Updated: 11/12/2013 10:46 AM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls
She will soon become only the second woman to ever lead the city of Minneapolis, and Betsy Hodges told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS what her top priorities are.
Mayor-elect Hodges says one of her top goals is to close "the achievement and economic gap between whites and people of color in Minneapolis." Hodges says one of the first things she will do when she takes over as mayor in January is to launch her "Cradle-to-K" education initiative.
The program will have its own "Mayoral Cabinet" and will attempt to expand the Healthy Start Program for low-income families, provide stable housing for young children and offer more daycare options as well. It was a cornerstone platform in her campaign.
Hodges tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she supports "transit-like light rail and other options because it helps promote development and can also help attract new businesses and jobs into Minneapolis, which is key to closing the economic gap between whites and minorities and can also help us attract new residents to the tax base."
Hodges says she hopes to add more than 100,000 new residents to Minneapolis while she is mayor.
Hodges also says she is looking forward to working with a city council that will have seven new members of its 13-member Council. Hodges says she supports a 1 percent cut in the city's tax levy for 2014 and is "committed to keeping property taxes down to keep people living in Minneapolis and to attract new people here."
Hodges says she has already started putting her staff together and is working on a transition plan with current Mayor R.T. Rybak. She says Mayor Rybak has been "tremendously supportive" of her plans and that he is working to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Hodges says she will be sworn into office Jan. 2 and will start working toward fulfilling her "ambitious agenda" right away.
Click here to watch an extended interview with Hodges.