Why R.T. Rybak should run for governor

The Minnesota governors race is heating up. This is the DFL’s best chance to at long last elect a governor. The last time that happened was 1986, over 20 years ago. And we can elect a progressive governor who will do us proud and bring a strong campaign to voters in 2010. I believe this candidate is Minneapolis’s Mayor R.T. Rybak. That’s why I’m helping organize the Draft Rybak grassroots movement. Let me explain why for a bit and invite you to our kickoff.

He can win: The latest poll of the race showed Rybak as the strongest candidate, leading Norm Coleman and with the best favorability rating of all DFL candidates. A earlier poll showed him as the second strongest candidate behind Mark Dayton. Obviously polls do not mean much this far out. But Rybak has shown he is a tough campaigner, good debater and can effectively communicate a clear and effective message to the public. He can bring that statewide, he’s already campaigned around the state for Barack Obama and other DFL candidates. He is the strongest candidate on our side running for governor. He can win. And he should win beacuse he’s great on the issues.  

He Should Win:

Rybak has a clear record standing up and doing the right thing on the issues that matter the most. A clear record that stands in stark contrast to the failed Pawlenty Era.

Leading the creation of a new green economy:

This is personally the issue that matters most to me. Rybak has been very active in pushing for investments in the new green economy to spur sustainable growth in our country and in our state. Here are some of the most notable efforts he’s been involved in.

-Promoting Renewable Energy: The city has installed solar panels on three of it’s buildings and Rybak has been working with state leaders who have more authority on the issue to promoting renewable energy with great results already. The ambition of state polices put in place over the next few years is going to determine which states become the leaders in the America’s green economy (as will the federal polices in determining if America is a leader in the world’s green economy). If Minnesota acts now and acts boldly it can be the economic engine that keeps our state great and produces thousands of living wage jobs. Minnesota is already forth in the nation in wind power installed and we have one of the highest potentials in the nation. We should aim to be number one in the nation. And although Minnesota is not seen as a prime location for solar we have better solar potential than Germany which has more solar than any other country.

-A new vision for transit: Rybak presided over the opening of Minnesota’s first light rail line and has been working hard to expand light rail to connect with St Cloud and St Paul. He was one of the first mayors to sign onto Transportation for America’s visionary campaign. He’s also developed a plan to begin development of a new streetcar system and his efforts to make biking easier has resulted in Minneapolis being named one of the best places to bike in the world, only Portland has a higher percentage of citizens who bike to work.

Homegrown Minneapolis: A initiative to help promote local food which boosts the local economy in addition to reducing emissions.

In short, Minnesota has the environmental attitude, the spirit of innovation and potential to lead the new energy economy. But we need a leader who provides strong leadership to get us there with bold action. He’s already made Minneapolis one of the greenest cities in the country, we need him to help transform Minnesota.

Minneapolis Promise:

2006 Mayor Rybak made a commitment to Minneapolis students – the Minneapolis Promise – which says to our youth that if they stay in school and focus on where they want to go Minneapolis will help them get there. To achieve that he’s focused on three areas.

-Achieve! Career and College Initiative: Through this initiative Minneapolis has opened AchieveMpls Career and College Centers in all of Minneapolis’s schools. It helps ensure that the youth can transition from high school to higher education and work.

STEP-UP, a summer job program for youth to help them find employment and train them so they have the skills in life to find a job and earn a living. The best way to combat poverty, crime and save the government money in the long term is by giving youth education and the skills to have a good job. This is a extremely important program that should be expanded statewide.

The Power of YOU provides financial assistance to pay for up to two years at Metro State or MCTC if you’ve graduated from highschool in Minneapolis. It’s hard to find a long term job unless you have a degree. This program helps many of those who couldn’t afford it otherwise get that degree and get that upward mobility in life.

Public Safety:

Juvenile crime in Minneapolis has dropped 42% over the last two years exactly beacuse of investments like that in our youth. That is part of a overall record on public safety that again shows what R.T.’s leadership can do. In every precinct in Minneapolis crime has decreased over his tenure. He’s shown a better model for public safety, investing in our youth, investing in our people, that’s what will really reduce crime in the long term.  

Fiscal Responsibility:

Minneapolis has successfully balanced it’s budget without cruel cuts to basic human services despite Pawlenty’s destruction of LGA. As Mayor Rybak says

I put Minneapolis’ fiscal prudence up against the State’s any day

The budget problem is not going away in 2011. We need someone who can make the tough and responsible choices as governor, not someone who uses gimmicks and lies to hide his failed fiscal leadership beacuse he’s sworn loyalty to the extremist anti-tax teabaggers.


R.T. has also shown exceptional judgment. He opposed the Iraq War from the start, he was involved in the “Draft Obama” movement and was the first mayor to endorse Obama when he announced and while John Kerry was campaigning against gay marriage, Rybak was standing up for equal rights for ALL Americans.

Those are just a few of the reasons why I am for R.T. Rybak running for governor. And to get him to run for governor we need to Draft Rybak. If we are going to Draft Rybak we need your help. Go to our site and sign up to get involved. Follow us on Twitter, join our Facebook group. And if you want to get involved or learn more we’ve got our first organizational meeting tomorow. On Facebook you can check out the details and RSVP, it will be a great event.

We are just getting started. We need a governor who will provide bold leadership after years of failed conservative polices. We need RT Rybak to run for governor in 2010.

Join us.  

MN-GOV: Pawlenty under 50 in new SUSA poll

We still have 531 days until the 2010 election but the race for governor in Minnesota has already been underway for months. Seven major candidates have entered the DFL field and I continue to hear buzz about five more. Tim Pawlenty remains publicly undecided about if he will run for re-election to a third term or not.

With all that in mind KSTP commissioned a poll from SurveyUSA pitting 9 current or potential DFL candidates against Pawlenty. All announced candidates minus Steve Kelly and plus R.T. Rybak, Chris Coleman and Margaret Anderson Kelliher. It has a fairly small sample size of 552 and doesn’t take into account potential IP or other third party candidates but it’s still interesting to political junkies like me (and probably you if your reading this). It has very good news for R.T. Rybak and Mark Dayton.

In addition it’s very bad news for Tim Pawlenty. When a incumbent is under 50 percent they are considered vulnerable in politics. Three candidates hold him under that mark.  

First here is a link if you want the entire poll, crosstabs and all.

47% Tim Pawlenty

43% Mark Dayton

10% Undecided

This is very good news for Dayton. His camp will use this heavily. He has a nice argument developing for his candidacy. He is the only candidate who has won statewide, he polls the best and has strong stances on the issues to boot. He’s already a household name among DFL activists and has a loyal base of support. Entenza has been making smart staff hires, campaigning hard and picking up endorsements recently so this gives the Dayton camp some much needed momentum.

47% Tim Pawlenty

42% R.T. Rybak

11% Undecided

Out of all the potential candidates Rybak is shaping up to be the strongest. Current legislators seem to be doing poorly, Gaertner and Coleman have RNC issues to deal with and Entenza, Dayton and Kelly are longtime players in statewide politics which could damage them among some. Plus he already has a statewide base of loyal suporters from campaigning extremely hard for Barack Obama and other DFL candidates in 2008. He’s running for re-election in 2009 and so can’t do much until November but I wouldn’t be suprised if he’s already taking a very hard look at running.

48% Tim Pawlenty

37% Chris Coleman

15% Undecided

Solid numbers for Coleman who seems to be making clear signals that he’s in the race but it won’t help that his fellow big city mayor is doing 6 points better then him.

51% Tim Pawlenty

37% Matt Entenza

12% Undecided

Encouraging signs for his campaign that he’s doing better then any current legislators including MAK  but he still has a lot of work to do closing the gap.  

50% Tim Pawlenty

36% Susan Gaertner

14% Undecided

Decent numbers for the Gaertner camp. They can point to the fact that she’s doing better then all the legislators and keeps Pawlenty to 50 percent but it won’t matter much if she can’t put together a viable endorsement campaign.

52% Tim Pawlenty

34% Tom Bakk

14% Undecided

Bakk has a slightly more influential position then Thissen which probably is why he does three points better but he’s never run for statewide office and is from the Iron Range so it’s not hugely surprising that not many people know who he is and thus tell pollsters they wouldn’t vote for him.

51% Tim Pawlenty

34% John Marty

15% Undecided

Marty was on the ballot statewide in 1994 so you’d hope he would do a little better then this. But the gap between him and Pawlenty is about half as much as how much he lost to Arne Carlson by so it’s progress I guess.

51% Tim Pawlenty

34% Margaret Anderson Kelliher

15% Undecided

Not very good news for Kelliher and will probably make her think twice about giving up the Speakership which she could probably hold for decades (she’s in her early 40s) for a risky run for governor.

51% Tim Pawlenty

32% Paul Thissen

17% Undecided

Not great numbers for Thissen but not very surprising. How many people do you think know who he is? He’s a state representative who isn’t in the leadership and has been serving for 7 years. I can’t imagine his name ID was very high.

There you have it. It is a long, long way until the election and if polls decided elections President Hillary Clinton would be sitting in the White House currently (and would be nominating Barack Obama to be Justice Barack Obama?) but this is very good news for Rybak and Dayton and not good news for MAK and the rest of the legislators. It’s interesting that Steve Kelly got left out. What’s up with that KSTP?