State of the city: Hodges says leaving 'genius' on the table not an option


The theme in Hodges' second state of the city speech? Ensuring people who can do great things, have the opportunity to do them. Or, as she put it frequently, making sure we don't "leave genius on the table."

How exactly?

By nurturing the city's youngest children, and uplifting young adults of color.

In a speech entitled "We Can't Do This Without You," Hodges said she wants to make sure "the genius of our young people is valued" and asked adults to "make a personal commitment to help kids succeed" from the moment they're born.

"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 a responsible for our children and their futures — all of our children, each and every one," she said.

But there was particular focus on young men of color, aged between 18 to 24, who she described as "some of the most vulnerable people in Minneapolis," noting that while Minneapolis is famous for social and economic mobility, "the mobility becomes very limited" when looking solely at people of color.

She referenced the city's involvement in President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Challenge, a cradle-to-college initiative that Hodges said also helps make sure young men of color have educational opportunities and support.

Hodges used the speech to announce new projects and update on ongoing initiatives, among them being the creation of the city's first zero-waste plan to boost recycling, and the launch of the Minneapolis Climate Champs Challenge, which seeks new ways in which people can reduce the city's emissions.

Other key points

On transgender people: "Everyone in our city can learn from the courage that our transgender friends display every day."

On transportation: "To build the transit system that we need, we need new revenue. Minneapolis transit riders are by far Metro Transit’s best customers, because they generate more revenue per mile than anywhere else in the region. They must not be overlooked, underserved or passed by."

On wages: "[We need] renewed faith in, energy for, and support behind collective bargaining." Also need for a "broad-based minimum-wage increase – ideally national, but also statewide or regional – that goes beyond setting the floor for poverty to raising the ceiling on prosperity."

On working families: Putting forward three-weeks of paid parental leave for city employees who are new parents. She is championing a "Minneapolis Working Families Agenda, with focuses on wage theft, earned paid sick time, and ensuring hourly employees know ahead of time if they have had their shift cancelled.

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