Minneapolis Mayor Candidates Debate Days Before Election

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis residents should find out this week who the next mayor will be.

City elections for Minneapolis and St. Paul are on Tuesday.

On Sunday, north Minneapolis-based radio station KMOJ and the group Black Votes Matter  hosted a radio debate for six of the candidates. They talked about a range of issues from affordable housing to education and promoting the growth of minority-owned businesses.

Before they face off Tuesday, these candidates are facing each other. Sharing a small table and a broad range of opinions.

Lorna Pettis works with KMOJ.

“Basically that was my idea was to get this out there, get them in a room, have them give their last ditch effort so to speak,” Pettis said.

So her fellow KMOJ staffers and Black Votes Matter Minnesota hosted the debate.

“We are starting to experience the 50s and 60s all over again so it’s important to me that everybody have housing. It’s important to me that everybody is treated fairly and equally,” Pettis said.

Candidates answered questions about education in a city with a huge achievement gap between races.

Candidate Tom Hoch says he plans to focus on early childhood education.

“If you are not successful in Kindergarten, it’s a long road to 12th grade and we want to make sure we do everything we can to get off on the right foot,” Hoch said.

“I think it’s also important to not be too cozy with Minneapolis Public Schools, but there would be a time when I would need to challenge them on behalf of parents or students of color in particular, or students who have disabilities or students who speak English as a second language,” Candidate Nekima Levy-Pounds said.

“So as Mayor, having those conversations where we talk about those things and we engage people and you know with a $23 or a $30 million budget, what can the city do to work with the public schools to lessen the impact,” Candidate Raymond Dehn said.

“Using the resources I have as Mayor to bring other parties to the table on behalf of our students, whether it’s for workforce or whether it’s for early childhood [education],” Current Mayor Betsy Hodges said.

Candidates also talked about affordable housing and how to make Minneapolis a better place for people of color. Candidate Jacob Frey said, “We need to be going out affirmatively into communities, to diverse communities to make sure that the policies that are passed over at City Hall are not just accessible to everyone, but are representative of every city.”

“I’m looking at the people who is struggling for economic development to create development and that’s my fight, my fight is against the establishment,” Candidate Al Flowers said.

Six points of view, and one job to fill.

More from Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
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