Mpls. public utility proposal divides mayoral hopefuls

The candidates for mayor of Minneapolis are clashing over a proposal that would allow the city to replace Xcel Energy with a new city-run electric utility.

Minneapolis may ask voters this November whether they want the option to get rid of Xcel Energy. City officials are still debating whether to put the option on the ballot.

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Mark Andrew blasted the proposed referendum as “reckless,” and attacked his opponent Betsy Hodges for supporting it.

“She has never worked in the private sector a day in her life and doesn’t understand that when we have to negotiate a deal that’s going to be worth billions of dollars to our people, you have to have constructive engagement,” Andrew said. “You can’t go into a discussion in a toxic atmosphere, and having this ballot initiative accomplishes that and nothing else.”

Hodges’ campaign says the referendum would strengthen the city’s ability to achieve its environmental goals and negotiate with Xcel. Her campaign manager also noted Xcel has been a client of Andrew’s marketing firm.