DFL environmental caucus supports 3 for mayor

The state DFL environmental caucus has sent letters of support to three candidates running to be mayor of Minneapolis.

Mayor Betsy Hodges, state Rep. Raymond Dehn and Ward 3 City Council Member Jacob Frey received letters from the 400-person caucus, it announced last month. The caucus can only offer one endorsement per office, but it felt all three were strong candidates, said chair Veda Kanitz, who lives in Minnesota’s second congressional district.

“In a case where there are so many different candidates running, we felt like this was still helpful,” she said.

Kanitz said all three candidates expressed interest in going further on recycling, reducing carbon emissions and improving environmental justice, all priorities of the caucus. The caucus’ website lists about 20 environmental resolutions, including resolutions on reducing carbon emissions, the Clean Power Plan, climate change and environmental justice.

“These three individuals have all done things to actually help and have the experience and the motivation,” Kanitz said. “We think that any one of them would be a great leader for the city.”

All three candidates have information on their campaign websites about their work on environmental issues. Frey wrote that he championed an ordinance that cracks down on air pollution by tying fees to pollution emitted. Hodges noted her work expanding the city’s efforts to fight and adjust to climate change.

Dehn said he’s been a vocal opponent of the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center on the north side of Downtown, which burns garbage to generate energy. The HERC has drawn criticism for emitting pollutants that disproportionately impact North Minneapolis.

The caucus isn’t the only environmental group that will be endorsing candidates this election cycle. The Sierra Club is also screening candidates, though it hasn’t made any endorsements yet. The organization endorsed Hodges in the 2013 election.

The nonprofit Community Power, which supports local renewable energy, does not endorse candidates but will be hosting a mayoral Q&A on June 29 and has hosted ward-specific City Council forums.