Tom Hoch's 2017 Minneapolis DFL Convention Speech

Good morning DFLers!

I’m Tom Hoch and I want to be your mayor. This is an exciting day, and we’re going to do great things together.

I love this city. I know you do too. That’s why you’re here. It’s people like you – the people in this room – who urged me to run for mayor. I’ve never run for office. I’m not a politician. But I just couldn’t sit on the sidelines. I’ve spoken with most of you. And if I haven’t been able to reach you, you probably have messages from me. And this is what you’ve told me:

Every four years a group of politicians speak from this stage. They promise to lift up everyone and then we watch as they fail to deliver, claiming they need "more time."

They fail to deliver on affordable housing. I was your deputy director of Public Housing. I brought $100 million to our city to address racial discrimination on the North side. With it, we funded a large-scale housing choice program.

I also fought to change the law so we could develop housing dedicated to low income seniors. We wanted them to be able to live in dignity and peace.

And that’s a fight we won.

I didn’t just move here. I was born and raised in Minneapolis, the 5th of 11 children. I’ve lived in the 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th wards of our city. I’ve even lived in the 3rd Ward and was chair of my neighborhood association: St. Anthony East.

I went to Minneapolis Public Schools, and graduated from Washburn. I’ve taught 4th through 6th grade for Minneapolis Public Schools. You’ve told me you like seeing a former teacher run for mayor -- someone who understands what kids need to be successful.

Our mayor needs to do everything they can every day to make sure our kids arrive at school ready to learn. I founded Hennepin Theatre Trust, and for years was its leader. I worked alongside Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton to save our historic theatres and revitalize Hennepin Avenue. Today, nearly 500,000 people visit those theatres every year. Buying tickets. Enjoying dinner before the show. Creating and supporting hundreds of jobs. I was the guy making payroll and signing those paychecks. I’ve heard from so many of you that you love what our historic theaters have done for our city.

I’ve also heard from a number of you that you’re looking for a new leader and a new vision. You told me that you like my experience. Getting things done. Making things happen.

You told me that you liked that my recent television ad began with the words “My husband, Tom Hoch, is running for mayor of Minneapolis.”

We worked hard to make Minneapolis – and Minnesota – a place where my husband, Mark, and I could make that statement. Because love is love.

And Minneapolis is a progressive city!

Minnesota is still -- still -- a progressive, non-Trump state! And many of you told me you think it would be great to see Minneapolis elect its first gay mayor. I’m a guy with big ideas – with a vision for how great Minneapolis can be. You told me you like all of that.

But I’ve heard some of you ask, "Can he win?" There’s an incumbent. There’s an ambitious city council member. So let’s talk about that for a moment.

I’ve worked with elected officials in this city for a long time. I’m tired of half measures and political expediency. I hope you’ll look at my experience and what I can bring to this office. I hope you’ll say… “you know, I like this guy. He’s going to get things done.”

Because I know how this city works. I also know where it doesn’t work. And we need to stand up and say good enough is just not good enough anymore. I’m not thinking about the next office. This is not a stepping stone for me. I just want to make Minneapolis the best place it can be for everyone.

Now If we’re honest, there are a number of things that could be going better in this city. Far too many people are struggling in our community. We still have the biggest gaps in academic achievement and economic opportunity between our white residents and our residents of color.

Too many people think twice about walking in their neighborhood at night, and too many people fear calling the police for help. No one should lose a child to a stray bullet. A broken tail light should never be a death sentence.

And it shouldn’t take the occupation of a police precinct to get real change. Only 1% of our city’s budget goes to providing affordable housing for our residents. Our public housing authority has been chronically underfunded, facing a shortfall of $127 million to maintain homes for seniors, people with disabilities, and our poorest residents.

Minneapolis should be leading by example! We’re a progressive city. We’re a city ready to embrace our diversity. Yes Minneapolis is a great place to live. But we know it can be better. And it starts at the top. It starts with vision and leadership. It starts with a mayor and a council who get things done.

My campaign is about three things: Leadership, integrity, and service. Leadership to confront the challenges we face. Bringing people together. Working with our police, our fire fighters, and all the people who make our city go. Working to create more affordable housing. Working to support student readiness and achievement. Working with our businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs for everyone. Completing projects on time. And, working with other mayors, the state and federal government to make sure Minneapolis gets what it needs to succeed!

Integrity – because we need a leader we can be proud of. You can count on me to be present and accessible to you, and to seek out and actually listen to your input. You can count on me to always tell the truth. Always. And finally, service. Because this isn’t about me. My goal is to serve the people of Minneapolis. My whole purpose in running for mayor is to serve all of you as best as I possibly can. You see, I just want to be your mayor 24/7 making things happen. Great things that will make Minneapolis better and stronger -- an even greater place to live.

You want this too. That’s why you’re here. You want to make our city better. You want to pick the best possible candidate – even if he’s not a politician.Because that kind of leadership, that level of integrity, that commitment to service is a winning proposition. And together we will win!

Thank you for being here today. I hope to earn your endorsement. And I hope to earn your vote.