By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minneapolis City Council has a new president: Andrea Jenkins.

The Ward 8 councilmember was elected to the post Monday after city leaders were inaugurated into office. The position was left open by former president Lisa Bender, who decided not to run in last November’s election. Jenkins previously served as the council’s vice president.

Jenkins, who represents a central area of south Minneapolis, made history in 2017 when she became the first Black openly-transgender woman elected to office in the United States. She was re-elected last year in a landslide.

“It’s an incredible honor, I am really deeply humbled,” Jenkins told WCCO Monday.

She represents the ward where Floyd was murdered. In 2020, Jenkins was one of the city council members who pledged to defund the Minneapolis Police Department. She also supported the ballot initiative last November that would have replaced the police department with a new Department of Public Safety. That initiative failed, and a number of other council members who supported it lost their seats in the election. Jenkins also has a history of working with all sides.

Andrea Jenkins (credit: CBS)

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“I really believe that we have an opportunity to turn things around, and I am thrilled to be in a roll … to help shape and drive that,” she said.

The Human Rights Campaign congratulated Jenkins on being elected president of the Minneapolis City Council.

“The whole of Minneapolis will benefit from the leadership that Councilor Jenkins has delivered since she was first elected in 2017,” said Human Rights Campaign senior vice president of policy and political affairs JoDee Winterhof, in a statement. “Councilor Jenkins’s reputation as a tireless advocate, her dedication to public service, and her efficacy in fighting on behalf of those on the margins of society have been recognized and reaffirmed by her peers on the council. We look forward to continuing to work with City Council President Jenkins in the years to come.”

While Jenkins has supported efforts to fundamentally change policing in Minneapolis, she also worked with Mayor Jacob Frey and community groups on plans to reintegrate George Floyd Square back into the fabric of south Minneapolis, in the area she represents.