MINNEAPOLIS - In the field of viable candidates for Mayor, Cam Winton is the only one who's never been on the city council or county board, and he's fine with that.
"We can keep doing the same things we've been doing with the same insider crowd, and you know what, if we do that route, we're going to be back here in four years, continuing to scratch our heads as to why some neighborhoods in our city have 20 percent unemployment," Winton told KARE.
Winton asserts the best way to erase income disparities in the city is to make it easier to start a new business.
"Right now we have 160 different license categories in our city," he remarked.
"If you want to have a juke box that's a license. If you want to sell a Christmas tree that's a separate license. No. We cut out all that nonsense, and we make it so that Minneapolis is a really attractive place to come and start and grow and hire."
The propeller icon in his campaign signs is a nod to Outland Renewable Energy, the wind turbine maintenance company Winton worked for. Outland was purchased by Duke Energy, where Winton serves as a Vice President and attorney.
"I see a role for renewable energy in our economy and our society, but to spend city tax dollars to pave roofs downtown with solar panels is a really silly idea," he said.
He would also fight the idea of putting street cars on Nicollet Avenue.
"Let's get the basics squared away first, the basic services of paving the roads, plowing the roads, taking out the trash effectively, staffing our police and fire departments fully."
He'd like to expand the police department, but in the wake of recent incidents with off-duty officers, Winton says the culture in the Minneapolis Police Department needs to change.
"I can make speeches all day from on high, but you need each officer feeling empowered and obligated to say, 'Hey, don't be that guy. Don't do that thing. Don't use that racist language. Don't act in that aggressive, abusive way.'"
On the school front, Winton believes the mayor's office should get to directly appoint several members of the Board of Education. He'd also like to see the Minneapolis public schools do away with the teacher seniority system.
"We need to end the first in last out seniority protection system. That, right now, protects mediocre teachers at the expense of exceptional children."
On the hot button issue of the Southwest Light Rail transit line, Winton favors going back to the drawing board on the routing options. He's like to see the new light rail line use the Midtown Greenway corridor, rather than going down the Kenilworth Trail near the Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis.
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