Ward 3 City Council Member Jacob Frey hopped onto the bar at Northeast’s Dangerous Man Brewing Company on Tuesday and, in front of a packed house of supporters, took a leap into the 2017 mayoral race.
It was a metaphorical leap and not one of the stage dives that crowd-surfing former Mayor R.T. Rybak became known for during three terms in office. Frey name-checked Rybak early in his announcement; the Virginia native and former professional runner described how he “fell in love” with Minneapolis while running in the Twin Cities Marathon, then moved here after graduating from law school in 2009 in part because of “visionary leaders” like Rybak.
“Now more than ever Minneapolis needs a visible, present leader with a clear, bright vision, who is able to build coalitions, to bring people together and to really create opportunity,” Frey said in an interview the day after his announcement.
Frey sketched out a platform that included expanding access to affordable housing, ending homelessness in the city and creating an environment where entrepreneurs and business owners can thrive. He said Minneapolis could be a “beacon of hope and inclusivity” during a period of national political upheaval.
Frey said he believes strongly in the community-policing model. He said officers must be held to high standards and, in turn, the department needs the resources to commit officers to “narrow beats” that allow them to form relationships with community members.
“You can’t possibly develop successful relationships if you’re constantly sprinting from 911 call to 911 call,” he said.
Frey joined law firm Faegre & Beson (now Faegre Baker Daniels) after moving to Minneapolis and then took a job with Halunen & Associates. He defeated two-term incumbent Diane Hofstede to win the Ward 3 seat in 2013.
Frey’s ward includes parts of downtown and Northeast Minneapolis, which he said had been a hotbed of activity during his term, seeing “nearly 50 percent of new investment” in housing and significant new business openings. He was the chief author of an ordinance that opened the city to ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber and helped to craft the final version of an ordinance that required most Minneapolis employers to offer paid sick and safe time to their workers.
Frey said he likes and respects Mayor Betsy Hodges, but added they have “significantly different leadership styles.” Noting that Minneapolis operates under a weak-mayor system, with much of the power vested in the City Council, he said “the only way you get things done in our city is by building a coalition, pitching a big vision, being out front and vocal and being present, even when it’s tough.”
Hodges announced her intention to run for a second term in December. Other announced candidates include Rep. Raymond Dehn, former University of St. Thomas law professor and president of the Minneapolis NAACP Nekima Levy-Pounds and Minneapolis filmmaker Aswar Rahman.