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Snapshot: Who's running for Minneapolis mayor and why

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Sixteen candidates are on the ballot this year for Minneapolis mayor. Several sought the DFL endorsement but the party could not pick a candidate.

Voters will again make their choices using ranked-choice voting. Here's a look at five people in the running.

Raymond Dehn, DFL

Minneapolis Mayoral Candidate Raymond Dehn
Evan Frost | MPR News

Age: 60

Bio: Dehn was born in Robbinsdale and grew up in Brooklyn Park the third of four children. He wrestled in high school. Cocaine use landed him in jail at 18 and then drug treatment. He was pardoned in 1982. He's divorced, father of an adopted son; moved to north Minneapolis in 2000.

Education: University of Minnesota.

Work experience: His first job was as a Prudential insurance clerk. He's also run a small construction company and worked at three architectural firms. He now works as an independent design consultant. 

Political and public experience: One-time president of the American Institute of Architecture Students; board member of the American Institute of Architects; appointed by R.T. Rybak to the city's Capital and Long Range Improvement Committee; Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility; 2012 Bush fellow; ran unsuccessfully against state Sen. Linda Higgins in 2010; won House Seat 59B in 2012, representing north and downtown Minneapolis.

Main issues: Dehn says it's critical the city have affordable housing and that the city is safe for everyone. He says  City Hall needs to function differently than it functions today; he says the current relationship between the mayor and council isn't functioning well and isn't serving the public.

Why he's running: At the Capitol, Dehn has worked on criminal justice issues, like "Ban the Box," police and law enforcement training and reform. Dehn calls the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark and subsequent 4th Precinct protests a turning point. 

"The 4th Precinct is six blocks from my house. That was my neighborhood. Seeing that, it really made me think about can we do things differently? Are there ways approaching protecting our citizens and serving the people of Minneapolis that could be different?"

What you might not know about him: He was on the architectural team that designed the giant cable-stayed skyway you see when you drive into the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Jacob Frey, DFL

Minneapolis Mayoral Candidate Jacob Frey
Evan Frost | MPR News

Age: 36

Bio: Born in Arlington, Va., he grew up in northern Virginia the oldest of three children. He moved to Minneapolis in 2009 after first visiting the city to run the 2006 Twin Cities Marathon. He's married.

Education: College of William and Mary, Villanova Law School.

Work experience: Professional long-distance runner who finished fourth for Team USA at the 2007 Pan American games; moved to Minneapolis to be a Faegre Baker Daniels attorney; later joined Halunen and Associates firm.

Political and public experience: Pro bono death penalty appeals attorney; volunteer attorney for victims of 2011 Minneapolis tornado; founder of Big Gay Race intended to raise money to oppose Minnesota's proposed same-sex marriage ban; defeated Ward 3 City Council incumbent in 2013. 

Main issues: Frey says the city has lost 10,000 units of affordable housing in the last 15 years, and needs a consistent solution to fix it. He also wants the city's planning and regulation authorities to offer people mixed and convenient land use and easy access to the sharing and gig economy. Frey says he also wants housing, employment and educational policy to help roll back the city's legacy of segregation and racial disparities.

Why he is running: "Right now, more than ever, with a Donald Trump presidency and gridlock at the state and federal Legislature, we need a very visible and present mayor that's about getting results. I do strongly believe I am the one to lead right now and I could make a big difference that would help a whole lot of people."

What you might not know about him: Frey's parents, before his father became a chiropractor, were both professional ballet dancers.

Tom Hoch, DFL

Minneapolis Mayoral Candidate Tom Hoch.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Age: 62

Bio: Hoch is a Minneapolis native, the fifth oldest of 11 kids, and a twin. A widower, he is remarried with two children.

Education: University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State University and Hamline Law School.

Work experience: Minneapolis public schools classroom teacher; family law attorney; Minneapolis Community Development Agency staffer; Minneapolis Public Housing Authority executive; theater executive who led redevelopment of the State and Orpheum theaters on Hennepin Avenue.

Political and public experience: Downtown Improvement District founder and board chair; Planned Parenthood board member; Animal Humane Society board chair; St. Anthony East and Downtown Neighborhood Association board chair.

Main issues: Hoch say to keep downtown an economic engine for the city, safety and hospitality must be priorities. He also wants to find non-traditional ways to make housing affordable across the region. He wants to keep property taxes affordable, boost job creation through economic development and work with business to make Minneapolis a national center for food research.

Why he is running: Hoch is bidding to be the city's first openly gay mayor and has been called "The Mayor of Hennepin Avenue." But he says his top priority is economic growth. 

"My issues with the city are really that we have no plan. We have no plan for prosperity. Everything is about how do we slice the same pie into thinner and thinner slices, rather than how do we bake a bigger pie? When we have to talk about these tactical things, without a broader vision, we are in trouble because those are issues that simply divide people all across the board."

What you might not know about him: Hoch has a daughter, fathered more than 40 years ago when he was in high school.

Betsy Hodges, DFL

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges
Evan Frost | MPR News

Age: 48

Bio: Born in Baltimore, the youngest of three. Her family moved to Minnesota in 1974; she grew up in Minnetonka, and moved to Minneapolis in 1998. Divorced, now married to Gary Cunningham, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association and a Metropolitan Council member. 

Education: Bryn Mawr College; attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Work experience: Worked for mental health providers in Albuquerque, N.M.; worked for the Minnesota Justice Foundation.

Political and public experience: Founded the Women's Health Project in Albuquerque; staffer and development director for Progressive Minnesota, a predecessor to TakeAction Minnesota; aide to County Commissioner Gail Dorfman; elected to City Council's Ward 13 in 2005. Elected mayor in 2013.

Main issues: Hodges says her agenda includes fiscal responsibility and sound budgeting, closing racial and economic disparities, workforce initiatives to prepare people to fill more than 100,000 jobs expected to be filled in the region in the next decade, keeping housing and commercial space affordable, pre-preschool education and encouraging adoption of clean energy to fight climate change.

Why she is running: "What I offer the city is a leader who is compassionate, who is tough, who's been tested, and can lead us into the future. ... We need someone who knows how to stand up to bullies, who knows how to stand up for the people of Minneapolis unequivocally, and with everything they've got. I've been able to do that and will continue to do that."

What you might not know about her: Hodges is the daughter of an HCMC cardiologist who came up with the "Hodges Formula," used around the world in electrocardiograph machines to help analyze electrical activity in the heart.

Nekima Levy-Pounds, DFL

Minneapolis Mayoral Candidate Nekima Levy-Pounds
Evan Frost | MPR News

Age: 41

Bio: Born in Jackson, Miss., Levy-Pounds grew up in south central Los Angeles the oldest of five sisters; moved to north Minneapolis in September 2015. She is married with four children.

Education: USC and University of Illinois College of Law.

Work experience: Law clinic attorney and supervisor and University of Illinois professor. St. Thomas School of Law professor from 2003 to 2016; founder of Black Pearl, a Minneapolis-based consulting company.

Political and public experience: Volunteer attorney at the University of Illinois law clinic; Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law fellowship; started family law and civil rights legal clinic at St. Thomas; legal observer for the National Lawyer's Guild in Ferguson, Mo.; Minnesota Lawyer Attorney of the Year in 2014; past president of the Minneapolis NAACP; past member of preaching team at First Covenant church in downtown Minneapolis; led some of the reaction to the police shooting of Jamar Clark in 2015.

Main issues: Levy-Pounds has a five-point platform focusing on economic justice, particularly for employment equity; raising the minimum wage; environmental justice focusing on asthma and cancer incidence in north Minneapolis; police reform; and keeping housing affordable in the city. She also wants the city to play a larger role in closing educational disparity in the city's public schools.

Why she is running: "I know what I have gone through. I know what I have endured. I know my strength and resolve and my ability to stand up for and fight for what is right. Having that perspective is vitally important when people are bringing issues to the table, being able to weigh what they're saying against what's happening and then engaging in problem solving ... I have never accepted that this is just the way that we do things or this is just the way that things are."

What you might not know about her: Levy-Pounds was a poor teenager living in south central Los Angeles when she was selected for a full scholarship to the Brooks School, an elite boarding school north of Boston.

All the candidates running for Minneapolis mayor

• Troy Benjegerdes, Farmer Labor
• Raymond Dehn, DFL
• Al Flowers, DFL
• Jacob Frey, DFL
• Charlie Gers, Libertarian
• Tom Hoch, DFL
• Betsy Hodges, DFL, incumbent
• Gregg A. Iverson, DFL
• Nekima Levy-Pounds, DFL
• Ronald Lischeid
• L.A. Nik, Independent
• Aswar Rahman, DFL
• David Rosenfeld, Socialist Workers Party
• Ian Simpson, the Idea Party
• Captain Jack Sparrow, Basic Income Guarantee
• David John Wilson, Rainbows Butterflies Unicorns

Editor's note: MPR News chose to profile Dehn, Frey, Hoch, Hodges and Levy-Pounds because their campaign finance reports show they've raised at least $10,000 in outside contributions for the 2017 reporting period. MPR News partnered with KARE to profile the remaining candidates; Nik did not respond. 

Clarification (Oct. 19, 2017): This story has been updated to clarify that Raymond Dehn is trained as an architect but is not currently licensed as one.

Correction (Oct. 27, 2017): This story has been updated to correct that Nekima Levy-Pounds attended USC.