Posted by Carolyn Will on Apr 12, 2018
Rotarians felt a new level of energy upon arrival at the DoubleTree Hilton.  The new mayor in town was on the scene. The honorable Melvin Carter, 46th mayor of Saint Paul, shared his vision for our capital city at the Rotary Club #10 Noon meeting.  From the start, Carter demonstrated deft humor as he played to the packed room and even “marched’ up to the speaker’s table as Rotarians sung “When the Mayor Comes Marching In.”   Song leader, Susan O’Neil, St. Paul Fire Foundation, kept us on key with the help of Doug Hartford on piano and Ed Coleman on drums.  Club President Jerry Faletti, Lethert Skwira Schultz & Co., added just the right accent by chiming the meeting bell on the refrain.
Following our inspirational minute delivered by Nancy Brady from Neighborhood House and introductions of visiting Rotarians and the many guests by Bob Cardinal, Calhoun Companies, Club President-Elect Trixie Golberg, Triumph Electric, introduced Mayor Melvin Carter.
“It is with great pleasure that I am serving you as mayor of what I believe is the greatest city on the planet,” said Mayor Melvin Carter.  “I felt that most keenly while living more than 1,000 miles away attending college on a track scholarship at Florida A&M University.  No other city has a free zoo, panoramic views of the Mississippi River, or the diversity of cultures and languages spoken by our residents.”
Carter also acknowledged that we are living through a very challenging moment in our city.  The mayor called out the public’s tempered trust in law enforcement, the demand for more affordable housing, and the barriers that exist for segments of our populations.  “It’s no longer the quaint Irish Catholic town of a hundred years ago when my great-grandparents also arrived here in Saint Paul,” said Carter.  
Carter described an optic lens containing three core values through which his administration will see all their work:
  • Equity
  • Innovation
  • Resilience
His administration has prioritized three pillars under which his staff will focus their work:
  • Public Safety: Highlights include snow plowing and rebuilding trust in our Saint Paul Police Department. “I have had to deal with more snow in my first 100 days in office than the city had to deal with it in the last two years,” quipped Carter. “Do we plow every street within 40 hours, or concentrate first on the most traveled streets in order to reduce accidents,” said Carter. His administration is also reviewing policies with SPPD on how and when to use force.
  • Economics:  Carter reiterated the pledge he made at his inaugural to establish a savings account with $50 in it for every kindergarten student enrolled in a Saint Paul public school or charter school. “It’s about establishing a mindset that says, ‘we believe in you,’” said Carter.
He also restated his commitment to passing the $15 minimum wage and to deconstructing barriers to economic opportunities for all segments of our diverse population.
  • Service: Mayor Carter shared with Rotarians that the theme for his upcoming State of Our City address on Saturday, April 13, would be “Serve Saint Paul.”   Carter connected this new mission to that long held mission of the Rotarians, to serve local communities here and around the world, and to put “service above self.”
Mayor Carter extended an invitation to all Rotarians to attend the State of Our City Summit from 9-11 a.m., Saturday, April 13 at Johnson High School, Saint Paul.  Following remarks from the mayor, attendees will break into small discussion groups to participate in dialogues on various issues.
Special thanks to our greeters, Scott Van, Van Paper Supply, and Lit Field, Bearence Mgmt Group. They extended warm greetings to all our visitors, while nimbly swiping membership cards.  Numbers kept climbing and Jodi Erickson quickly made the decision to set up an additional table. 
Before Mayor Carter left the podium, Club President Faletti bestowed an honorary club membership to the mayor and invited him to attend future meetings.
Respectfully Submitted,

Carolyn Will