Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and new city council members took their oaths of office Monday at a public ceremony in City Hall.
The new mayor spoke during his inaugural address about his priorities for the city and offered a hopeful outlook for the future. University of Minnesota-area council members Steve Fletcher and Cam Gordon were also sworn in during the ceremony.
“The very first challenge we are addressing head-on is expanding access to affordable housing throughout our city,” Frey said. “Our city stands on an intentional history of segregation.”
The former Ward 3 council member defeated a field of mayoral candidates in November that included former mayor Betsy Hodges and state Rep. Raymond Dehn, DFL-Minneapolis.
In his inaugural speech, Frey discussed issues like racial inequality and police-community relations.
Frey explained that past maps in City Hall identified north Minneapolis as a “slum” for black and Jewish communities.
“It’s that kind of intentional segregation that divides communities and ideas,” he said. “It is that kind of intentional segregation that restrains our economic growth, prevents inclusion and hinders the exchange of ideas necessary for our modern day stories.”
Frey also commended new Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, and expressed his eagerness to work with him in addressing the issues facing community policing and trust.
“Events of the last several years have tested our city in ways that are new to some neighborhoods, but are all too familiar to others,” Frey said. “As a former civil rights attorney, I know that allowing a system of racial injustice to remain in place damages our shared sense of humanity.”
Frey pledged to use his new position to craft policies aimed at mending the relationship between police and residents.
Newly sworn-in St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter attended the Minneapolis ceremony, and Frey led the audience in singing happy birthday to the new mayor.
“The future is bright, and the future is ours,” Frey said to close out his address.
Minneapolis City Council members also took oaths of office during the ceremony.
Ward 3 City Council Member Steve Fletcher, who won Frey’s vacated seat in November, said he was happy to see the community support the new mayor and council members at the event.
Like Frey, Fletcher said affordable housing is one of his top priorities. He added that he is excited to see what the new mayor and council can accomplish together over the next term.
Ward 2 City Council Member Cam Gordon, who won his fourth term on the council while running unopposed, said he’s optimistic about city officials’ prioritization of affordable housing. He said he hopes to see the issue addressed in his ward, specifically near the University of Minnesota.
“Right around the University, [with] the high cost of living… it seems that investors are really counting on students and others to maximize it so they can make profits,” Gordon said. “It’s really something that [we've] got to get a handle on, and it’s tough because when government is taking on the market there is always a challenge, but that’s the role the government is supposed to play.”
Dehn, who finished second to Frey in the mayoral race, said he expects the Legislature to work alongside the City to ensure the people of Minneapolis are served.
“You don’t always succeed at everything you set out to,” Dehn said, reflecting on the mayoral race. “It was a little tough to be here, but I needed to be here because I care about this city, and there is work to be done.”
Dehn said he plans to help the mayor by giving the City legislative resources to combat the lack of affordable housing.
The council also elected new leadership on Monday, appointing Ward 10 City Council Member Lisa Bender as its new president. Newly-elected Ward 8 City Council Member Andrea Jenkins, the first black transgender woman elected to public office, was elected as the council’s vice president.