Jan 18, 2023 - News

Here's how much Mayor Carter hit the road in 2022

Photo illustration of St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter with lines radiating from him.

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter was on the move last year.

Driving the news: Carter logged at least eight trips 0ut of state as part of his 2022 mayoral duties, records obtained by Axios show, appearing at conferences and summits in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

  • A spokesperson told Axios that the pace of trips was similar to his pre-pandemic work travel.

Zoom in: Events attended by Carter in his official capacity as mayor in 2022 included the African American Mayors Association Conference, a White House summit on reducing violence, and the ritzy Aspen Ideas Festival.

  • He spoke on an infrastructure panel at a major electrical workers union conference in Chicago and attended a launch event in Selma, Alabama, for a nonprofit supporting St. Paul’s Rondo revitalization plans.

By the numbers: About $5,000 in travel costs were charged to the city's general fund, according to reimbursement data obtained by Axios via a records request. Conference organizers and sponsors reimbursed the city for another $2,300 in expenses.

What he's saying: Carter told Axios that "going beyond the border of our city to tell our story is critical to accomplishing" the city's policy goals.

  • He noted in a statement that St. Paul has attracted funding and attention from across the nation for its work on issues such as financial empowerment and public safety.

Between the lines: Appearances at national summits and conferences also elevate the mayor's political and personal profile, something that could be helpful if he seeks higher office someday.

  • David Schultz, a professor at Hamline University and former leader of Common Cause Minnesota, told Axios that prompts questions about whether the mayor is “using the trappings of incumbency and public dollars for personal benefit and … self promotion, as opposed to helping the city.”

How Minneapolis compares: A spokesperson for Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he went on two trips in 2022, traveling to Washington, D.C., for meetings in July and to Charlotte with the MPLS Regional Chamber in October.

  • Those trips cost the city about $4,500 for the mayor’s travel.

Go Deeper: Check out Carter's full travel log

Axios' Nick Halter contributed to this report.


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