Thank you. Now let’s get to work.

No matter what I’ve done or will ever do, the greatest professional joy I could have is serving the city I love. When I go around town, I still get goose bumps when I think: I’m the mayor of the great city of Minneapolis.

We have gotten a tremendous amount done together: we’ve made tough choices to put the city on strong financial ground; made our streets safer, and paved a lot of them; put thousands of kids on the right track; brought 1,400 Allina jobs to the formerly vacant Sears building, sparked small businesses at the Global Market and hundreds more across Minneapolis; and much, much more.

But doing this job in the way I’ve chosen to do it involves some personal sacrifices, and right now, I owe it to those around me, and to myself, to get a bit more balance in my life. I also think that after 12 years, the city will benefit from a fresh perspective. So I will not run for a fourth term.

This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, because we are in what I believe is our most productive term, and I have never had more fun doing the work.

I also believe that Minneapolis is on the brink of becoming one of the world’s great cities. I want to help make that happen, but as I’ve thought about it in personal terms, I realized that I still can — because Minneapolis is filled with private citizens who do big and small things every day to make this a better place. I’ve been one of them before and I’ll be one again.

Whether or not I’m working as mayor, I’m going to be working for Minneapolis. And I want to assure people that I’m going to stay very involved in keeping Minneapolis moving in the right direction.

In the meantime, our team has a year left and we plan to make the most of it. We will sprint across the finish line and expect everyone around us to do the same.

In early January, we will lay out an aggressive agenda for 2013, expand on it in the State of the City in the spring, deliver our final budget in August, and work to pass it in December.

You can expect our work plan to include:

  • helping Chief Harteau reform the police department, and expanding our work to prevent youth violence and gun violence;
  • helping Superintendent Johnson and our partners improve our schools and eliminate the achievement gap;
  • expanding the Minneapolis Promise, especially the STEP-UP jobs program;
  • improving north Minneapolis, including helping the Northside Achievement Zone, building new Green Homes, and working with Hennepin County to reimagine Penn Avenue North;
  • starting to redevelop the new stadium district;
  • developing a renovation plan for the Target Center;
  • designing a new Nicollet Mall with a streetcar, and a strategy for finally reopening Nicollet and Lake;
  • and working with the Legislature on transit, Local Government Aid and reforming property taxes.

I believe in giving the taxpayers a good value for the dollar, so in the next year, Minneapolis will get about four years’ worth of work out of me.

So fasten your seatbelts. This lame duck isn’t quacking yet.

Let’s get to work.

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