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Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates Make Cases At Public Forum

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Candidates hoping to be the next mayor of Minneapolis weighed in at a public forum Saturday.

All nine candidates took part in the "Stand Up Minnesota Twin Cities Mayoral Forum" at the University of Minnesota.

It comes just a day after current Mayor Betsy Hodges lost two of her top campaign officials.

The candidates addressed a range of topics during the forum, including minimum wage, transportation and the city's arts and culture.

Minneapolis mayoral candidates
(credit: CBS)

"We had the conversation about were we going to be one Minneapolis," Hodges said.

Hodges continued to push her first term campaign promise as a leader to unite the city.

"A city that comes together at a time when we have a federal government that is trying to tear us apart," she said.

Hodges' appearance comes after both her campaign manager and organizing director resigned. She declined a request for interview but did release a statement about her campaign manager Jorge Contreras, saying in part:

"He's a talented manager and political strategist, and a great human being of whom I am very fond. He is ready to take on new challenges in his life, with which I intend to be as much help as I can."

But the mayoral forum focused on city issues.

The majority of the candidates were in favor of a $15 minimum wage, although several expressed how it would be implemented out of concern for small businesses.

"The fifteen now doesn't work. The fifteen now will take the same route as most of the working family's agenda, which was tried to be forced down from the top and was rejected by the small business community," Aswar Rahman said.

When asked what they wanted their legacy to be, several candidates said action over talking.

"We don't need lip service, we need results, which is exactly the reason why I'm willing to take on this mantle," Nekima Levy-Pounds said.

"I don't want my legacy to be that every single person loved me or agreed with me," Jacob Frey said. "I want my legacy to be well, you know what, he made some promises and what he promised happened."

"Persist and come out all of us together on the other side with a better city," Hodges said.

In a statement, Mayor Hodges said she will soon be adding a new campaign manager to lead the team she already has in place.

All nine candidates -- Hodges, Tom Hoch, Nekima Levy-Pounds, Frey, Raymond Deyne, Al Flowers, Rahman, Jack Sparrow and Bob Carney -- took part in the forum Saturday.

The 2017 mayoral election is on Nov. 7.

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