ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s swearing in ceremony had the feel campaign rally.
The event took place Tuesday at St. Paul’s Central High School, from which the new mayor graduated 20 years ago. Back then, he was voted “most likely to succeed.”
The 39-year-old was sworn in on a family Bible surrounded by his wife and their five children.
His speech was, in part, a tribute to his own family’s rise.
“My love for St. Paul goes back 100 years, when my own great-grandparents fled here to escape the violence and hatred of the Deep South,” he said.
It was also a call to action.
“St. Paul is a city of momentum, but we are also a city of deep inequity,” he said.
Carter blasted the national culture ingrained in racism, citing the little used third stanza of the Star Spangled banner.
“Our national anthem, our national freedom song, is an ode to slavery,” he said.
He said his immediate priorities include a review with St. Paul police of their deadly force policy, as well as raising the city’s the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Another initiative is for St. Paul’s youngest residents.
“I will propose a partnership between business, philanthropy and nonprofits to start every child born in St. Paul with $50 in a college savings account,” he said.
The mayor repeatedly noted he was back at his old high school, saying he said he could never have imagined this moment.
“As we decided where to put this celebration, it became really clear very early this was the only place to do it,” he said.
Carter’s prominence as a statewide figure was evident by the many dignitaries at the swearing in, including Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz,
Also present were Congresswoman Betty McCollum and St. Paul’s former Mayor and gubernatorial candidate, Chris Coleman.