Former Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges Headed To Harvard

Betsy Hodges' inclusion as a Harvard spring resident fellow has some scratching their heads, especially given the topics she will be focusing on.

Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS – Just months after failing to win re-election, former Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has landed a teaching gig at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Hodges was tapped by the Ivy League school to be a “spring resident fellow” for the Institute of Politics (IOP). Hodges will spend the semester alongside five other fellows discussing subjects like racial equality, policing, and local governance. However, including Hodges as a fellow has some scratching their heads, especially given the topics she will be focusing on.

In Hodges’ biography on the IOP’s website, the school claims Hodges was successful in “improving police-community relations,” something that seems like a far cry from the truth for many Minneapolis residents. During her time as mayor of Minneapolis, Hodges faced two police shootings, which many believe she failed to handle properly. Hodges mishandling of the Jamar Clark protests even drew national criticism.

Hodges was also named one of the three worst mayors in the country today by the New York Observer.

The Observer mayoral ranking assessed multiple factors including rankings of best-run cities, mayoral approval ratings, and peer recognition. They also called on political consultants and media pundits to weigh in on mayors across the country. The assessment judged mayoral performance rather than the current state of the city.

Hodges landed in the top three of worst mayors in the U.S., listed alongside Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Unlike Emanuel and de Blasio who have external forces working against them, the Observer asserted Hodges problems were mostly self-inflicted. They listed weakness in public safety, the mishandling of the Jamar Clark protests, and mismanagement of public works as some of her worst issues.

Harvard has not explained their selection process for resident fellows. Hodges was the second Minneapolis mayor in four decades to run for a second term and lose.

Christine Bauman