Mayor Betsy Hodges MEMORANDUM
 
After four months in office, Mayor Betsy Hodges is moving forward with her agenda, bringing on key people to help carry out her vision and advocating for growth and equity. At her first State of the City address, Mayor Hodges made a pitch for inclusive growth, where all residents contribute to and share in growth and prosperity. She delivered her speech before a crowd of more than 200 people, highlighting efforts that are moving or will move the dial on her goals to run the city well, increase equity and grow the city.
 
Mayor Hodges has also fulfilled a number of campaign promises, including completing her 100-Day Somali Plan and making progress on her Cradle to K cabinet. She continues to work with the business community to encourage growth and development in downtown. 
 
The mayor continues to work closely with Chief Harteau on public safety, encouraging and promoting more hiring of officers and moving forward with a timeline for officer body cameras. Mayor Hodges is keeping the city running well, appropriating additional funding for pothole repairs and keeping a focus on sustainability. She continues to build a strong team to help advance her agenda.
 
In addition to building relationships locally, Mayor Hodges is garnering attention nationally for her work to advance equity as part of a cohort of urban progressive leaders
 
ON HEELS OF STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS, MAYOR HODGES ADVANCING AGENDA, PROMOTING EQUITY NEAR AND FAR
 
MAYOR HODGES DELIVERS FIRST STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS. On April 24, Mayor Hodges delivered her first annual State of the City address before more than 200 people at the Minneapolis American Indian Center. In the speech, which was named Three Questions and a Brag, she made the case for inclusive growth, where all residents contribute to and share in growth and prosperity. Mayor Hodges took the opportunity to announce the “Best Week of Bragging about Minneapolis Ever,” as she encouraged residents to stop being so modest and start singing the praises of Minneapolis to help the city grow. The speech garnered praise from colleagues within City Hall and in the community. [MPR, April 24, 2014;  MinnPost, April 24, 2014; Star Tribune, April 24, 2014; The Journal, April 24, 2014; Minnesota Daily, April 24, 2014; May 2, 2014]Circle News,
 
IMPROVING PUBLIC SAFETY. On April 18, Mayor Hodges co-chaired a Public Safety Summit on Northside crime with Chief Harteau and Council President Barb Johnson. Dozens of stakeholders came together, leaving the summit with specific recommendations and commitments from law enforcement, neighborhoods, the courts, the state, and the city for improving safety in North Minneapolis. Mayor Hodges and her office have also been assisting in efforts to recruit and hire new officers and community service officers for the Minneapolis Police Department. In her State of the City address, Mayor Hodges mentioned that MPD is aiming to make a total 100 new hires this year and that she hopes to see the force better reflect the community it serves. She also took a moment to personally ask people to apply to be an officer. MPD is moving forward on its plans to outfit Minneapolis cops with body cameras, a project Mayor Hodges helped fund in 2013 as a city council member. [WCCO-TV, April 18, 2014; Star Tribune, April 19, 2014; Star Tribune; April 24, 2014]
 
KEEPING OUR CITY MOVING. Following a long and rough winter, Mayor Hodges asked the City Council to approve an additional $1 million in funding for pothole repairs. The move, which the Council approved last month, has allowed the City to double its efforts in filling and repairing potholes throughout Minneapolis. [Fox-9, April 1, 2014; The Journal, April 1, 2014; KARE-11, April 11, 2014]
 
CRADLE TO K CABINET TAKES FORM. Mayor Hodges named Peggy Flanagan, executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota, and Carolyn Smallwood, executive director of Way to Grow, as co-chairs of her Cradle to K initiative. The pair will lead a cabinet as it works to coordinate and align work to increase the early experiences of all children prenatal to three years old. The cabinet will also be responsible for creating a plan to bridge across silos and sectors to maximize a child’s ability to be ready for early-education opportunities. Mayor Hodges made a campaign promise to create the cabinet, as a way to help bridge the achievement gap in education. Names of the full cabinet are expected to be announced soon, with the first meeting of the full cabinet in early June.
 
MAYOR HODGES WELCOMES NATIONAL CHAMPION ON EARLY EDUCATION POLICY AND INITATIVES. On May 19, Mayor Hodges will welcome Dr. Maxine Hayes at a forum in downtown Minneapolis hosted by Twin Cities Healthy Start. Dr. Hayes is a national expert on how maternal child health issues and adverse childhood experiences impact early brain development.  She is a board certified pediatrician with a Master’s degree in Public Health and served as the state Health Officer for Washington State for 16 years. Mayor Hodges will join Dr. Hayes and others in a panel discussion around strategies to create successful early learning and education opportunities for children, youth and families.
 
MAYOR HODGES MAKES PITCH FOR NICOLLET MALL RENOVATION. Mayor Hodges praised state legislators for their inclusion of Nicollet Mall in the latest bonding bills, but urged them to support the full $25 million necessary to fully realize the economic development potential of the project. In March, she joined Downtown Council President Steve Cramer in penning an op-ed calling for full funding of the project, saying it has the potential to transform the 12-block pedestrian and transit thoroughfare into a prominent symbol that will make all Minnesotans proud. Later, in an April 22 editorial, the Star Tribune agreed, saying Nicollet Mall renovation is worthy of state aid, with redesign plans that go well beyond street repairs. Mayor Hodges has spent several days at the State Capitol, talking with legislators about the importance of the project. She will join community members, business and city leaders at the Nicollet Mall redesign concepts presentation event on Wednesday, when the design and architecture firm will share a preview of the design.  [Star Tribune, March 13, 2014; April 22, 2014]Star Tribune,
 
ADVANCING EQUITY AT THE STATE CAPITOL.Mayor Hodges has been working to support a number of bills at the State Capitol, including the Women’s Economic Security Act and the minimum wage bill. Early in the year she joined a group of Minnesota mayors in lending their support to the Raise the Wage Coalition, a group of community, faith, labor, non-profit and service-based organizations, praising legislators when they passed a minimum wage increase. She also was pleased to see Governor Dayton sign the Women’s Economic Security Act into law this weekend.
 
MOVING TOWARD A ZERO-WASTE MINNEAPOLIS. The City of Minneapolis is preparing to roll out citywide organics recycling and composting later this year. In April, Stephanie Zawistowski joined the mayor’s staff as a policy aide focused on sustainability. She will be responsible for working with city leaders and staff on developing a zero-waste plan for Minneapolis. Zawistowski comes most recently from Best Buy, where she worked on sustainability for the company. Mayor Hodges also joined Rep. Frank Hornstein at an Earth Day press conference to support an increase in statewide SCORE grants to promote recycling. In March, the Mayor joined local leaders, environmental advocates and community members at a solid waste forum to discuss ways to increase the diversion rate, looking at San Francisco as a model, which diverts 80 percent of its garbage from landfills. [The Journal, April 17, 2014; Star Tribune, March 21, 2014; Star Tribune, May 12, 2014]
 
BUILDING A STRONG, DIVERSE TEAM. In addition to the hiring of Stephanie Zawistowski, Mayor Hodges recently brought Erick Garcia Luna on-board to focus on economic development and opportunity. Among other things, he will be working closely with City Attorney Susan Segal as she conducts a comprehensive review of small-business regulations in Minneapolis. The Mayor’s labor liaison was also featured in an article originally published in the Minneapolis Labor Review. Abdi Muse said the mayor’s focus on diversity is good for the whole labor movement, adding “The mayor’s agenda for equity and the labor agenda is one. Good jobs means union jobs.” [MinnPost, April 30, 2014; Twin Cities Daily Planet, May 2, 2014]
 
ADVANCING AN EQUITY AGENDA. Mayor Hodges continues to advance an equity agenda, not just in Minneapolis, but nationally as well. She is garnering attention in national outlets as a new, progressive mayor, joining New York City’s Bill de Blasio, Boston’s Marty Walsh and Seattle’s Ed Murray on a list of mayors advancing “their fight against rising inequality.” Mayor Hodges also presented at a conference of mayors in Chicago in early April, talking about the price we pay for inequities and her goal of promoting inclusive growth in Minneapolis. Her work and collaboration with a local alliance that supported her during the mayoral election was also highlighted in an article in American Prospect, showing how new elected leaders across the country are “enacting at the municipal level many of the major policy changes that progressives have found themselves unable to enact at the federal and state levels.” [New York Times, April 6, 2014; The Nation, April 6, 2014; Star Tribune, April 11, 2014; American Prospect, April 22, 2014; April 20, 2014] Washington Post,
 
SPREADING THE FREEDOM TO MARRY. While Minnesota may have won the freedom to marry in 2013, Mayor Hodges is helping with the efforts to win that same freedom in neighboring states. On April 26, she officiated at the wedding of Nancy Robrahn and Jennie Rosenkranz, who traveled from South Dakota to North Minneapolis to get married after spending nearly three decades together. The couple, now the Rosenbrahns, plans to file suit in South Dakota, challenging that state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples and a U.S. provision allowing states to not recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. [Star Tribune, April 25, 2014; Rapid City Journal, April 26, 2014; WCCO-TV, April 26, 2014; KARE-11, April 26, 2014]

Published May 12, 2014