“I did make my offering to Athena about 20 minutes ago, so everything about this speech is going to go just fine,” began Mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges ’91, who addressed a crowd in Thomas Great Hall on Thursday night.
Since becoming the mayor of Minneapolis in January 2014, Hodges and her administration have emphasized economic and educational equality, municipal management efficiency, and infrastructure investment. Her speech, “Building a 21st Century City: Transformation and Inclusive Growth,” dove deeper into these issues and highlighted how Minneapolis is working to improve equity among all its citizens.
“The city of Minneapolis has the biggest gaps between white people and people of color of any city in the country in almost any measurement you care to name: employment, education, housing, incarceration, health.” Hodges says “Those things, more than anything, are going to hold us back from our best and brightest future and the best possibilities for ourselves.”
Hodges went on to describe the four “tool sets” she and her administration are focusing on to create a better Minneapolis: education, workforce, economic development (in particular, transit), and incarceration and criminal justice.
“My philosophy is about investing public dollars in the public good,” she says. “I don’t pay people to come build their businesses in my city. What I do is build a city that people want to build their businesses in.”
Raised in Minnesota, Hodges graduated from Bryn Mawr with degrees in psychology and sociology and earned a master's in sociology at the University of Wisconsin. She was elected to city council in 2006, reelected in 2009, and won the Minneapolis mayoral election in 2013.