Amazon and Minneapolis: Opportunity knocks.

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Amazon announced today that it plans to build a second North American headquarters creating 50,000 jobs paying more than $100,000 on average.  Cities such as Chicago, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Denver immediately announced their interest and enthusiasm. 

The response from Minneapolis?  So far, our mayor hasn’t responded at all. 

My view is clear.  Minneapolis – and Minnesota – should pursue Amazon.  An opportunity this profound rarely comes knocking, but it has and we should pursue it aggressively.  Not just with giveaways, in the recent fashion of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  But smartly, with a clear view on how such an opportunity could move Minneapolis and Minnesota forward, helping address our long-standing issues around equity by creating new jobs.

Minneapolis and Minnesota have a lot to offer.  So does St. Paul and our entire region.  The Mayor of St. Paul, Chris Coleman, was quick to highlight this opportunity for St. Paul.  Perhaps because St. Paul has an Innovation Council and a view on economic development.

Does Minneapolis have a plan to attract new start-ups and established companies?  We don’t seem to – which brings us back to our mayor. 

No doubt, she’ll respond in time.  Perhaps she is (again) out of town at a fundraiser.  But she’s had four years to plan for this moment, and she does not seem ready.

Minneapolis clearly needs and deserves a plan – and a mayor who can craft one.

Our campaign has consistently highlighted ways in which other cities are shaping their futures. Cities such as Austin, Indianapolis and Boulder clearly have “a plan.”  Minneapolis should as well. 

We should build on our strengths in health and wellness to create the world’s “Medical Alley.”  We should build on our strengths in technology and data analytics, and in food.  We should look to lead the way in creative services building upon the talents of companies already reshaping the dynamic sectors of advertising, marketing, digital and social media. 

Minneapolis should shape its future with bold ideas to create and attract expanding companies and good-paying jobs benefiting all of our citizens.  And we should pursue companies like Amazon – not stand on the sidelines when important opportunities arise. 

An active, engaged Mayor would be leading the way in creating new economic growth plans for Minneapolis. 

If you vote me on Nov. 7, you’ll have one.

Tom Hoch