2017 Mayoral Candidate Q&A

Dehn, Frey, Hodges

Left to right: State Rep. Raymond Dehn, Council Member Jacob Frey, Mayor Betsy Hodges. 

Instructions to candidates:

NOC is a black led community based organization with a powerful and growing multicultural base. We value the leadership, courage and sacrifice of our elected officials. We’re honored to present our 2017 questionnaire for the Mayor of Minneapolis.

Please answer with 150 words or less for each question. The answers to this questionnaire will be made available on our website.

Editor's note: Bob Carney Jr., Al Flowers, Tom Hoch, Jonathan Honerbrink, Nekima Levy-Pounds, Aswar Rahman, David Rosenfeld, and Captain Jack Sparrow did not return our questionnaire.

Minimum Wage

Minneapolis is well known for having some of the worst racial disparities in the country. One path towards addressing that gap is to raise wages. Do you support raising the minimum wage in Minneapolis to $15 dollars per hour as a way to bridge the racial and economic divide? Should any workers be exempted from a wage increase? 

Raymond Dehn: The living wage is an issue of racial, gender, and economic justice. I have been a supporter of a $15 minimum wage since the beginning of the fight. When we raised the minimum wage to $9.50 at the state level, I argued that we would need to go higher. Over half of those affected by a $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis would be nonwhite. If Minneapolis is to stand as sanctuary city, we must ensure that all have access to a living wage, affordable housing, and a high-quality education. An increased wage provide Minneapolis workers with greater economic security. In the past weeks, we have seen many of our leaders shift their view in support of a $15 minimum wage. This is largely due to the organizing work done by NOC, 15NOW, CTUL, SEUI, ISAIAH—proof that when we mobilize communities progress follows. That principal will define my administration.

Jacob Frey: Yes. I am an enthusiastic supporter of a $15 minimum wage for Minneapolis workers. Two and a half years ago, I became one of the first council members to support a municipal minimum wage increase at a time when many, including the mayor, were opposed. Because of the hard work of NOC, CTUL, 15NOW, and other progressive activists, the small minority of council members in favor of raising the minimum wage has grown to an overwhelming majority. Their diligence, coupled with the entry of viable candidates for mayor, such as myself, who support a $15 minimum wage has also succeeded in pressuring the mayor to change her position. I look forward to securing this victory against racial and socioeconomic injustice as a council member this year, and to overseeing its implementation as mayor.

Betsy Hodges: I am confident that Minneapolis can set an example for other cities in our region by passing and implementing a $15 minimum wage without any occupational carve outs.

I have been very public about my support for raising the minimum wage to $15 without a tip penalty. Minneapolis does not currently have and should not have a tiered wage system for workers. As Mayor, I came out early against a tip penalty and one fair wage for all.  

Tip Penalty

The Minnesota Restaurant Association is pushing for a tip penalty, which would set a lower minimum wage for tipped workers and require them to count their tips toward their base wage. Studies have shown that tip penalties hit women hardest and lead to higher rates of poverty and sexual harassment in the workplace. Passing a tip penalty in Minneapolis would also open the door to a subminimum wage for tipped workers statewide. Will you make sure that a $15 minimum wage increase includes tipped workers without a tip penalty?

Dehn: I’m proud to be the first elected official in the race to publicly support no tip penalty and the only candidate that has voted against a tip penalty. Women make up the majority of minimum wage workers. In the restaurant industry they are making only 68% of their male counterparts. Female servers report sexual harassment in the workplace at rate 6 times higher than average, and should not have to rely on tips to earn a living wage. Additionally, minimum wage increase would positively benefit thousands of single parent families. Raising the minimum wage is also an issue of justice for our LGBT community. LGBT families and Trans folks are more likely to live in extreme poverty. One of many steps we need to take in addressing these injustices is raising the minimum wage to $15.

Frey: Yes. We can and will pass a $15 minimum wage without counting tips. As the only candidate in the race for mayor who has the responsibility of crafting this proposal, I wanted to respect the council process, including the listening sessions, before making a public announcement. Thanks to the organizing efforts of progressive activists, it is clear that we will have the votes to do this without a carve out for tips, and I am glad to be able to stand with them on this issue.

Hodges: In Minneapolis, I have said repeatedly that we absolutely must not pass a minimum wage with a tip penalty that leaves low-income tipped workers — who are predominantly women — behind. Without my leadership, the city council could be moving ahead with an ordinance that includes a tip penalty, one that my opponent Jacob Frey once championed. I cannot and will not support a minimum wage with a tip penalty.

My position is clear: I will lead a fight, with you, for a $15 minimum wage, but I will not support any citywide minimum wage if it includes a tip penalty. 

Secure Scheduling

In 2015, Minneapolis considered a policy to address the unstable work hours experienced by many hourly workers. Low wage workers in particular are often given little or no advance notice of their work schedule; others are required to work erratic weekly hours. Do you support the creation of a policy to help stabilize the work schedules of low wage workers in Minneapolis? What would your fair hours policy look like?

Dehn: To ensure fair labor practices, workers must have a say in policy. Insecure scheduling harms working families—it is difficult to schedule childcare when one is working part-time jobs or on-call shifts. These practices primarily harm women and workers of color. Minneapolis’ fair scheduling policy can take examples from cities like Seattle who recently passed similar policies. We must ensure workers have their schedule two weeks in advance and that businesses offer full-time positions instead of over-hiring part-time workers. Further, to deter businesses from cutting employees shifts early. Businesses should pay employees for half the hours remaining on their shift if they are cut early; the same should be paid for on-call time when workers are not called in. We must also discourage scheduling workers to clopen (shifts within 10 hours of one another) by requiring time and a half for these shifts as well.

Frey: Our most vulnerable victims are often taken advantage of in the workplace by unfair scheduling practices - many of which are administered by large, corporate employers and franchises that habitually exploit their employees. I want Minneapolis to tackle a scheduling ordinance in a way that targets these kinds of bad actors.

The specifics of the policy will be important in crafting an ordinance. I did not support the 2015 scheduling policy as originally written because I believe that several weeks’ notice with predictability pay would not be a feasible model for many of Minneapolis’s small businesses. Many small and local businesses, from taquerias on Lake Street to funeral homes in North/Northeast, do not have predictable schedules and provide irreplaceable jobs to communities in our city that badly need them. 

Hodges: I believe Minneapolis needs a scheduling ordinance that requires advanced notice of schedules and compensation when schedules are adjusted or hours are cancelled. It's the right thing to do for our hourly workers. When it became apparent that the 2015 ordinance would not pass the council, I listened to our progressive advocates and had to make the tough decision to focus on the rest of the Working Families agenda. We're once again moving forward on the minimum wage increase and I hope with renewed focus, and/or some new council members, we can make progress on a scheduling ordinance as well. 

Banking

Banks like Wells Fargo and US Bank, which have a major presence in the city of Minneapolis and downtown lobby groups, have a well documented history of redlining communities of color. Baltimore, Memphis and Los Angeles have sued Wells Fargo, and won hundreds of millions in damages, in response to their racist foreclosure policies. How can and should the city of Minneapolis hold big banks accountable for their lending practices? What city regulations can be created to produce a more equitable lending environment and prevent the theft of generational wealth in communities of color? 

Dehn: The subprime mortgage crisis is when I first got involved in politics, through the Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition—I connected my neighbors to assistance if they fell behind on their monthly payments. Building generational wealth in communities of color requires financial institutions dedicated to doing just that, the way traditional banks do for white communities. North Minneapolis will soon see a black-owned credit union serving their community. Currently, there are only two banking options on the Northside, while the community is riddled with payday lenders and check-cashing stations. These organizations specialize in taking money out of the pockets of people, shorting their savings, and placing them in debt. Most of these locations are strategically proximate to liquor stores, feeding addiction and trauma in our communities.

Frey: Where redlining and discriminatory lending practices exist, the city needs to root them out using the legal process. I have a long history of defending communities and individuals in court against unfair housing/lending practices. From representing Jaymie Kelly in court when she was being forced out of her home, to tenants being evicted for unfair reasons, to providing legal assistance to victims of the Northside tornado, I’ve been there to help. This legal work is often not sexy, but it’s necessary, and as with Jaymie Kelly, I’ve been there to do it when nobody else was willing to step up

Second, the City must insist on a progressive housing policy that does not intentionally segregate communities by race and socio-economic background. Segregated neighborhoods make it easier for banks to target and discriminate against entire communities of people of color. I expand on this in my housing answer.

Hodges: We need to advocate for laws that address predatory lending better. Right now there’s not a lot of banking in North Minneapolis, there’s not a lot of asset management. The wealth of the community in North Minneapolis was bled away in the foreclosure crisis. It’s also lost in payday loans, the high interest people pay in those payday loans, and it doesn’t get re-circulated in the community. 

Minneapolis already has down payment- and closing-cost-assistance tools in place to help promote home ownership in the neighborhoods hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. To that tool box, I am adding an initiative that will specifically connect qualified residents from communities of color with those tools in order to move them into home ownership, and to rebuild community wealth in north and south central Minneapolis.

I’m also excited to announce that I recently met with a woman who will be starting the first black credit union in Minneapolis.  

Ray Dehn
State Rep. Raymond Dehn

Access to Democracy

Minnesota has some of the highest voter turnout rates in the nation. Yet voter participation in neighborhoods with high concentrations of people of color is among the lowest in Minneapolis. How would you leverage your position as mayor to ensure that more people are given voting access in Minneapolis? What are some specific voter engagement strategies can you initiate as mayor? 

Dehn: As a Representative in North Minneapolis, I have been successful in increasing voter turnout in 59B. Much of this success comes from good governance and being connected to constituents. As a state representative, I voted for policies to enfranchise more voters—including strengthening same-day registration and early voting through Minnesota. As Mayor of the largest city in Minnesota, I would see it as my responsibility to champion policies that assist voter turnout—including continuing to increase access to early voting, passing policy to excuse workers for the purpose of voting, and creating automatic voter registration when registering for a license.

Frey: When asked whether I can be trusted to make access to democracy a priority as mayor, I point to my record-breaking efforts on the Council. I fought to ensure that Minneapolis expanded early voting by adding four early voting precincts, resulting in early voting turnout that was 3 TIMES the previous record.

Additionally, I authored and passed an ordinance requiring landlords to provide their new tenants with voter registration forms and information after they move in. This ordinance should serve as a national model to pushback on the racist practice of voter registration.

Finally, requiring a two-step process - first registration followed by voting - was instituted to add an additional barrier to prevent women and people of color from voting. While we need to push for automatic voter registration, we can enact policies at the city level to eliminate barriers. Many will talk about increasing voter engagement. We did it. 

Hodges: My organizing background underpins my commitment toward policy and outreach through an organizing lens. I’m committed to changing how the City interacts with the community from the old model that works only for some, to one built by and with all.

Below are examples:

  • Collaborative public safety strategies. My 2017 budget includes $500,000 for community in two locations — Little Earth and West Broadway — to decide for themselves, what grassroots strategies they would like to keep those areas safer – work no other city is doing.

  • The community organizing pilot through the Clean Energy Partnership.

  • The One Minneapolis Fund that gives micro grants to community non-profits for leadership capacity.

  • Creative CityMaking that pairs an artist with a City department that wants to engage with, and organize in new ways.

I’m committed to working with organizing groups and many achievements of my first term are linked to the community’s ability to organize.  

Education

Nationally, the cost of childcare is exceeding college tuition, and we are seeing the impacts on the local level. The ability to access high quality, affordable childcare is increasingly slim. The MN Child Care Assistance Program, or CCAP, has a waitlist of 7,000 kids, and new corporate-run centers are charging twice as much as independent centers. Do you support using City resources to fund childcare services for low income residents?

Dehn: Yes, I support city resources funding child care services for low income residents. Additionally, I believe the cost of childcare can also be addressed holistically: by providing residents with access to a living wage to afford childcare, enacting the Working Families Agenda to give parents flexibility, and providing safe and stable housing. Most importantly, I support increasing access to pre-K so children to alleviate the burden of childcare costs for families while also providing an education to our youngest learners. The opportunity gap starts at birth; we need to be aggressive in providing any and all resources for children to

Frey: Yes.

Hodges: Every child deserves access to education. I’m especially proud of my Cradle to K initiative that focuses on closing the gaps that are created before a child first steps through the door of a kindergarten classroom. The initiative aims to prevent and end racial disparities in children prenatally through three years old by coordinating existing work in early childhood to target interventions on health, stable housing, and continuous access to high-quality child care. Already that work has resulted in an 18% increase in early childhood screenings, funding for a first-of-its-kind affordable housing development in South Minneapolis for large families at the lowest incomes.

60% of Minneapolis children are in childcare run by a friend, family member, or neighbor. We must ensure that these childcare workers have the resources they need to provide safe environments. 

Transportation and Development

Public transportation in Minneapolis is unaffordable for many low income residents. Poor and working families pay a disproportionate percentage of their monthly income for public transportation. Meanwhile, billion dollar light rail lines are being developed and low-income residents are at risk of displacement and gentrification. How would you ensure that any new light rail development will ensure sustainable housing and job creation for local residents? Would you support subsidized or free fare options for low income riders on bus and light rail?

Dehn: Transportation is essential to making a living. Any worker who makes less than $15 an hour should have access to free transit. We have a great public transportation system that many of these workers use regularly. I believe that people whose only flaw is that ‘they don’t have much money’ should have access to getting around.

Frey: I would support city efforts to subsidize transit fares for low-income Minneapolitans. I imagine that there would be challenges to be weighed in implementing this policy and coordinating with the Met Council, but transit access has to be a priority for Minneapolis city policy. 

As I have said repeatedly, I will make affordable housing and diverse neighborhoods the number one priority for my administration if I become Mayor. Because I believe so strongly that preventing the displacement of communities is crucial, I know that building and supporting affordable and/or public housing in all areas of the city, including near light rail stops, is crucial.

Hodges: We need to be truly multi-modal in our approach to transportation and transit. More people can successfully be car-free if there are options, including children, seniors and people with a disability.

The lack of choices for residents who don't have the option to drive is part of what holds us back from becoming a more equitable city. To overcome that history and advance environmental justice, we must challenge old ways of thinking:

a.) transit criteria that prioritize new riders over current riders or people who have choices over people who rely on transit, and

b.) the false narrative that transit alone is a subsidized social service as opposed to legitimate transportation with a lighter footprint and no greater subsidy than the subsidy for roads.

These challenges should drive us to make sure pedestrian, bicycle and transit advocates are working together and supporting common goals.  

Housing

Minneapolis is quickly becoming unaffordable for working people. In the last few years there have been rapid rent increases and the provision of affordable housing does not meet the need. How do you plan to make sure Minneapolis retains and grows affordable housing as the region is changing?

Dehn: Minneapolis must build enough affordable housing to meet demand—4200 units per year. Minneapolis is also the fastest growing city in the midwest, it will be important to increase incentivize the building of new units at every income level. I will also increase the number of public housing residents serving on city boards and commissions, providing the stakeholder with a say in policy. We need to transform the housing issue through community building solutions. To keep low-income families and households from being priced-out, we must protect and incentivize naturally occurring affordable housing.

Frey: Minneapolis should set aside a percentage of the property tax revenue the city receives from any increase in the property values of homes valued at $300,000 or more for a special fund exclusively for affordable housing. Such a policy will not be easy, and will require a significant campaign working with groups like NOC to achieve passage and implementation.

While it is great that Minneapolis has been building affordable housing for people at 50-60% area median income, we need to build more deeply affordable housing, closer to 30% of area median income or lower. We also need electeds ready to step up and champion affordable housing in their areas of the city. We have done this in our neighborhoods, which saw significant increases in affordable housing in areas along the central riverfront (I believe more than anywhere else in the city over the last 3 years), and we pushed for housing for people with a felony record at 30% of median income in North Loop. These projects weren’t easy to get approved, but they were the right thing to do.

Hodges: I created the Family Housing Initiative in 2016, which enabled the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to provide first-in dollars to create units for larger families which has seeded a project in ward 12 to house 16 families experiencing homelessness. It’s also why I initiated Minneapolis' first investment into preserving our naturally-occurring affordable housing.

We’ve been losing far more affordable units than we could build through the Trust Fund. We have to use the funding we have to creatively approach housing issues. I’ll continue to make investments like these to ensure we’re doing everything we can to ensure everyone can live in Minneapolis.  

Jacob Frey
Council Member Jacob Frey

Immigration

During the Trump administration our immigrant communities will be subjected to ever increasing levels of scrutiny. Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), for example, is a government program designed to profile and surveille Black Muslim immigrants - specifically Somali Americans. How will you leverage your position as mayor to reject or promote programs like CVE? Please provide specific strategies to resist or support a presidential order to use local law enforcement to deport undocumented immigrants.

Dehn: CVE is, without question, a program designed to vilify and target immigrant communities. Through my position as Mayor, I would make it clear that our neighbors who came here seeking a better life, fleeing war and persecution, are welcome, invited and will not be vilified. This is includes ordering the Minneapolis Police Department not to comply with ICE attempts to deport our neighbors.

Frey: The Mayor has direct control over the MPD, and I look forward to leveraging that position in opposition to Trump’s anti-immigrant hate-mongering. I am willing to order the MPD to undermine and defy Trump’s ICE’s immigration raids. Because of our separation ordinance, I am hopeful that we will be able to thwart Trump in his mission to destroy our New American communities without losing federal funds, but I am willing to do so even if that is the case. I am willing to compromise on many things as mayor, but human rights, dignity, and safety will be non-negotiable for my administration.

Additionally, I have a background in civil rights and constitutional law. This background will be handy resisting against Trump’s agenda.

Hodges: We must counter violent extremism in all of its forms including standing against Trump policies that harm our communities with xenophobia, islamophobia, and racism, period. Going forward, I will continue to be vocal against violent extremism and hateful rhetoric. We will also continue our equity work to close disparities and ensure all residents feel like they belong in our communities. 

I will continue to defend our separation ordinance that says our police will not do the work of federal immigration authorities. For the last 14 years, it has made our city and our people safer, because victims of and witnesses of crime know that when they call the Minneapolis police, their immigration status will not be questioned. We have worked way too long and way too hard in Minneapolis to help everybody feel safe calling the police to let Donald Trump get in the middle of that relationship. 

Environment

We believe Minneapolis must play a leading role in finding environmental justice solutions for climate change. We believe that recycling our waste is not only better for the environment, it can also create community based jobs. What do you see as the path to creating a Zero Waste city in Minneapolis? How can this be done in a way that prioritizes environmental justice? Do you support closing the HERC? How should the city use the money from the Northern Metals settlement for reparations for North and Northeast Minneapolis? 

Dehn: Minneapolis needs to better fund our single-sort recycling and municipal composting programs and invest to inform residents how the programs work—we incur cost when there is inefficiency. I will budget a process toward Zero Waste, this will include adding apartment buildings to our current programs. As a legislator, I have opposed the HERC incinerator on the north side of downtown. The City must work with regulatory agencies to ensure we are holding polluters accountable and that our health department is using current best practices to collect data regarding increased rates of childhood asthma and other health disparities. Our city has adopted a climate action plan that sets to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. It will be my job as Mayor to help people, organizations, and corporations fulfill their role in the fight against climate change.

Frey: I believe that the path to making Minneapolis a Zero Waste city starts by making sure that our public facilities are fully equipped to sort recycling and organics. After that, we need to do more community outreach and get more Minneapolitans taking advantage of our current organics recycling program.

I would support closing the HERC. I think the city should use the money from the Northern Metals settlement to further environmental justice goals through clean-up of litter and toxins in North Minneapolis.

I also want to build off recent successes. This past spring, I passed sweeping requiring polluters to pay fees based on the amount of pollution they produce. We fought for and won this progressive victory because we know that air pollution is a climate issue, but also an equity issue—the people most hurt by climate change and toxic pollutants like VOCs are also people of color.

Hodges: I initiated a Zero Waste Minneapolis Working Group composed of myself, Council Members, and city staff to create a Zero Waste Plan. The progress so far has allowed us to understand our waste issues and identify areas in which we can improve to achieve a zero waste status. This plan will require more engagement with our various communities and I look forward to those conversations in the coming months.

Northern Metals faces $2.5 million worth of fines, including $600,000 to the city for 3 years to mitigate health problems in the area. Those funds will support projects that identify and educate residents about asthma triggers, and enroll families with children suffering from asthma in mitigation programs. Halston Sleets is now on my staff, and her area of expertise is environmental justice. I look forward to continuing this work as a priority as we move forward. 

4th Precinct

What lessons have you learned from the death of Jamar Clark and the related occupation of the 4th Precinct? What would you change about the city’s response to the occupation?

Dehn: It is clear that we need to change the culture of Minneapolis Police Department, completely. We have also learned to be weary even when a politician speaks our values, that we should trust elected officials based on their job performance, not their rhetoric. Jamar’s death should not have been treated as a public event, the government needed to respond to, but a tragedy the government failed to prevent. The city should have worked closely with communities of color and non-police safety experts when evaluating their response. We should have prioritized de-escalation and protecting the occupation. My administration will prioritize transparency—the community will have a voice and we will not discredit the voices of witnesses, community members, and activists.

Frey: Jamar Clark’s death and the pain I saw at the 4th precinct opened my eyes to the fact that that the racial inequities in policing in Minneapolis are as raw as ever. We need to move towards a community policing model that actually builds community linkages, hires officers of color and from Minneapolis, and an overhauled implicit bias training program. 

As the Department of Justice described in its report on the city’s response to the 4th precinct occupation, the Mayor failed to provide the communication and leadership that Minneapolis desperately needed. We need a visible and present voice working to protect the protesters and to communicate clear instructions to the MPD, which answers to the Mayor’s office. Minneapolis needs an advocate who will not shy away from controversial crises for political purposes.

Hodges: After the 4th Precinct occupation, Police Chief Janee Harteau and I asked the Department of Justice for an after action report to find out not only what went well, but what we could’ve done better. It came back with criticism and a number of recommendations for improvement, which we take seriously.

When it comes to police–community relationships, the report recommends that we continue good work that we’ve already been doing. Similarly, while the report addresses the need to support officer wellness and resilience, it’s silent on community wellness and resilience, which we’d already taken the initiative to address. That’s unacceptable. For these reasons, I’m reaching out to community members myself to listen to what they think of this report and what else we can do. I have much more to say than space allotted, please see: http://mayorhodges.com/page/3/  

Public Safety

How can Minneapolis better support needs related to mental health, employment, and youth development outside of the current punitive law enforcement model? How would you work to develop new public safety models outside the policing system to prioritize these needs?

Dehn: The goal of public safety should be to provide residents with the resources they need and decriminalize offenses that are a product of social problems. Too often, crime is seen as an individual choice—rather than a social problem caused by myriad factors including poverty, addiction, and untreated mental health conditions. In order to address one facet of public safety, I released a plan to address addiction and substance abuse. See it here. My public safety model would prioritize prevention and rehabilitation over punishment. While Minnesota has one of the lowest rates of individuals incarcerated, we have the highest rate of under correctional control—whether on probation, supervised release, or currently incarcerated. As Mayor, my goal will be to lower our city’s rate of individuals currently under correctional control.

Frey: I would like to our mental health co-responder program expanded further in the years ahead, because I believe that having mental health professionals at these scenes can make the difference between a successful resolution of the situation and a fatal, preventable tragedy. I also believe that city programs and nonprofits that provide summer jobs to Minneapolis youth have to be fully funded not just to provide opportunity to young Minneapolitans but because it is good crime prevention policy. We cannot use punitive action to solve every public safety program, and these policies constitute a first step towards acknowledging that.

Hodges: As a survivor of childhood trauma, I understand the effect trauma has on children, and how imperative it is to monitor and address the issues that stem from it. It’s why I built trauma resources into the Cradle to K program.

Also, In the City’s 2017 budget, I proposed and funded mental-health co-responder pilot project to pair mental-health professionals with specially-trained police officers to respond to and de-escalate the most difficult calls mental-health-related calls.

Under my leadership, the City won a $5M, 5-year grant to promote resiliency and equity among communities facing trauma due to law-enforcement issues. Minneapolis is one of only 8 cities in the country to be awarded the ReCAST Grant to build greater trust, address health impacts, and implement shared decision making.

In 2016, I added money to the budget to accelerate crisis-intervention training for all Minneapolis police officers. As a result, all Minneapolis officers who responded to 911 calls across the city had completed training one year earlier than planned. This training helps officers better understand, communicate, and de-escalate when they respond to mental-health crisis calls.  

Mayor Hodges 2
Mayor Betsy Hodges

Governance

Super Bowl LII is coming to Minneapolis in 2018. How will you ensure that the multi-billion dollar event will benefit the most marginalized residents of Minneapolis, not just major corporations downtown?

Dehn: I have strong concerns about the ramifications of the Super Bowl including: heightened risk of sex trafficking, public safety, and infrastructure stressors with the influx of visitors. Additionally, I’m concerned the focus on providing a positive entertainment experience for attendees and visitors to our city will detract our focus from the most important challenge facing our city: remedying systemic inequity. Research is mixed on whether major sports events provide cities with profit from hosting the event. If we are successful in generating revenue from the event, I will create a budget where surplus revenue from Super Bowl LII is reallocated to affordable housing and investment in underserved communities.

Frey: I am hopeful that the Super Bowl can provide Minneapolis with an opportunity to direct a tourism windfall towards communities and businesses that are often overlooked. Promotion of the event must highlight everything that North Minneapolis, our Somali community, and other communities that don’t always receive their fair share of attention have to offer our visitors.

That being said, I also recognize that mega-events such as the Super Bowl pose challenges to cities’ most marginalized communities. In the past, the Super Bowl has been a major target for sex trafficking, and I want to work with the City Council and the police to make sure that we are taking preventive measures to combat that. I also strongly believe that the Super Bowl needs to be paying all of its workers a living wage, not asking for unpaid workers that they can classify as “volunteers.”

Hodges: The City’s costs for the Super Bowl will be paid for with private funds raised by the Host Committee, not by taxpayers. City Council members and I made sure that we have that commitment from them. The event and resulting influx of visitors will raise additional tax revenue for the city though. We can and will put that money to work advancing the strategic goals of the city: creating greater equity for our most vulnerable residents, creating opportunity for every resident of the city, and truly building one Minneapolis that welcomes and supports all our residents. Further, minority owned and small businesses will be receiving grants to support them during the Super Bowl.

In addition, The Legacy Fund is providing 52 grants to projects across Minnesota leading up to Super Bowl. Funds will go to projects promoting the health and well-being of children. The first grant was awarded to the Loppet Foundation to build the Trailhead building in Wirth Park to provide year-round access to outdoor activities. 

Gender and LGBTQ Justice

At the federal and state level, drastic cuts have been threatened to women’s health programs, protections for transgender community members have been rolled back, and the LGBTQ community is facing renewed attack. How would you as mayor stand up against these attacks on women and the LGBTQ community?

Dehn: First, I will work to protect the rights of women and the LGBTQ community by leading alongside them and working closely with individuals in these communities. As Mayor, I will lead using the recommendations from the Trans Equity Council and ensure mayoral appointments are representative of all identifies in our city. If protections are rolled back at the Federal and State level, I will work with the council to pass protections and fund services at the local level by leveraging my relationships at the Capitol to negotiate funding and intergovernmental solutions in order to advance gender justice. As a state representative and a citizen, I have fought for progress through all avenues for advocacy—via elections, legislation, and protest. I will fight alongside the LGBTQ community on the ballot, in city hall, and in the streets.

Frey: In a city as progressive as Minneapolis, you will be hard pressed to find a Democrat who doesn’t support LGBTQ rights. What sets us apart on this and other progressive issues is whether or not we lead proactively or whether we wait for the politics to demand action. During the campaign, I will use my platform as a candidate to call out homophobia or transphobia for what it is. As mayor, I will not be content to rest on our laurels and merely defend the rights that LGBTQ Minneapolitans already. Instead, I will continue pushing to expand that equity in areas such as LGBTQ-police relations, supplier procurement, and city health programs. I’ve done the real work to make sure discrimination is stopped in its path, from organizing the Big Gay Race to representing victims of mortgage fraud and foreclosure. I’ll do the hard work with you again to get results!  

Hodges: In this Trump era, it isn’t just equity for people of color, LGBTQ people, and women under attack, it’s equality and democracy itself. As Mayor, I’ve led for more than three years on equity and inclusive growth— often in the face of racism, sexism, and transphobia — because the growth and health of our city depends on our ability to embrace equity, and cherish each other’s full humanity.

I’ve led Minneapolis on equity by ensuring people of color and LGBTQ people are represented at all levels of decision-making; putting real dollars into investments; driving significant policy change; and using my office to lift up historically marginalized communities.

Especially in this time of fear and uncertainty, I’m honored to lead Minneapolis, which is leading the nation in building equity at the intersections of communities of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and others. We have done great work; I’m ready to do much more. 

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