Chris Coleman embarked on his third term as the 45th mayor of St. Paul Friday (Jan. 3), setting his sights on closing the achievement gap for communities of color over the next four years.
Coleman, elected mayor for a third four-year term by a large margin in November, publicly celebrated his re-election at the recently restored Union Depot in downtown St. Paul after officially taking his oath of office during a private ceremony the day before.
During a speech at Friday’s inauguration, Coleman praised city leadership for supporting the recent expansion of local transportation systems, improving building and business infrastructure and planning new environmental initiatives.
Coleman also listed the legalization of same-sex marriage in Minnesota as a highlight of his last term, stating that together, “We created a place for all families in our midst.”
(THE UPTAKE WANTS YOUR COMMENTS: Comment on this story below!)
But, Coleman said, there is much more work to be done and it begins with the educational system.
“I’ve often said that education is my crime fighting strategy, my neighborhood revitalization strategy and my economic development strategy,” the 52-year-old Coleman said.
Coleman: Closing Achievement Gap To Be Measure Of My Job Performance
By collaborating with stakeholders to critically examine the inequalities present in our classrooms and communities, Coleman said the city must fundamentally change the educational system for all students.
“We all play a role in that process,” he said.
Coleman said he was rededicating his efforts toward improving education for all St. Paul children, regardless of their economic, social or racial background.
“Our most important work begins with children,” he said. “Closing the achievement gap while raising the outcomes for all children will be the true measure of which my administration and our city will be judged.”
Ending his speech, Coleman described his vision for the city and the community’s collaborative role as change-makers for St. Paul.
“Let’s all lift our hammers to build a city … a city that welcomes all, that provides for all and cares for all. That’s the St. Paul that I dream of. It’s the city that I’m honored to lead. It’s a city that we have built together.
“Let’s keep building ’til our work is done.”