Tom Hoch for Mayor Team

“I am thrilled to be assembling a team of talented and experienced professionals.  These are individuals who will enable me to showcase my long history of accomplishments in making Minneapolis an even better place for all of us to live, to work and to play,” said Hoch. “Our staff knows what it will take to win this race and they bring the expertise necessary to get the job done.”

Kieran McCarney will serve as the campaign manager. McCarney brings a wealth of experience managing state and federal level campaigns. McCarney served most recently as the Early Vote andGet Out the Vote Director for the Minnesota State DFL during the 2016 election cycle. He worked previously as the campaign manager for Brad Ashford’s congressional campaign in Nebraska’s second district and as Communications Director for the Nebraska State AFL-CIO.

Mark Warren has been brought on to run Hoch’s finance operation. Warren brings more than two decades of fundraising experience to the campaign, with demonstrated success at campaigns of every level. Warren has managed the operations for dozens of municipal, state, and congressional races in more than 15 states and served as the Director of Candidate Services for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Most recently, Warren managed Debbie Goettel’s successful race for Hennepin County Commissioner.

Tyler Allen will direct all field and organizing activities for Hoch. Allen worked as a Regional Delegations Director for the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016, organizing delegates and platform activities in 8 states. He also worked as a regional field director for Sanders and directed the field program for Charlene Albarran’s congressional race in Utah’s second district.

Tom Hoch
The Detroit Promise Initiative and what it could mean for Minneapolis!
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Today the Mayor of Detroit and the Kellogg Foundation announced a major grant to Detroit Promise, an initiative to help high school graduates attend college tuition free.  This is an example of a Mayor and City that are stepping up to find innovative ways to reward their citizens and tangibly improve the lives of their citizens.

We have been watching how Detroit tracks their high school graduation rates as well as the number of students matriculating to college. And how they communicate through one click, digital (and visual) dashboards that instantly track how they are doing. 

What if the Mayor of Minneapolis partnered with the Minneapolis School Board and the greater community on an effort to help our students take the important step of advanced training and education at the community college and 4-year college level?   How might we partner with another important community member, the University of St. Thomas, on their recently announced 2-year associate degree program?  

This is one way to turn residency in Minneapolis into an advantage for all of our citizens by offering a Minneapolis program that helps advance our next generation. 

 

 

Tom Hoch
Raise the Rainbow Flag: Where Are Our LGBT Rights?

Last week, Gilbert Baker, an artist and designer, died in NYC. Baker is best known for creating the Rainbow Flag, one of the enduring symbols of the LGBT movement.

Gilbert Baker created the original 8 color flag for the June 1978 Pride Parade in San Francisco. He made his first flags by hand with friends and never tried to trademark the design but gave it freely to all of us.

Gilbert Baker reclaimed the American flag and the implied promise of freedom for us and designed it in our own image. For those of us who were here in the very first Pride Parades and protests, the Rainbow flag was a galvanizing signal that we would stand and fight for our rights.   

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights law includes LGBT employees. The ruling will likely now move to the Supreme Court for a final ruling since it conflicts with another Circuit court. There is NO ENDA law, passed through Congress, which guarantees our LBGT rights against discrimination.

All of this is coming on the heels of the reports out of Chechnya. The government there is arresting, torturing and killing gay men. Their leader denies the reports by saying “You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic.”

This should be a reminder for all LGBT people and our supporters that we, in fact, are still fighting for our rights as U.S. and world citizens.  Our freedom today is only at the discretion of the straight community and that is not good enough for me.

So, I will be waving Gilbert Baker’s flag at this year’s Pride Festival in protest that LGBT people are still not free.  Let us be clear. Our fight is NOT over. We are NOT fully equal citizens in this United States or the world. And that is a stain on all of us.

Tom Hoch
What’s going on with Nicollet Mall?  Will it ever get finished?

These are the questions that I hear in almost every conversation I am having these days. And the question doesn’t just come from the downtown business community or new residential dwellers; it also comes in neighborhood meetings at the far geographic corners of our city.

For many, as Nicollet Mall goes, so goes the city, and the news especially from retailers has been challenging of late with the announced Macy’s closing and the subsequent press release highlighting Barnes & Noble’s exit from its current location.

While there has been plenty of discussion about the ‘what’ regarding Nicollet Mall, meaning the quality of the design and whether the vision will be enough to revive the downtown core, the real discussion should be on the ‘how’

This is where most of the frustration seems to be centered. People look out of their offices or glance at the mall while crossing the street and see slow progress and weeks without any activity. Without aggressive communication from Mayor Hodges or their council person, Jacob Frey, they are assuming the worst. Namely, that the project is delayed or off schedule.

 And I believe this underscores one of the differences in this year’s race for Mayor and city government.  It is the ‘how’ we are communicating and engaging our citizens and the appalling lack of both.  

 Most people, myself included, applaud the tenure of R.T. Rybak and point with pride to his championship of being the nation’s bike capital. Rybak was a visible, engaging and over-communicating Mayor. 

However, today these same bike supporters feel like the bike lanes have just appeared and that they have had very no or little say on the timing or the placement. In other words, they feel like ‘the fix is in’ before they ever hear of or see a new bike lane, leaving them frustrated.

Recently, the city announced and spent tax dollars on a listening tour of citizens regarding the $15/hour minimum wage question. While I have been attending most of these sessions around the city, the Mayor and many City Council people are AWOL.  Most of the citizens comment that the Mayor Hodges and City Councilperson Jacob Frey have already come out in support of the $15/hour minimum wage—a flip flop from their previous position against the wage increase--because they are actively running for office.  So many ask, why go through these hearings and spend taxpayer money when the decision has already been made? They sense that, in their own words, ‘the fix is in’.

Nicollet Mall, bike lanes, the $15/hour minimum wage…the issue is rarely really the what. It’s the how.

How we tell instead of ask.

 How we pretend to engage while dictating to others.

 How we simply push down decisions because it is expedient for us.

Where is our Minneapolis plan to harness the collective power and creativity of all of our citizens?  

Let’s lead in how we find new ways to truly engage, collect and review the collective ideas and creativity of our citizens.

Let’s lead by exploring new, real-time ways to communicate like Digital Dashboards.

Let’s lead by setting the bar high with visible, on the ground, 24/7 engagement for Minneapolis—and not as a stepping stone to higher office.

Cities are either moving forward or they are moving backwards. There is no middle. A disengaged, skeptical citizenry that questions our sincerity to engage is a precursor for decline.

Please join these and many other conversations we are having.

Tom Hoch

Tom Hoch