Lisa Bender, Minneapolis City Council president, will not seek reelection

She was a major force in the "dismantle the police" movement.
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The president of the Minneapolis City Council (MCC) won't be running for another term. 

On Sunday, Lisa Bender, who represents the city's 10th Ward and has served as council president since 2018, announced that she will not seek reelection next year. 

While Bender's announcement doesn't specify a reason for her exit from local politics, it does say that the decision was made "well before multiple crises hit our city" this year. 

She goes on to list her accomplishments — including the passing of "Minnesota's first earned safe and sick time" policies as well as $15 minimum wage laws, among others — and expressed gratitude to her supporters, volunteers and colleagues. 

It was during the aforementioned crises that Bender gained national attention, with her controversial efforts to dismantle the police force following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin. 

She was calling for demilitarizing the police, shifting funding to other departments and removing the police department from the city's charter (which currently requires the council to provide a police force of 0.0017 officers per resident of the city), all with the ultimate goal of disbanding the force in favor of other approaches. 

However, a lack of details or fully formed plans hampered the effort, resulting in a backlash from both lawmakers around the state and the general public. 

Such changes would have likely required a city-wide public vote, but a City Council commission ultimately decided, in a 10-5 vote, to delay putting the matter on the ballot this year (though it's possible it may appear again in 2021).

At the time, Bender responded that the vote was "disappointing," as it "creates barriers to change but it will not stop our work to re-imagine public safety in Minneapolis."

"Our work always was and remains multi-pronged, including a 911 workgroup, MPD staffing study, investment in violence prevention and more."

Bender, currently in her second term, has been on the council since 2014. Her fellow council members unanimously elected her to serve as the body's president. 

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