Mayor Hodges’ State of the City: “We can’t do this without you, Minneapolis”
Mayor says to meet our challenges, we can’t leave any genius on the table
April 2, 2015 (MINNEAPOLIS) — In her annual State of the City address, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges today made the case that every person has a role to play, a contribution to make, or a gift to give in service of creating One Minneapolis. She invited everyone to fit into the picture.
“We have the strength we need to address our biggest challenges: climate change, workforce, public safety, community trust, equity, to name some of them. To meet those challenges successfully, we are going to need our greatest strength: our people and every bit of talent and every ounce of genius we have got. All of that genius is right here, ready to build our economic future, and our city’s future. The question before us is: how much of that genius are we going to leave on the table?”
Mayor Hodges delivered her speech, entitled “We can’t do this without you, Minneapolis” at the American Swedish Institute (ASI). She said ASI’s vision to be a gathering place for all people, helping swap stories of immigration among people of Swedish, African, Latino, and Asian descent is an example of how they are bringing genius to the table from every community. Mayor Hodges spoke at length about making sure that the genius of our young people is valued and brought to the table. This starts with the nurturing of our youngest children, which is the work of her Cradle to K cabinet, whose final recommendations are ready to be implemented. It continues with a special focus on 18- to 24-year old young men of color, some of the most vulnerable people in Minneapolis and among the youth that are the focus of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Challenge, in which Mayor Hodges and Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman are active participants. Mayor Hodges praised new and ongoing work to keep these youth out of the criminal justice system and connect them to opportunities in the 21st-century workforce, but added that “We need our kids to be more than workforce-ready. We need kids who are ready to build One Minneapolis.” She also invited people to lift up success stories of young men of color and submit them on her website.
“Today, I am calling all of us to act on behalf of our children. For us to succeed as a community, each of us has to know and act on the truth that we are all responsible for our children and their futures — all of our children, each and every one,” she added.
In her speech, Mayor Hodges announced a number of new or ongoing initiatives focused on the future of our community, including:
- Minneapolis Working Families Agenda. Mayor Hodges highlighted that the gap between low- and middle-income workers and the highest-paid people is the widest it’s been in nearly a century. She argued we must do something to address the growing income inequality to build the workplace of the future. The Minneapolis Working Families Agenda will address three key issues workers are facing: fair scheduling, wage theft, and earned sick and safe leave.
- Graduation coaches. Citing the need to ensure our young people are ready to lead, Mayor Hodges asked all adults to make a personal commitment to help kids succeed. She asked people to consider being a graduation coach to mentor a Minneapolis public high school student through Achieve Minneapolis.
- Zero-Waste Minneapolis Policy Workgroup.In an effort to help those who live and work in Minneapolis recycle more and throw away less, Mayor Hodges announced a policy workgroup has begun the process for creating the City’s zero-waste plan. The year-long planning process to move Minneapolis toward zero-waste will be driven by Mayor Hodges and Council Members Kevin Reich, Cam Gordon, Linea Palmisano and Alondra Cano.
- Minneapolis Climate Champs Challenge.As part of her invitation to everyone to find their way to stop the progress of climate change, Mayor Hodges announced the launch of Minneapolis Climate Champs Challenge. Each month for the next year, Mayor Hodges will invite everyone to join her in taking on the challenge of new behaviors and habits. Each month suggestions and resources will be shared around a theme, and the mayor will share her own experiences with the challenges on social media.
- Minneapolis: Business Made Simple Recommendations.Last year, in her 2014 State of the City address, Mayor Hodges announced a new initiative aimed at streamlining and simplifying the process for business owners looking to invest in Minneapolis. She asked City Attorney Susan Segal to take a close look at all of the City’s business regulations to find ways to make Minneapolis even better for businesses to start and grow. Since then, Mayor Hodges and Segal met with business owners from all across the City to listen to their stories. In Thursday’s speech, Mayor Hodges announced Segal has put forth her initial recommendations and will be working with a number of partners to move forward with implementing those strategies.
Mayor Hodges also singled out for praise the work of the City’s Transgender Issues Work Group and last year’s first-ever Trans Summit. She called on everyone to “learn from the courage that our transgender friends display every day,” and addressed Minneapolis’ transgender community directly by saying, “all of us need to be in the picture of this city for us to succeed, including and especially you.”
Mayor Hodges concluded the State of the City address with:
“Our common future depends on our ability to sustain a strong economy and strong community. Our common future depends on having a population that is healthy, housed, educated, and contributing to the economy. Our common future depends on no life outcomes being determined by race, class, or zip code. Our common future depends on all of our genius being on the table.
“Because we can’t do this without you, Minneapolis. Everyone must be in this picture or we will not be One Minneapolis.
“Knowing that, the answer to today’s question is an easy one for all of us. How much genius do we want to leave on the table? How much are we willing to sacrifice our future prosperity because we struggle to muster the courage to head into a future that is thus far uncharted? None. None at all.”
Published Apr 2, 2015