CORRECTION – SEE BELOW • I was a big fan of Gary Schiff and hoped to support him all the way through to election day. Gary was a populist. He supported issues I care about, like the Occupy Homes movement, small, local businesses, and bridging the opportunity gaps in our schools and neighborhoods. As a city council member, Gary consistently stood up for regular people.
That’s why I was really surprised when Gary chose to pull out of the race after the convention and instead support Betsy Hodges. This endorsement didn’t seem right to me, especially when you consider the differences they had had at the city council.
At the convention, I was impressed with Betsy’s presence and her cool t-shirts. She seemed like a completely different person from the woman I first met a decade when she was running for city council. I was surprised, however, when a few days later, someone from the Hodges campaign tried to imply over the phone that Mark Andrew was weak on GLTBQ issues. Some of my neighbors had heard the same and assumed I would be supporting Betsy. But what my neighbors didn’t know was that Mark had led major GLBT advancements over twenty years ago as a county commissioner.
I have to be honest, when Mark announced his campaign, I was skeptical, especially when he was endorsed by so many people. But as I have gotten to know Mark and his background, I have come to realize that people are supporting him not simply because he is the frontrunner, but because he really is a great candidate.
Mark is a former cab driver, product of Minneapolis public schools, grew up about four blocks from my current home. My decision was finalized when I learned that Mark paid people at his booths at the State Fair well over minimum wage. These are, in some cases, high school students that by law he could pay less than $7 dollars per hour. Mark recognizes that fair wages are not an economic issue, but a human rights issue.
Since the convention, the support for Mark has kept coming, not from just anyone, but from people I truly respect, like my wife Emily Inz, progressive leaders like Mohamud Noor, former State Rep Marion Greene, Unite Here! Local 17, State Senator Jeff Hayden, State Rep Jim Davnie, the UMTC College Dems, and Vice President Mondale. I’m proud to say my wife, Emily, and I will be ranking him number one in our choice for the next mayor of Minneapolis.
CORRECTION 8/10 – See comment below. A false claim about Betsy Hodges’ record has been deleted.