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CLUC hosts Minneapolis mayoral debate with candidates Peter McLaughlin and R.T. Rybak

See accompanying photo essay

April 14, 2005

By Steve Share, Labor Review editor

MINNEAPOLIS — Sparks flew at the United Labor Centre April 14 as Minneapolis mayoral candidates Peter McLaughlin and incumbent R.T. Rybak faced off in a 90-minute debate. The Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council (CLUC) hosted the debate, centered on the theme of “Good Jobs and Economic Policy.”

The debate came one month to the day before the May 14 Minneapolis DFL convention, where both candidates will seek endorsement. (Only McLaughlin, however, pledges to honor the endorsement).

Nick Coleman, Star Tribune columnist and AM 950 talk show host, served as the debate moderator. He invited the crowd of 350-400 to “feel free to support your favorite with applause” and they did.

Both candidates said they worked as coalition builders committed to labor’s causes. Both cited their own leadership qualities and offered pointed attacks on the other candidate’s alleged shortcomings.

“I’ve been a progressive, pro-labor mayor of Minneapolis in the toughest of times,” said Rybak, who has served one term as Minneapolis mayor.

“There aren’t massive differences between Peter and I,” he said. “As soon as this election is over,” he said, “I want us to stand together in the fight we really need to have — to take back the state of Minnesota.”

“There are big differences here,” said McLaughlin, a 14-year Hennepin County Commissioner who also served five years representing Minneapolis in the Minnesota House. “Who do you think is best capable of leading this city in the direction we want it to go?”

“This city deserves a debate about our future,” McLaughlin said. “Labor deserves a role in our future and will play a central role in keeping our city strong.”

The CLUC does not expect to make an endorsement in the Mayor’s race before the DFL city convention, said CLUC president Bill McCarthy. “Instead, we’ve been asking the candidates to support the issues outlined in our ‘Local Agenda for Good Jobs and Strong Communities.’”

The Minneapolis Television Network videotaped the debate and MTN Channel 16 will replay it April 23 and 30 (Saturdays) at 8:00 p.m. and April 21 and 28 (Thursdays) at 10:00 p.m.

Download CLUC's 'Local Agenda for Good Jobs and Strong Communities' (PDF)
(304 KB download)

For more information on the candidates:

Peter McLaughlin

R.T. Rybak

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