Minneapolis Mayor Frey, council members start new terms

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Monday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey gave his second inaugural address as he and the city’s new council members start their new terms.

The mayor says he has a lot on his agenda to tackle in 2022.

Monday’s ceremony began with an emotional reminder of what Minneapolis has faced in the last four years, including George Floyd’s death, civil unrest that destroyed parts of the city, and violent crimes hitting record highs.

“The murder of George Floyd and the global racial reckoning that followed after rocked our city to the core and we have all been forever changed,” Frey said. “It is on us as leaders to hold in our hearts the weight of this chapter in our history.”

Frey told council members during the ceremony that the city is counting on them as a team to work together and get to work, stating that everyone in the city has a right to feel safe.

During a one-on-one interview with Frey, the mayor told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he does have a plan to crack down on crime, which includes an adjustment in public safety.

That means using mental health advisors during emergencies, social workers and EMTs when police aren’t necessarily needed.

Frey said this also means preventing crime with better community policing, hiring more police and keeping those officers accountable.

“Minneapolis police officers need to get paid more and they also need to get fired more,” Frey said. “Paid more so that we are incentivizing the best possible community-oriented officers to sign up for a very difficult job and then fired more when they are not living up to the standards we’re insisting upon—then they are out.”

During the interview with Frey, he mentioned he’d like to see the devastating damage to Minneapolis during the civil unrest to be rebuilt by the end of 2022.

The mayor also doubled down during the ceremony Monday morning to bring more affordable housing to the city.

Frey says he’s instructed his staff to begin plans using city resources to build additional affordable housing in 2022.

Other commitments worth mentioning: Frey says he’d like to see Minneapolis continue efforts on going green with goals of ridding the use of fossil fuels by 2030. Frey also says the city has just now started the nationwide search for a new police chief for Minneapolis.

Meanwhile, the city council elected Andrea Jenkins as the next council president, by a vote of 13-0, and Linea Palmisano as the next vice president, by a vote of 8-5.

“I’m deeply moved and emotional right now,” Jenkins said right after being elected council president.

It’s a historic role, as the first openly transgender, Black woman elected to a high level of leadership in the state of Minnesota.

Jenkins challenged her colleagues to not forget the diverse communities they represent when debating issues at City Hall.

“I learned not to burn bridges because you never know when you will need to cross that way again, and sometimes the bridges do crumble on their own, we must work to rebuild them when they do,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins told the new council to focus on dignity, integrity and love as they make tough choices ahead on issues including public safety, transportation and housing.