ericroper_1359493510_schiffannounces“I will be a voice for Minneapolis’ forgotten. For those who feel ignored,” Minneapolis City Councilman Gary Schiff told a packed room of supporters as he formally announced his bid for mayor Tuesday.

Schiff, who is openly gay, has proven to be an effective leader throughout his 12 years serving Minneapolis’ Ward 9 on the City Council. In February 2012, a reporter for the Minnesota Daily wrote that Schiff is “possibly the most active and popular City Council member.”

In addition to fighting against healthcare discrimination for the city’s LGBT community, Schiff has authored initiatives including implementing an indoor smoking ban, forcing taxis to take credit cards, and a law to allow local microbreweries.

Last year, the Twin Cities Business Journal named Schiff as Minneapolis’ most business-friendly City Council member, noting his “desire to simplify regulations that make it challenging for businesses to get started.” Over 100 local small businesses have already signed on to support Schiff’s mayoral run. Several of those business owners, along with members of the firefighters union, were in the crowd of supporters at the kickoff event.

Schiff graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1994 with a degree in women’s studies. He hosted his campaign launch at a brewery on campus last night, and his connection to the University promises to play an important role in his campaign and in his tenure as Mayor, if elected.

“I think there are a lot of untapped partnerships between City Hall and [University administration headquarters] Morrill Hall that need to be leveraged so that students graduating know that there will be a job waiting for them when they get out,” he told Minnesota Daily.

According to the Star Tribune, this election will be the city’s biggest test yet of ranked choice voting, which eliminates a primary by allowing voters to list their second and third preferences on the ballot. Schiff is confident in the process:

“I think the nature of instant runoff voting is going to reduce the negativity in this campaign,” Schiff said. “And I think people are going to run on their vision and their ideas for the city.”

Prior to his election to the City Council, Schiff worked with the Human Rights Campaign and Progressive Minnesota as an advocate for LGBT equality. He would be Minneapolis’ first openly gay mayor.

The Victory Fund proudly endorses Gary Schiff for Mayor of Minneapolis.

Photo: Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune