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Betsy Hodges to be sworn in as Minneapolis mayor Thursday

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The Betsy Hodges era as mayor of Minneapolis officially begins Thursday when the former city council member takes her oath of office, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Hodges is taking over the position after Mayor R.T. Rybak finished out his third term Wednesday. After she's sworn in, Hodges will become the 47th mayor of the city.

Hodges, who served two city council terms and chaired the city's Ways & Means/Budget Committee, will take her oath in Northeast Minneapolis at the Thorp Building, MPR says.

The new Democratic mayor's inauguration Thursday is geared toward children and will feature family-friendly attractions. Hodges will also take part in another inauguration ceremony Monday when the city's new council members are sworn in.

Another inauguration party, which is free and open to the public, is set for Jan. 11.

Hodges on Thursday will also embark on a 10-day "One Day" tour of Minneapolis, the Southwest Journal reports.

The tour will feature a different theme every day.

The new mayor ran for office on an agenda that stressed fiscal responsibility. She also pledged an initiative to close the economic gap between minority and white residents in Minneapolis, MPR said.

Rybak's last act as mayor came Monday when he announced the new 7th Street entrance into downtown, the Star Tribune said. The 7th Street entrance will replace the 5th Street entrance, which will be redesigned as a new pedestrian gateway to the city from the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.

The new walkway will be named after the late Hussein Samatar, the first Somali-American to hold public office in Minnesota.

Hodges joined Rybak on his last day of mayor Wednesday in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, surveying the aftermath of an explosion and fire that destroyed a building that housed a grocery store and apartments. Fourteen people were injured, some critically, in the mishap.

While on the scene, Hodges called the incident “a tragic morning for the city of Minneapolis.”

Meanwhile, in St. Paul, Mayor Chris Coleman will be sworn in for a third term Thursday, the Star Tribune reports.

The Southwest Journal says Coleman and U.S. Rep Keith Ellison will be in attendance when Hodges takes her oath of office Thursday.

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