Mayor Betsy Hodges takes the reins, pledges "One Minneapolis"

Betsy Hodges was sworn in as the 47th mayor of Minneapolis Thursday, pledging her oath of service in front of a crowd of city leaders, campaign staff and family members.

Coined the “Kids’ Inaugural” event, Thursday’s swearing-in ceremony was the first event in a 10-day tour highlighting Hodges’ priorities as Mayor of Minneapolis.

Directing much of her inaugural speech to a handful of children at the event, DFLer Hodges — a former Minneapolis City Council member — said she promised to “make Minneapolis a great city – especially for you as you grow up.”

Hodges then posed a question to the group of children gathered at the front of the podium.

“Now, you all just took a pledge of allegiance to the flag,” she said. “Would you guys maybe be willing to make another pledge with me?”

Calling for a response from the children, Hodges asked, “Do you pledge to make Minneapolis a great city?”

“Yes, Mayor Hodges!” the group said in unison.

“Do you pledge to do your best everyday to be good to people? And do your best to help people be kind to each other? Do you pledge to help people, including you, have good lives here in the city?”

“Yes, Mayor Hodges!” the children responded again.

“Now,” Hodges said, “you have taken the same pledge I have.”

Turning her attention to the adults, Hodges added that her vision for a unified Minneapolis required both children and adults to make that same promise toward, “One Minneapolis.”

“I ask you too — all of you — to make the pledge and to take the pledge to help make sure that all of us have the opportunity to have good lives here in the city of Minneapolis together,” she said.

Hodges then thanked R.T. Rybak, the outgoing Minneapolis Mayor who held the office the past 12 years, for “charting the course that brought us so well to this moment.”

“We owe you a debt that we cannot repay,” Hodges said.

Other attendees at Hodges’ inauguration ceremony included U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, several Minneapolis City Council and School Board members, and her immediate family.

Hodges’ formal inaugural ceremony is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 6, in the Minneapolis City Hall Rotunda.