Who’s Who: Minneapolis city elections 2009

A look at some of the players in the 2009 Minneapolis elections, including candidates vying for seats in University wards.

As filings closed last week for those wishing to run in the 2009 Minneapolis city elections, nearly 100 hopefuls dropped their name in the hat for a seat in City Hall. With the city switching over to ranked-choice voting this November âÄî a system where voters rank candidates by preference âÄî it has become increasingly important that residents are familiar with multiple candidates. Included in the mass of candidates running for mayor, city council and various boards is a long-time musician, small business owners and several recent graduates of the University of Minnesota, who are hoping to take the council seats that represent University communities.

Mayor of Minneapolis

Raymond Thomas (R.T.) Rybak, Jr.

Incumbent, running for third term as mayor Party: Endorsed by the Democratic Farmer Labor Party Age: 53 Background: Rybak graduated from Boston College in 1978, after which he worked as a journalist for various Twin Cities publications, including the Minneapolis Star Tribune and as publisher of the former Twin Cities Reader. He also did online work for Internet Broadcasting Systems Inc., and projects for Minnesota Public Radio and Public Radio International. Rybak also did marketing for the Minneapolis Downtown Council . In 2001, Rybak defeated Sharon Sayles-Belton for mayor. He took office in January 2002, and was elected to a second term in November 2005. In May 2009, Rybak was endorsed as the DFL candidate for a third term as mayor of Minneapolis âÄî his first endorsement from the party. Platform: Rybak has said he has four major goals for Minneapolis: reducing crime, improving infrastructure, education and creating economic opportunity in the city. Web: rtrybak.com

Papa John Kolstad

First-time run for mayor Party: Endorsed by Independence and Republican parties Age: 66 Background: Kolstad is a long-time Minneapolis resident and performer. âÄúIâÄôm part of this cityâÄôs history,âÄù he said of his performing career, which spans more than 40 years. Kolstad currently owns Mill City Music, a national music distributor with two record labels, and has been active in many Minneapolis organizations, including the former chair of the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition Steering Committee, board member of the Metro Independent Business Alliance and former member of the Lake Street Council. Platform: Kolstad said he hopes to do an audit of the city to provide transparency in spending, and give a voice to small businesses that he feels are underrepresented by Minneapolis city government. Web:myspace.com/papajohnkolstad

Bill McGaughey

Ran in 2001 for mayor Party: New Dignity Party Age: 68 Background: McGaughey graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 1964. He has been active in Minnesota political races, including a run for the U.S. Senate as an Independence candidate in 2002 and a run against Rep. Keith Ellison last year for the fifth congressional district seat . He is currently a rental property owner in Minneapolis, previously the cost accountant of the Metro Transit, a self published author and co-director of Metro Property Rights Action Committee, a group for Minneapolis landlords. Platform: McGaughey said Minneapolis city government is somewhat dysfunctional, and wants to improve the way itâÄôs run. He also wants to work on stereotyping in city government. Web: newindependenceparty.org Other candidates: Dick Franson and Al Flowers, DFL; John Charles Wilson, Edgertonite National Party; Tom Fiske, Socialist Workers Party; Joey Lombard, Is Awesome Party; Bob Carney Jr., Moderate Progressive Censored; James R. Everett, Social Entrepreneurship; and Christopher Clark, Libertarian.

Ward 2

Como, Prospect Park , Cooper, Seward , Cedar Riverside and University neighborhoods.

Cam Gordon

Incumbent, running for second term in Ward 2 Party: Endorsed by the Green Party of Minnesota Age: 53 Background: Gordon is a long-time resident of Ward 2 and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1977. From there, Gordon went on to complete graduate work in early childhood development. He is a writer, musician and a Montessori teacher. Gordon was past co-chair of the Seward Neighborhood Group, NRP Implementation Committee and a founding member of the Green Party in Minnesota. Platform: Gordon said he wants to continue his work on making Minneapolis environmentally sustainable and hopes to improve equality and democracy in Minneapolis. Web: camgordon.org

Allen Aigbogun

First-time run for Ward 2 Party: Running as Independent but Republican endorsed Age: 25 Background: Aigbogun graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in political science and sociology, and graduated from William Mitchell College of Law in May with a law degree. Last year, Aigbogun interned at the Wright County Public Defender Office. Platform: Aigbogun said he wants to have a city audit, protect small businesses by reducing fees, create transparency and accountability in the city and preserve the Minneapolis Park Board and the Board of Estimate and Taxation. Web:allenforminneapolis.com Other candidates: None

Ward 3

McKinley, Hawthorne, Bottineau, Sheridan, St. Anthony West and East, Beltrami, Nicollet Island and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods

Diane Hofstede

Incumbent, running for second term in Ward 3 Party: Endorsed by the Democratic Farmer Labor Party Age: Would not comment Background: Hofstede received a bachelorâÄôs degree in science and masters from the University of Minnesota. She began her career in 1971 as a school teacher and curriculum specialist for Minneapolis Public Schools where she served for eight years. Hofstede served as a member of the Minneapolis Library Board for 20 years from 1985 to 2005. Hofstede also served as a senior financial advisor with Waddell and Reed. Platform: Hofstede said she plans to continue her ongoing focus on public safety, problems with foreclosures, community engagement, economic development and further her work with the University District Partnership Alliance. Web: dianehofstede.com

Jeffrey Cobia

First-time run for Ward 3 Party: Republican Age: 25 Background: Cobia, who received a bachelorâÄôs degree in engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduated in May from the University of Minnesota Law School. He was president of Alpha Phi Omega , a co-ed fraternity focused on community service. He also volunteered for three years at the Family Justice Center in Minneapolis . Platform: Cobia said he wishes to address conflicts he has seen with the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association and business and property owners. Cobia feels the student population needs to be better represented, and hopes to address affordable housing and crime rates in Ward 3. Web: twitter.com/jeffreycobia Other candidates: Raymond Wilson Rolfe, Libertarian Party; Allen Kathir, DFL; and Melissa Hill, Civil Disobedience.