Minneapolis mayor pushes for DFL endorsement today, jets to China tomorrowby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak spent the morning gladhanding with supporters at the city's DFL Convention today, before he flies to China tomorrow to promote Minneapolis as a travel and business destination.
Minneapolis — Rybak is looking for the DFL's endorsement of his 2009 mayoral campaign, although he is also reportedly considering running for Governor in 2010.
The mayor was one of many candidates seeking the Democratic party's support at the convention, which was held at Washburn High School.
More than 1,000 delegates attended the convention to endorse a candidate for mayor and other offices up for election this year.
Rybak said he's continuing to focus on the agenda he's been pushing all year.
"I want to come out of here with a unified party, a unified city and just come roaring into these next few years moving the economy forward, continuing to keep crime going down, improving our schools," Rybak said "We have a very aggressive agenda in very tough times; we need a united city to get it done and my job is to unite the party and then go on and unite the city and make sure that we keep building a great Minneapolis."
The mayor's endorsement push kicked off with a short rally outside the school.
The mayor leaves tomorrow for China. The trip is part of Minneapolis' strategy to strengthen the city's ties to major Chinese cities.
Rybak was invited to speak at the International Forum on Development of High-Tech Enterprises at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Rybak is the only U.S. Mayor and one of a few Americans speaking at the Forum. The mayor also plans to visit Minneapolis' Sister City Harbin, including a stop at the new "Minneapolis Hall" in Harbin's Sister Cities Museum.
Rybak said the recent Northwest-Delta merger has well-positioned the Twin Cities as a global and regional business destination with a major airline hub.
"If we can build these bridges now, we can bring millions of dollars into the community when there is a job to be had," Rybak said. "I'll grow it in Minneapolis or I'll grow it in China and this is a good use."
Officials said the trip, which will cost about $3,000, is funded through a designated convention and tourism expansion fund.