Nov 28, 2023 - Politics

Emily Koski breaks from Mayor Jacob Frey as one of his top city council allies

Jacob Frey and Emily Koski

Mayor Jacob Frey and City Council Member Emily Koski. Photos via City of Minneapolis

One of Mayor Jacob Frey's top allies on the Minneapolis City Council has also been one of his fiercest opponents on recent high-profile votes.

Why it matters: Frey's slim majority of moderates on the council disappeared earlier this month when more progressive candidates gained seats in the election.

  • If he can't count on Emily Koski, whom he campaigned with in 2021, the mayor will have an even harder time moving his agenda forward.

Catch up fast: Koski, who represents Ward 11 in South Minneapolis, voted against a $15.3 million package of incentives meant to keep and attract police officers to the city.

What she's saying: In an interview with Axios on Monday, Koski stressed that she's a supporter of police, but the $15.3 million in bonuses were sprung on the council just days before a vote. She said she doubted how effective they would be compared to increases in base pay.

  • Council members, she added, deserve more of a say in how $19 million from the state β€” earmarked for public safety more broadly β€” should be spent. That could include police, but also the fire department and emergency management.

Of note: Frey has said the process has been transparent, with union bargaining sessions made public and the plans posted online.

Yes, but: This isn't the first instance of Koski breaking from Frey. She also sided with the progressive bloc of members on some votes related to the Roof Depot redevelopment and Third Police Precinct location.

The intrigue: Axios asked Koski if she was still an ally of the mayor.

  • "I'm an ally of the city of Minneapolis, and that's the team I've always been on."

Between the lines: There's growing speculation that Koski is vying for votes to become council president or vice president in January, and perhaps for mayor in 2025.

  • "I have no plans of that right now," she said of a potential mayoral run.
  • As for city council president or vice president, Koski said people have asked if she's interested. "I am open to having conversations, but I do also know that there are other individuals that have aspirations and want to be in leadership."

The other side: Asked about Koski's recent votes, Frey told Axios, "I'm not accusing any one person of this, but there's going to be an election, imminently, for council president and council vice president, and clearly jockeying is going on."

What we're watching: How Koski votes next month on the mayor's budget.


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