paths that led him into elected life. When first elected to office, Robert was serving as a volunteer on eight different community boards and commissions including: vice-chair of Phillips West Neighborhood organization, the Midtown Greenway Coalition (a bike/walk advocacy group), the Hennepin County-appointed I-35W Project Advisory Committee, and as an advisor and board member for several affordable housing groups throughout South Minneapolis.
A key focus of Robert’s first term in office was helping to jump start the stalled Sears project – a 2 million square foot vacant and dark building which was blighting the whole south side of Minneapolis. It is now the up and running Midtown Exchange. His leadership helped to set and exceed historically high minority and women workforce and contractor goals for the project. He drafted language into the project’s Request for Proposals (RFP) that allowed for the creation of the Global Market at the Midtown Exchange. This open market brings opportunities for local entrepreneurs – many from new arrival and immigrant communities – and makes fresh food and produce more available inner-city residents as well as being a regional attraction. This term he shifts his focus to the reopening of Nicollet Avenue at Lake St. as a priority.
City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren currently is appointed to the following City Committees: Executive; Community Development; Transportation and Public Works; and he is the Secretary of Minneapolis Community Development Agency. Robert chairs the Committee of the Whole and serves on the City of Minneapolis Information Services Policy Steer Group as well as serving on and chairing several other city initiatives like the Civil Review Authority redesign, the Community Engagement Task Force, the Workgroup for the future of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program and the ongoing Rail Policy Group.
Transportation policy, planning and funding are special areas of work and interest for Council Member Lilligren. He views this as a way to not only improve the lives of the people of Minneapolis, but as a means to bring greater environmental, economic and social justice to transportation investments. He represents the City on several local, regional and statewide transportation bodies where he advocates for alternative transportation and a balanced, multi-modal system.
Council Member Lilligren, as a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, is the first American Indian tribal member to serve on the Minneapolis City Council. Robert is also one of two openly gay members currently on the Minneapolis City Council. He continues his community activism by serving on the boards of organizations involved in empowering these traditionally disenfranchised communities.
City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren moved to the rapidly redeveloping and very diverse Phillips West Neighborhood, from Loring Heights, another 6th Ward neighborhood, in 1982. He has invested in, and helped revitalize, his once crime ridden block. Committed to life in the City, Robert doesn’t own a car – he relies on his bike, his feet or mass transit to get around. He brings a street level perspective to his work on the City Council. He is an avid reader, a classically trained singer and an energetic advocate for Minneapolis.
Last updated Oct. 11, 2011