Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Meet Minneapolis Mayor and Add-On Superdelegate RT Rybak

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com

Before I moved to Denver I lived in Minneapolis for almost 9 years. Shortly after I moved to the Twin Cities RT Rybak was elected as mayor. I can't say enough about Mayor Rybak. He's a great guy that runs a fantastic city.

Mayor Rybak was named as an add-on superdelegate on Sunday along with Dr. Josie Johnson. I'm very happy to let the world know a little more about him as a part of our Superdelegates Are People Too series.

How were you named as an add-on? Did you ask to be one or was your name submitted?

I ran on a slate with Dr. Josie Johnson, one of the great civil rights leaders in Minnesota. She gave a wonderful speech at the convention about how wonderful it was to be going to a convention to see an event she never thought would happen in her lifetime.

I have been active in the Obama campaign from the beginning....I was also active in the Draft Obama movement almost two years ago...and I have been co-chairing the Minnesota campaign from the start.

Dr. Johnson and I were chosen by the Obama campaign to run for these slots, but we were nominated by two Clinton supporters. We were unopposed.
Have you been to a convention before? If so, do you have any good stories we can pass on to our readers? If not, what are you most looking forward to?
I have never been a delegate. I went to the Boston convention as an observer and saw the Kerry speech from a box with other mayors. I also had went to both the Republican and Democratic conventions as a reporter in 1976.

This will be fun for me because I also also bringing my wife Megan, our daughter Gracie who is in high school and our son Charlie who is a freshman at George Washington University in D.C.
Do you have plans to do any sightseeing outside of Denver while you're here?
I love sightseeing but I don't want to miss a second of the event so I plan to spend all my time in Denver. (It will also help me take tips on how to be a good host from my friend Mayor Hickenlooper. As you know I have to come home right after the convention to host the Republicans.). At both conventions I expect to also be playing a role as communications director for the Association of Democratic Mayors.
Can you tell us a few words about Barack Obama

I have been deeply moved by Barack Obama's message since I first heard him speak and read his books. He calls on the best in us and I feel he can help our country live us to our potential. As someone who enter politics after being a community activist, I also believe he has a unique understanding that leading isn't just about the leader: It's about mobilizing people. And I feel he can do that for our country and the world.
Any thoughts on John McCain?
John McCain used to be know for straight talk but it's sad he turned around and embraced George Bush, and contradicted many of the stances that used to make his a unique Republican. At this point I'm not sure what he stands for.
As a supporter of the Kyoto Treaty can you tell us what your environmental hopes are for an Obama administration?
I became Mayor during some of the darkest days for our country. The Bush Administration led us into war for the wrong reasons, jeopardized basic civil rights and turned our backs on friends around the world. I was especially upset when the Bush Administration rejected Kyoto just when the world needed leadership from the U.S. on climate change. So I was very proud to join Mayor Nichols of Seattle and six other mayors as original signers of the Mayor's Climate Agreement, saying that while our country rejected the treaty, we would support it. Today there are more than 700 Mayors who have signed it and it's an example of how Mayors can help move change, and let the world know that America has not turned it's back on friends around the globe
Thanks Mayor Rybak... see you in Denver!