MAYOR 101: Rybak returns to classroom after heart attack - New York News

MAYOR 101: Rybak returns to classroom after heart attack

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Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is back, but he's got a different title these days -- professor. After suffering a major heart attack last month, Rybak is now teaching a class at the University of Minnesota.

The course is called "Mayor 101," and Fox 9 News caught up with him in his lecture hall to learn how he came to be in City Hall.

"Tonight, I'll tell the story of my first campaign," Rybak said.

Although he was certainly in front of cameras in his classroom, his focus was preparing his students for what may be in store for them.

"I hope there are at least a couple future mayors in the seats," Rybak said. "Maybe a president or two of the United States -- maybe one of Somalia."

Rybak joined the U as a distinguished visiting member of a joint effort between the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the College of Design.

"It's kind of a neat experience," University of Minnesota junior Brad Sprangers said. "A lot of us are architecture students. We don't usually have the mix between public policy and architecture. It's different."

Rybak's first weekly class came about a month after the 58-year-old suffered a heart attack. He insists his health is fine now, and he joked that he was excited to teach roughly 100 students all the things he wished he had known before running for office.

"I'll try to tell some personal anecdotes, get into some policy," Rybak pledged. "More than anything, I just want them to think about what it's like to sit in the chair of a mayor."

One of the former mayor's first lessons involved making his students conduct a mock door-knock. The assignment involved introducing themselves and trying to earn their classmates' votes.

Now that Rybak is trying on a new hat, political observers are wondering if he may be done with elected office altogether. Some had wondered whether he would be chosen to fill the vacancy on Gov. Mark Dayton's second-term ticket, but Rybak dismissed that idea wholeheartedly on Monday.

"No," he stated. "There was never a second in which I was under consideration, nor was I asked."

Yet, Hamline University's political science professor, David Schultz, said he doubts Minnesotans have seen the last of Rybak in the voting booth. In fact, he predicts that Rybak will run for his previously stated dream job of governor in the future.

"He wants to stay in the state of Minnesota, and after being the mayor of Minneapolis -- the only other place to go at this point is probably up to the governor's race," Schultz said.

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