Race for Minneapolis mayor: Here's what the 6 candidates are standing for

Six candidates faced off in a mayoral forum Wednesday – here's what they're standing for and what they said.
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Six candidates standing for election as Minneapolis mayor faced off Wednesday night in the first forum of the year.

The six spoke before a crowd of around 200 people at the Calvary Baptist Church in south Minneapolis, and used the forum to lay out their vision for the city. Here's a look at who's running and what they're standing for.

Betsy Hodges

Her background: The incumbent fighting to retain the mayoral office to which she was elected in 2013. Previously, the DFLer represented Ward 13 on Minneapolis City Council.

What she's standing for: She said she ran four years ago on a platform of equity, growth and running the city well. This will continue, she says, even in the face of what she considers a new threat to cities – the election of President Donald Trump.

What she said: "They are coming after cities and those living in them, after our immigrant neighbors, our trans youth and our low-income people. We have to decide: Did we mean it four years ago that we want 'One Minneapolis'? Did we want to come together as a community."

Tom Hoch

His background: A former chairman of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, he has played a major role in the Minneapolis arts community as the founder and long-time head of the Hennepin Theater Trust.

What he's standing for: Ensuring the city grows more economically and becomes a destination. He believes Minneapolis is losing momentum compared to cities such as Indianapolis, Austin and Boulder.

What he said: "I can't tell you how many times people have said to me, 'Where's our SXSW?' And while not perfect, have you seen how that has grown and what that's doing for the city of Austin? We can have what we want here and we can grow the economy and grow opportunities for everyone."

Aswar Rahman

His background: A filmmaker and entrepreneur, the 23-year-old first-generation American born in Bangladesh whose announcement about running for mayor was unusual, to say the least. Check out CityPages for more.

What he's standing for: He said the city budget is filled with waste and he wants to get that under control, so he can in turn make rent more affordable and reduce property taxes, otherwise the city faces becoming wholly gentrified.

What he said: "The Minneapolis mayor has two responsibilities: the police and the budget. Those are exactly two places where Minneapolis has underperformed over the past three years."

Nekima Levy-Pounds

Her background: A well-known activist in the city and a civil rights lawyer, she is also the former president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP.

What she's standing for: She thinks it's about time people stop talking about racial equity in Minneapolis (where racial income disparities are among the highest in the nation) and start doing something about it. She says people want to bring an end to the status quo and there's a desire for change.

What she said: "I believe I can help you share in the change that will transform our city and make it a national leader in equity and justice for all."

Jacob Frey

His background: A native of northern Virginia, he moved to Minneapolis after finishing law school and in 2013 was elected to represent the 3rd ward of Minneapolis City Council.

What he's standing for: He has a vision of Minneapolis being a "world class" city and has set goals including ending homelessness within five years, boosting the amount of affordable housing and becoming the "greenest city in the country."

What he said: "Right now more than ever we need a visible and present mayor, someone who's willing to lead ... someone who gets results, not rhetoric, not lip service, but results."

Raymond Dehn

His background: He is the Minnesota state representative for District 59B, to which he was elected in 2012. He describes himself as a "fourth generation northsider" having grown up in Brooklyn Park.

What he's standing for: He wants to create a "truly progressive Minneapolis" not just in the short term but in the long term, describing Minneapolis as stumbling from "crisis to crisis." He highlights that while Minneapolis is at the top of many national rankings, it's not when it comes to racial and income disparities.

What he said: "It's really my vision that creates a cornerstone around equity. To me equity is about access. Marginalized communities should have the same access that communities that aren't marginalized have."

You can watch the full forum below, courtesy of The Uptake (it starts around 36-37 minutes in).

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