Dehn to run for mayor

DFL state Rep. Raymond Dehn is running for Minneapolis mayor, he announced in a Dec. 21 Facebook post.

“I believe in my heart that we can do better than working from crisis to crisis, and that we must do better in tearing down the country’s largest achievement gaps,” wrote Dehn, who represents the Downtown neighborhoods as well as several in North Minneapolis.

“Our best days are ahead of us, so long as we work together to build the brighter future that we all deserve.”

Dehn has served in the Legislature since 2012, where he has worked on criminal-justice issues such as restoring voting rights and ban-the-box legislation. An architect by trade, Dehn wrote that he can “think strategically about how our economy, schools, justice system, infrastructure, and public spaces impact both current and future generations.”

He also wrote that he has strong relationships with Gov. Mark Dayton and legislators from both parties, something he believes he can leverage.

“My goal will be to build a city that works for everyone,” he wrote. “To do so, I am making you a simple promise: to proactively engage people of all colors, faiths, incomes and backgrounds.”

Dehn served on various community groups before being elected, including the City’s Capital Long-Range Improvement Committee. He was co-facilitator of a group that advocated for the Bottineau light rail line and co-founded a program to give North Minneapolis residents free architectural advice after the 2011 tornado.

In an interview, Dehn said the city needs to think holistically about how poverty affects people’s lives. He said he would support a $15/hour minimum wage but added that it’s important to include businesses in the conversation.

“They’re going to be part of the solution,” he said. “They need to play a part and a role in deciding how that’s going to happen.”

Dehn said the city needs to work with landlords to figure out how they can help stabilize increasing rents in Minneapolis. He suggested potentially holding a landlord’s property taxes steady if the landlord has affordable rents.

“We need to have a more creative approach in addressing this,” he said.

Dehn, 59, was a drug addict as a young man and was convicted of a felony burglary at age 18. He went through treatment and later had his sentence pardoned.

He said it’s great that Minneapolis is on top of many quality-of-life lists but noted how it’s also on top of many disparity lists.

“That’s something that we should all really be concerned about,” he said. “I’m committed to having those types of conversations and ultimately could be making difficult choices and decisions to begin to change that.”