Mayoral candidates talk jobs, some hopefuls want to increase the state minimum wage

If they’re elected next week, Alicia Bennett and Tony Lane both hope to use the Minneapolis mayor’s office to garner support for a minimum wage increase.

Bennett, Lane and Rahn Workcuff are three of 35 mayoral hopefuls who will be listed on the Nov. 5 ballot as they run to succeed Mayor R.T. Rybak, who has held the office for 12 years.

If elected, the candidates said they hope to improve the Minneapolis job market and involve citizens more heavily in city politics.

Bennett said raising the minimum wage would spur economic growth.

“There is opulent wealth in this city, and there is crushing poverty, and we need leadership that can span between these two poles,” she said.

Lane, who is running with the Socialist Workers Party, said he also wants to advocate for a minimum wage hike at the state and federal levels as part of his plan to empower the working class.

“The right to a job is the most fundamental right for a worker under the system of capitalism,” he said in an email.

Lane said he would encourage political engagement across the community by helping unions and encouraging strikes.

He said he would also create a “massive, federally funded public works program” to spur job growth in the city.

Workcuff said he also plans to create employment opportunities in Minneapolis by launching a jobs program.

As mayor, he said, he would collaborate with community and neighborhood members to improve the city’s job market and health care options.

Bennett said Minneapolis should improve the way city departments communicate with each other, as well as how they respond to residents’ concerns.

“We need to roll up our sleeves, broaden the groups of collaborators that we have [and] open up City Hall,” she said.

Bennett said she would encourage residents to participate in all city issues, ranging from improving the education system to instituting police reform.

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