By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Five candidates for Minneapolis mayor squared off Monday in a debate at Minnesota Public Radio.

State Rep. Raymond Dehn, Council Member Jacob Frey, Tom Hoch, Mayor Betsy Hodges, and Nekima Levy-Pounds debated issues ranging from affordable housing to education to the Minneapolis Police Department.

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The election is a week from Tuesday.

This is a ranked choice election, voters will be asked for their first, second and third choice — and that may account for the few direct attacks by the candidates on one another.

However, Frey did disparage the current mayor, but not by name.

“Over the past several years, we have had a 200 percent uptick in violent crimes,” he said. “Specifically, we have had some of the worst police community relations in a long time.”

Hodges, the current mayor, made her case by citing progressive policy accomplishments.

“We now have minimum wage and earned sick and safe time in Minneapolis,” she said.

Levy-Pounds, an attorney and civil rights activist, repeatedly hammered on ending the socio-economic divide between whites and people of color.

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“I am tired of reading studies that show we are at the bottom when it comes to quality of life for people of color,” she said.

Hoch, an attorney, said he wants to see a neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach to policing and public safety.

“Our job is to make sure we are working with neighborhoods to make sure those outcomes are met,” he said.

Dehn, a state lawmaker representing Minneapolis’ north side, called for more affordable housing units to be built.

“Right now the rental market its out of control,” he said.

None of the candidates would name who they would like their supporters to back as second or third place choices, but Hodges did single out opponents Dehn and Levy-Pounds for their contributions to the campaign debates.

There are actually 16 candidates running for mayor.

In a press release, MPR said they chose these five to participate in their debate based on “the financial strengths of their campaigns.”

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A complete candidate list can be found here.

Esme Murphy