Mayor Hodges gives city address

A crowd crowd gathered inside the American Swedish Institute noon on Thursday to hear Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges give her annual State of the City Address.

Hodges highlighted new goals and issues for the city, including transportation, economic equality, environment objectives and transgender rights.

Hodges said one of her main priorities was to remove disparities between different ethnic groups in Minneapolis, which will include the creation of a program modeled after President Barack Obama’s  program “My Brother’s Keeper,”, a system to ensure all youth are given educational opportunities

Hodges also addressed transgender issues in her speech and called on the city to enact policies to make Minneapolis more welcoming to transgendered people. Hodges announced Andrea Jenkins, a city worker, will be working with the University of Minnesota Libraries as an oral historian for the transgender oral history project — a project that will document the experiences of transgender people in the Upper Midwest. The University received a grant for the project in October.

“We must start with the knowledge with being who you are in this world is to be celebrated,  and we must follow that with the commitment to making each one of us safe as we walk through this world as ourselves, and we must follow that with the policies that support it.” she said.

Hodges also highlighted the city’s efforts to combat climate change and continue its environmental initiatives. Minneapolis was recognized as one of the nation’s 16 “Climate Action Champions” last year, and she said city officials and citizens will have to work to make Minneapolis more environmentally friendly. In April the city will focus on recycling efforts.