Statement on Washington Football Franchise

It has never been right to disrespect the indigenous people of our country, and it is especially wrong to do it in 2013 with the name of a team that represents our nation’s capital.

I stand with elected officials across the country, including members of the Minneapolis City Council, and many, many others who believe it is long past time to change the name of Washington’s NFL team. It is deeply disappointing that calls for respect have not been heard, and I will join others in looking for ways to bring change, including urging those who agree to boycott merchandise of the Washington Football Franchise.

I have a son who lives in Washington who, thankfully, remains a Viking fan, but if he ever changes allegiance, he should not count on his dad buying him anything that uses their derogatory name and logo. - Mayor R.T. Rybak

Three things to do before you vote Tuesday

This will be an exciting weekend as candidates and their supporters make their final case. This has been one of the most positive and constructive campaigns for Mayor that I can remember, and I hope all candidates can resist going negative now so we can all make a positive, informed decision. 

Three things I request you do before you vote:

1) Rank your vote

Watch this great video that explains Ranked Choice Voting. Yes, we have to fix the fact that it’s too easy to get on the ballot. But don’t blame the length of the ballot on Ranked Choice Voting, which is really quite simple. Just decide who your top three candidates are, in order, and vote for them that way.

2) Follow the money

Read this very important piece in the Star Tribune that reviews who is giving money to the candidates. Getting a contribution from someone does not mean they can “buy you,” but it is important for voters to know who will have influence and who is putting lots of money into this campaign.

3) Read the fine print

Be very skeptical of last-minute attacks in the mail, and look to the bottom of the piece for the disclaimer, meaning who paid for it. If it doesn’t have a candidate’s name on it, ask more questions.

Specifically, be very skeptical about attacks you may see from the Minneapolis firefighters union. Now let me be totally clear: I have a tremendous respect for the professionals in the Fire Department who protect us every day.  They are heroes. However, the union that represents them is known for bombastic attack literature that often comes late in a campaign.  I saw a piece in the 13th Ward that misleadingly attacked me while encouraging a vote for a Council candidate. Bluntly: if it comes in the last week of a campaign, be very skeptical of anything you hear from the fire union and their leader, who is known for being over the top and not always accurate.

Now, independent expenditures are not coordinated with campaigns, so even if someone makes an inaccurate attack, blame the people who sent it, not necessarily the candidate that they’re supporting. But be skeptical.

Now go vote

Let me again say how much I respect the very positive nature of this campaign — it says great things about the candidates and the people of Minneapolis. Now get out there and vote next Tuesday, November 5.


I’ve said it before and I’m happy to say it again, Minnesota Nice is about to get Surly. The City of Minneapolis and Surly Brewing have been great partners over the years. We rallied the voices of activists across the state together to pass the bill that allowed this project to move forward, then worked together to transform this formerly blighted site into a destination brewery and the next Minneapolis beer hot spot. Our partnership is a great example of small business and government working together to create good jobs in manufacturing, hospitality and tourism — and, let’s not forget, a really delicious local product. - Mayor R.T. Rybak

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Today we reopened the historic North Branch Library as the EMERGE Career and Technology Center, a technology-driven workforce-development center where young people and folks who’ve had trouble finding work will get training to find not just jobs, but careers. Years ago, this historic building was the place that a lot of children who grew up to be Minneapolis’ leaders got their first exposure to the world. Starting today, EMERGE is making sure that it will do the same once again for the most important generation of children we’ve ever raised. - Mayor R.T. Rybak

"Minneapolis Mayor Wants Chicago’s Gay Couples To Wed In Gopher State

The mayor of Minneapolis is making no bones about it, he wants same-sex couples to come to Minnesota to spend big bucks on weddings, since they can’t get married yet in Illinois. He visited the CBS 2 Morning News to explain why gay couples should tie the knot in Minneapolis.” - CBS Chicago

Last week, I announced major investments in Minneapolis’ future and a 1% property-tax cut. Want to hear more about what it means for you, your neighborhood and our city? You can watch my budget speech anytime, either on the City’s website or rebroadcast 3 times a week through November on Minneapolis city government TV (Channel 79): Wednesdays at 12:00 noon, Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 8:00 pm. Grab a bowl of popcorn…

photo: City Pages

Mayor R.T. Rybak Announces Minneapolis’ First Community Solar Garden
Minneapolis, MN — (July 18, 2013) — Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak along with MN Community Solar Principal Dustin Denison and CEO Ken Bradley, and Northern Sun Merchandising President Scott Cramer announced the signing of Minneapolis’ first community solar garden on Thursday, July 18 at 8:00 a.m. at Northern Sun Merchandising. Community solar gardens make it possible for electric customers to purchase solar power without having to put solar panels on their roofs, make solar available to the 75% of residential customers who previously lacked access.

Thank you for 13 years of amazing parades.

I joined a very important voice for immigration reform at the Depot in Minneapolis yesterday: Carlos Gutiérrez, who served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush. Secretary Gutiérrez is president of Republicans for Immigration Reform, and his comments to a gathering of business, government and community immigration leaders from here and around the country underscored why business leaders like him see our economic growth is tied to common-sense ways to incorporate foreign-born residents into the workforce.

Equally important were the young representatives of the City of Minneapolis who joined me at the conference. One was Victor Cedeño, who at age 12 came to the U.S. — Iowa, in fact — from the Dominican Republic speaking no English. He succeeded in school, graduated college, got into the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, did remarkable work as an intern in our office last summer and is now working on next year’s budget as one of my policy aides.  With us also were three Urban Scholars, who are college students interning in the city this summer:  Muna Ahmed, whose family is from Yemen, Jessica Patino, whose family comes from Ecuador, and Ahmed Abdulle, whose roots are in Somalia.

Gutiérrez and immigration-reform leaders from across the country got to see that Minneapolis is growing a new workforce with bright lights like Victor, Muna, Jessica and Ahmed.  They have language and cultural skills that are making us a more global city. Their examples show us that at this critical time in the country’s history, we can’t wait for the House of Representatives to finally join the President and Senate in passing immigration reform.  Yes, this is a complex issue, but the overwhelming sense from this conference is that it is time, past time, to reform our system and make it work better for everyone, and our economy.  The examples of so many immigrants’ succeeding here make that point even more strongly.

We learned some interesting statistics about immigration in Minneapolis. About 15% of Minneapolis residents are foreign-born, which is twice the percentage of the rest of the state and two points higher than the country as a whole.  It’s also important to note that immigrants and immigrant families account for the majority of our population growth, and this will be even more true as time goes on: while the average age of white residents of Minneapolis is about 36, the average for immigrants is about 10 years younger. 

Growth alone won’t lead to success, but hard work by many immigrants has led to real economic success. As just one example, Minnesota’s Latino community now has a buying power of $5.1 billion, and Latino-owned businesses employ 6,000 people and have sales totaling $1.6 billion.

The City of Minneapolis has helped in many ways, including by helping immigrant entrepreneurs grow. Our Small Business Technical Assistance Program supports non-profit business consulting organizations that work in immigrant communities to deliver a wide variety of technical assistance to business owners who want to grow in Minneapolis. We are on track to serve 650 business owners and entrepreneurs this year alone, and very large number of them are immigrant entrepreneurs.

City government has also developed special partnerships with Muslim business owners whose faith prohibits them from taking a traditional business loan that is repaid with interest. We worked with the African Development Center to develop an alternative financial tool to help grow small businesses in that community, and we have been able to help an additional 63 businesses with that tool.

Our visitors at the conference were impressed by this progress, but nothing impressed them more than what we have done with our STEP-UP summer-jobs program.  Half the 18,000 students that have gone through STEP-UP so far are from immigrant families, so we know we are building a global workforce that is better than most cities.

With all that good news, I did have to share one issue where our city is badly lagging: education. Minneapolis’ achievement gap is the largest of any big city in America. For example, only 35% of Latino students in Minneapolis schools graduate on time, about half the rate of white students.  About 54% of Latino graduates enroll directly in post-secondary schools, compared to 77% of white students. We simply cannot be a great city when these gaps exist, and no matter how good we should feel about some of the progress, we must and will more to close the unacceptable racial achievement gaps in our city.

I left the conference feeling recharged by the opportunities and ready for the battles that we face ahead of us to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Our city was built in part by immigrants who powered the mills that turned Minneapolis into the city we are today. Investing in today’s immigrants will help us become the even greater city that we know we can be.

This year we have a lot to celebrate: on August 1st, all Minnesotans will finally have the freedom to marry. This year’s PRIDE parade was a massive celebration of everything that we have accomplished together over so many years. Thank you Minnesota for allowing all Minnesotans the opportunity to marry who they love.