MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said Thursday afternoon he won’t seek a fourth term in office.
Rybak made the announcement at a news conference at the Midtown Global Market. His third term as head of Minnesota’s largest city expires after next year. He said after 11 years in office, it’s time for him and his family to get more balance.
However, he’s not resting on his laurels.
“In the next year Mpls will get 4 years worth of work out of me,” Rybak tweeted following the announcement. “So fasten your seatbelts. This lame duck ain’t quacking yet.”
After the press conference, he added: “Over the holidays, I finally came to the realization I can continue working on issues as a person in Minneapolis. I’ve done it before and I can do it again. I realized I don’t have to walk away from my work.”
The Democrat has led the city of almost 400,000 people for more than a decade. Several potential candidates have expressed interest in running, although some were waiting on the incumbent’s plans.
When asked what it would take for him to endorse a mayoral candidate, Rybak didn’t want to talk about it.
“We’ll talk about that later,” he said. “We’ve got a long time.”
As for who wants Rybak’s job, two city councilors have already expressed interest. City Councilor Betsy Hodges announced she intends to run for mayor in 2013 on her website Thursday. City Councilor Gary Schiff formed an exploratory committee this summer and expects to make an announcement in January.
“I think the year’s going to bring out a lot of people who are passionate about Minneapolis and who really want to contribute in a way that they can to make us stronger in the future,” Schiff said.
Hamline University Professor David Schultz thinks anyone who follows in Rybak’s footsteps will have certain challenges.
“I think the bar that Mayor Rybak set was he was a very charismatic mayor for Minneapolis and very much a cheerleader,” Schultz said. “He creates a legacy in terms of a tough act to follow, in terms of personality, and in terms of cheerleader. Perhaps, the next person has to carve a different path.”
The 57-year-old Rybak has been mentioned as a possible addition to President Barack Obama’s administration or a future contender for governor. But when asked about working for the president, Rybak said his goal is to “find something here in Minneapolis.”
Schultz thinks that Rybak has a few different options once he leaves office. But Schultz doesn’t think running for a political office will be in the near future, as democrats hold the U.S. Senate seat, his congressional district and the governor’s office.
“He either goes off to Washington, in terms of serving in the Obama administration, or looks elsewhere in the private sector,” he said.
When asked about a run for governor Thursday, Rybak entertained the idea, saying that although he may be in a walker by the time the office is open, he might still be interested.
“We’ll just have to see then,” he said.
Since Rybak took over, the city has undergone a dramatic transformation. Two major sports stadiums have been built and a third is on the way. Rybak also took a visible role in the aftermath of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse.
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