Council members & districts

Gary L. Cunningham

Metropolitan Council Member, District 7

Gary L. Cunningham was appointed to the Metropolitan Council in March 2011 by Gov. Mark Dayton and reappointed in 2015. He lives in Minneapolis, and represents District 7, which includes north Minneapolis, downtown Minneapolis, south-central Minneapolis and Robbinsdale.

Cunningham is President and CEO of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA), which provides assistance to businesses owned and managed by entrepreneurs of color nationwide.  He previously served as Vice President and Chief Program Officer for the Northwest Area Foundation, which focuses on supporting organizations to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity in an eight-state region (2007-2014). Prior to that, he was president and CEO for NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center (2002-2007) and Director of Planning and Development for Hennepin County (1999-2002). He held leadership roles with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, and the City of Minneapolis.  He has additional administrative experience with the Minneapolis Public Schools and Scott County.


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 - November 2016 District 7 Update


On the Metropolitan Council, Cunningham chairs the Community Development Committee and also serves on the Management and Litigation Review special committees.

“The metropolitan regions that are best able to address the issues of transit, affordable housing, the environment, and stewardship of our resources and our amenities will be the most competitive nationally and globally,” Cunningham said. “The Council’s public policy and planning decisions have far-reaching implications for the livability, sustainability and viability of this region.”

“Most of all, I’m interested in building bridges between the Council and its various stakeholders,” he added. “Communities and people impacted by the Council’s decisions need to be a part of the decision-making process.”

Cunningham has a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Metropolitan State University and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University.  He served as an associate collegiate program leader and research fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs (1998-1999).

He is married to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. He has two children and four granchildren and lives in the Lyndale neighborhood of Minneapolis.

To contact Cunningham, you may call 612-259-6568, or email