Minneapolis City Council mainstay Lisa Goodman won’t seek reelection

A woman stands at a podium to speak.
Minneapolis City Council member Lisa Goodman speaks during a press conference on Aug. 27, 2020.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News file

Updated: 1:15 p.m.

The longest-serving current member of the Minneapolis City Council, Lisa Goodman, said Monday she won’t run for an eighth term.

Goodman made the announcement in a message sent to constituents and posted online.

Goodman was elected to the council in 1997, and has represented a shifting slice of the city through two rounds of redistricting. Her 7th Ward currently includes much of downtown, Bryn Mawr, the northern edge of Uptown and neighborhoods to the west to the city limits of Golden Valley and St. Louis Park.

Goodman has been a supporter of development and listed “unprecedented investment and growth in downtown” among the notable achievements of her tenure. She noted that the residential population downtown has doubled.

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In an interview, she said projects to grow the arts downtown are among those that she’s been happiest to support, “stabilizing the Orpheum, State, Pantages, moving the Schubert, calling it the Cowles Center of Dance, and stabilizing those institutions. ... And just recently, securing the end of the city's run over the theaters and turning it over to the Hennepin Theatre Trust is perhaps one of my most proud project accomplishments. Because when I came into town, those were vacant buildings.” 

She also said nearly 16 percent of the city’s tax revenue was devoted to paying down tax increment financing debt when she arrived — and that number is now down to about 3 percent, putting the city on a sounder financial footing.  

Goodman’s message to her constituents also cited the development of an affordable housing trust fund, and “changes in every department of our city government, with the goal of being a more inclusive and equitable city.”

But she noted challenges as well: “When I first took office in 1998 Minneapolis was a very different city than it is today. It has been my great fortune to work with a diverse group of amazing people through some of the hardest things we have ever faced as a community — a recession, a bridge collapse, a destructive tornado, the horrific murder of George Floyd, civil unrest and the economic and societal upheaval caused by the COVID pandemic.”

Goodman has often played the role of contrarian, voting against the downtown Minnesota Vikings stadium, and opposing other council members’ efforts to pare back the size and funding for the Minneapolis police force in the wake of Floyd’s murder by police in 2020. In 2015, Goodman voted against a study about raising the minimum wage in the city, although she supported the new standard.

Her positions have drawn ire, even protests in front of her home, she said. Goodman said in an interview that she has seen a marked uptick in hostility toward all forms of government, but said that wasn’t why she was stepping aside. 

Goodman said at 56, she has time to start a new career, although she doesn’t plan to get into real estate development, as some former city officials do. She said she plans to stay in Minneapolis and look for other opportunities, “something public service-oriented.” 

Another change during Goodman’s tenure: The so-called “Kahn rule” that requires city council members to go back to voters within two years of redistricting following a U.S. Census. That means her seventh and final term will be just two years. Minneapolis lawmaker Phyllis Kahn introduced and won approval for the state law making the change more than a decade ago.

That change will have the entire city council on the ballot this fall. Another longtime member, Andrew Johnson, who represents southeastern Minneapolis, has also said he will not run again.