MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak held his final press conference as mayor on Monday.
“I’m going to do the toughest thing for me, shut my mouth and go away,” he said, laughing.
He announced one final project before stepping down. The exit ramp off 94W into downtown Minneapolis is going to change from 5th street to 7th street. Construction on that project will begin in 2014. Fifth street will be converted into a bridge to connect West Bank to downtown.
Following the announcement, Rybak reflected on of his 12 years in office. Some of his favorite memories were less happy than they were powerful.
“The proudest I ever was was at the period of time was the hardest, which was bridge collapse and tornado in north Minneapolis,” he said. “When we did things for neighbors.”
Between his crowd surfing at First Ave, leading the pride parade, and his viral snow emergency rhymes, the ever charismatic mayor was known for going beyond the call of duty.
“I said, ‘I’m gonna come in and be an advocate,’ some people say cheerleader. I’ll take it,” he said.
Rybak leaves behind an impressive resume. He was a Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee. He made national headlines in 2013 for marrying the first gay couples in Minnesota.
“We got a lot done,” Rybak said. “I said a year ago I wasn’t going to run again, that we had four years of work to do, so let’s do it in one year.”
Rybak says he doesn’t have any regrets, but does hope to help close the achievement gap by continuing work in education.
He made it clear that while he’s leaving office, he’ll still be accessible in Minneapolis — from the streets to tweets.
“I can still do marriages, I can still mismatch my socks, I can still do Twitter,” he said. “I’m gonna be around folks.”
When he’s done being mayor, Rybak will still be downtown. He’s starting a new job as executive director at Generation Next.
As for unfinished business, Rybak says he still plans on tackling the issue of closing the achievement gap in schools.