Flanked by his family, R.T. Rybak announced today he would not seek a fourth term as Minneapolis mayor.
“Whether or not I’m working as a mayor, I’m going to be working for Minneapolis,” Rybak said at a press conference at the Midtown Global Market. “And I want to assure people that I’m going to stay very involved in keeping Minneapolis moving in the right direction.”
Rybak did not reveal his next career step, but he did not rule out a run for governor in six years or a possible post in the Obama Administration.
“I can’t take anything off the table, because in a year I am going to be unemployed, but my goal is to find something here in Minneapolis that continues some of the meaningful work I have done and I honestly don’t know what that is,” Rybak told reporters after his speech.
Rybak said he would not run for Congress and would not run for governor against Dayton. Dayton is up for re-election in 2014.
“Governor is the one other job that I would run for, but I don’t expect that would be open for six years,” he said. “I expect the governor to run again and maybe I will be in a walker by the time it’s open, but maybe I will still be interested. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Rybak said he’ll be aggressive about accomplishing goals on his agenda during his final year as mayor. Top priorities include working to prevent youth and gun violence, creating a new Vikings stadium district, creating more opportunities for the city’s youth and improving conditions in North Minneapolis.
“I believe in giving the taxpayers a good value for the dollar, so in the coming year, Minneapolis will get about four years’ worth of work out of me,” he said.
On his blog, Rybak wrote: “No matter what I’ve done or will ever do, the greatest professional joy I could have is serving the city I love. When I go around town, I still get goose bumps when I think: I’m the mayor of the great city of Minneapolis.”
Several people have already announced interest in running for mayor, including City Council Members Betsy Hodges, Don Samuels and Gary Schiff; Hussein Samatar, founder and executive director of the African Development Center; and former City Council President Jackie Cherryhomes.
Hennepin Theatre Trust CEO Tom Hoch is also contemplating a run, but hasn’t officially launched a campaign. “I want to first hear from people about what they are seeking for their city and from their next mayor before I decide,” he said. “I am all ears right now.”
Rybak said it was too early for him to endorse someone for the job.
“It’s way early. I will talk about that later, but we have a long time,” he said.
After Rybak’s press conference, Hodges released a statement praising Rybak and making her run for the mayor’s post official.
“His announcement that he will not seek a fourth term leaves a huge void, but also creates a great opportunity for those of us who believe that Minneapolis can become the great city of the 21st century to do even more to make that happen,” she wrote. “After carefully consulting with family, friends, and people of every neighborhood who care about our city, I intend to run for mayor. In the coming days, weeks and months, I look forward to hearing from residents about the future of our city and sharing my vision for Minneapolis. That conversation starts today.”
Schiff still has yet to decide if he will run, but has started a fundraising committee. Schiff has been an opponent of Rybak at times, but praised him on Twitter today.
“Thank you @MayorRTRybak for twelve years of energetic public service,” Schiff tweeted.
Council Member John Quincy (Ward 11) was the only member of the City Council in attendance at the press conference. Quincy said he is disappointed that Rybak isn’t running again.
“Well, I am not happy about it at all. He has been a tremendous mayor and I was looking forward to another term, but if that’s his decision, I think that’s a terrific opportunity for him and we will look forward to that,” he said.
More council members could still announce runs for mayor. Quincy, when asked if he would run, quipped that he might be the only one on the council who is not.
“No, I am not. I am the only one,” Quincy said.