ST. PAUL, Minn. — In one of his final acts as Mayor of St. Paul, Chris Coleman gave his final State of the City address.
Coleman, who has served as St. Paul’s Mayor for more than a decade, announced his decision to retire in order to run for Governor of Minnesota.
In his 35 minute speech, Coleman covered several different topics from light rail to community policing.
Praising the efforts of advancing the construction of the gold and rush lines of light rail, Coleman talked about how the green and red lines had exceeded expectations of total ridership.
Coleman spoke of trade schools and apprenticeship opportunities for young students looking for work. Pointing specifically to the apprentices at Pipefitters 455, he acknowledged that the students who graduated from the program would make up to $70 an hour. Coleman encouraged others to follow in their footsteps.
The Right Track summer program also received a nod from the outgoing Mayor. The program, initiated in 2014 sought to help students gain opportunities to have paid-internships with businesses in the community. Coleman cited the success of the program stating, “more than 2,000 low-income St. Paul students have received good-paying internships with local businesses…we need employers to commit to hiring 230 interns this summer.”
Coleman acknowledged the city’s new recycling program had a rocky start. In January, many St. Paul residents complained after Eureka Recycling failed to pick of the recycling for hundreds of residents. Blaming it on the size of the operation and weather conditions, Coleman notes, “we are holding Eureka accountable and working with them to ensure collection continues smoothly.”
Calling the efforts of the St. Paul Police’s to implement community policing a “national standard,” Coleman reviewed the efforts of police to engage with local citizens which include efforts like safe summer night events, the community ambassador program, and the department’s efforts at diversifying its officers pool. Efforts of community policing is said to lower crime rates in cities as community members who know and are comfortable with the police officers in their streets are more likely to report crime and is more likely to bring the community together.
“To the refugees and other immigrants in our midst: Just like generations before you, don’t let anyone tell you that you should ‘go home,’ You are home,” Coleman said about immigrants living his city.
Coleman has nine months left in his term. He has joined three other democrats in the race for governor so far.