R.T. Rybak

In post-Katrina America, all that an elected official needs to do to look better than the Bush administration is show up at a disaster site in a timely manner and not make things worse. Still, after the I-35W collapse, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak did a lot more than that. He was on the horrific scene promptly and consistently—not merely to pose among rubble, but to learn what went wrong and why. When he said during the hurried planning for a new bridge, "I believe a large number of people want this bridge to symbolize the rebuilding of a community in some way," he proved that a politician can be compassionate while being collected. Rybak also ushered in a double-digit drop in violent crime in 2007 and oversaw the completion of a citywide wireless internet system. Both will make life in Minneapolis significantly better for residents and visitors.


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