Jobs & Economy


Ensuring Economic Vitality for Everyone in Minneapolis

Minneapolis has been a prosperous city, but too many of our residents don’t ever have the opportunity to share in that prosperity. Tom believes that it is our greatest embarrassment that Minneapolis has the largest disparities in America between white residents and people of color. Our elected leaders campaigned on an “equity agenda” four years ago, but progress has been slow if not non-existent. We need a change in leadership so that we can get real results.

We can build the future we want or we can simply wait for the future we get. During this campaign we have been inspired to see what other cities are doing in very smart ways to bring business and jobs for all to their cities. 

Tom supports the following policies to ensure our long-term prosperity:


Minneapolis needs a plan for our future prosperity—instead of just relying on our legacy Fortune 500 companies to keep us prosperous in the future. Minneapolis could be doing so much more to support start-ups and its small business entrepreneurs. The city could also do more to target and attract established businesses that would benefit from the business resources we have here in Food & Agriculture, Health & Wellness, and Arts & Culture, to name a few. 

Here are my plans for creating our future by supporting new & small businesses:   

  1. Re-imagine the City’s Community Planning & Economic Development (CPED) organization. Starting with the 2018 Business Plan, require specific planning targets and track the organization’s progress on a quarterly basis.  Reform the Economic Development area to focus on attracting new businesses in Food, Health & Wellness, and Arts, Culture & the Creative Class to Minneapolis with specific recruitment targets.  Expand to other business sectors as appropriate.
  2. Establish ward-specific private sector job goals — working with each ward councilperson and neighborhood representatives -- for our neighborhood commercial centers where 50% of our city employment works.

  3. Streamline the city regulatory process and make it more entrepreneur-friendly to reduce the time from idea to market. Set specific timelines and approval goals with quarterly reporting on performance vs. plan.

  4. Champion and help expand established small business initiatives like the Twin Cities Start-Up Week, Minnesota Cup and Minneapolis-based entrepreneurial conferences like Expo West. Champion the goal of bringing together entrepreneurs, venture capital, retailers and other members of the new business eco system to develop the nation’s leading program for start-ups and new businesses.

  5. Work with established entrepreneurs like the Food Building and others to ensure that our new and small businesses get an opportunity for placement in all city-owned operations and use our city influence to create new retail opportunities with city partners for start-ups and small businesses.  


One of the biggest barriers to economic success in communities of color is access to capital. Tom believes we should identify new ways to provide budding entrepreneurs with the resources they need to be successful. This means expanding training programs and business planning support. It also means expanding micro-financing programs that put real money in the hands of small business owners.


Hennepin County has blazed a trail with its Pathways program. This program combined forward- thinking job training programs and paid internships with the needs faced by a coming wave of retirements. It also re-evaluated the job requirements for all positions in county government. By eliminating onerous and unnecessary certifications and education requirements, they were able to open the door to a large pool of new applicants. Tom believes that this is precisely the kind of program that Minneapolis should be pursuing.


Why should you choose Tom on jobs?

Tom built the non-profit Hennepin Theatre Trust from the ground up. This organization has developed cutting-edge arts programs across the state, serving as a cornerstone of Minneapolis’ arts and culture scene. The Trust also owns and manages the State, Orpheum and Pantages theatres. Because of Tom’s vision, these theatres now bring over 450,000 people downtown each year, creating and supporting hundreds of local jobs. While working with the Minneapolis Community Development Agency, Tom oversaw the restoration of the State Theatre, a watershed event for historic preservation in our community. At a time when the city was tearing down most of our cultural landmarks, the State Theatre stands as a stark reminder of what we could have lost.