St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman just back from a political trip to Israel, confirmed that he’s planning to run for a third term in 2013.
“It’s a safe bet,” he told me Monday.
I’d raised the question because just before he left on the trip, he was elected second vice president of the National League of Cities, which means he’s in line to be president of the group in 2014.
And that couldn’t happen if he doesn’t seek, and win, a third term.
“It doesn’t seem like you’d put yourself in that position, if you weren’t going to run again,” I told him.
“That’s good detective work,” Coleman said.
If Coleman does win another term and stays through 2017, he’d have served 12 years in the job, still a bit short of former Mayor George Latimer’s record 13-year reign.
As for the Israel trip, Coleman said: “it was fantastic.”
He and several other U.S. mayors wanted to learn more about how Israel is so good at developing entrepreneurs, and Coleman said he found a sense of urgency in Israel that promotes that entrepreneurial spirit. He’s hoping to use some of that information as local leaders try to reinvigorate the metro area’s entrepreneurial culture.
“And they have mandatory military service in Israel, so the smart young people compete for elite units and get command authority, which turns them into improvisers and natural leaders. It’s not top-down, like in the U.S. Army, so they are able to question authority. If they mess up, they learn their lessons and do better. And that all sets the stage to be better entrepreneurs,” he said.
He said the group met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and learned how well the country incorporates immigrants into the culture.
“It wasn’t lost on me that the American Century was preceded by decades of immigration here,” he said.
And they also did the tourist stuff on the trip, which was paid for by Project Interchange, which brings people from around the world to Israel for educational visits.
“We saw all the religious and historic sites, we went to Bethlehem and we saw the Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem,” he said.
“As an old Catholic boy, it was pretty damn cool.”