Becka Thompson might be new to the MWMO, but she knows water. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board commissioner and new MWMO board member was born and raised in Minneapolis and spent much of her life swimming, paddling, and exploring the city’s waterbodies.
“I used to tell people I was born on the Mississippi River,” Thompson says. It’s true; Thompson was born at St. Mary’s Hospital (now M Health Fairview Riverside), which overlooks the river.
Thompson and her sister idolized Olympic swimmer Janet Evans growing up. She became a competitive swimmer herself, and later a triathlete. She worked as a lifeguard for the park system she now helps steward, and also managed the Webber Pool. Through her experiences, she came to understand the benefits of spending time in nature. Now, she hopes to make such spaces more accessible to everyone.
“I really love the fact that most of the Mississippi River as it goes through the city is pretty wild,” she says. “I’m hoping that we can reclaim some of that character on the north side.”
Thompson represents MPRB Ward 2, which includes all of North Minneapolis, from Theodore Wirth Park to Upper Harbor Terminal. A resident of the Victory neighborhood, Thompson is a newcomer to politics, having spent a long and varied career as an educator and independent film producer.
“Becoming a new politician is like drinking from a firehose,” Thompson says, adding that she’s only just beginning to learn about the many organizations, including the MWMO, that are involved in supporting and managing the area’s natural resources.
Thompson says a diverse city like Minneapolis needs to balance the needs of residents who come from different backgrounds and have different priorities. But she also sees common interests, such as the desire for welcoming spaces for all residents to recreate and enjoy nature. She thinks the Mississippi River is an obvious place to facilitate these experiences.
“I find nature’s original highways to be fascinating, and anything I can do to help them reclaim their natural territory, I will do,” she says.
Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota, a Certificate from the Juilliard School, group 31, and Master’s Degrees in Education and Business from Augsburg University. She has one child who is currently in middle school. You can learn more about her on the MPRB website.