More than a decade after leaving political office, Jackie Cherryhomes on Saturday launched her bid for mayor of Minneapolis.

The former City Council president told a large crowd at Standard Heating and Air Conditioning on Plymouth Avenue N. that she had learned a lot since her City Hall days.

"I learned from being a mom, I learned from owning my small business, I learned from working on the outside of government and I've seen what works and what not so much ... I found new ways to contribute as a citizen," Cherryhomes said. "All these experiences, together with my experiences as an elected leader, all uniquely position me to change, transform and lead this city."

Since her dozen years on the council, Cherryhomes, 58, transformed her political connections and knowledge of local government into a consulting and lobbying business. She's advocated the interests of garbage haulers, big developers, small stores and nonprofits.

Cherryhomes said she would not lobby in City Hall during the campaign. She plans to continue other work for clients that does not involve lobbying the city.

During her time on the council in the 1990s, Minneapolis purchased Target Center, opened the redeveloped Block E and moved the Shubert Theater.

Cherryhomes joins a crowded field of candidates vying to replace Mayor R.T. Rybak, who will leave office at the end of 2013. Among them are council Members Gary Schiff, Betsy Hodges and Don Samuels, as well as former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew.

Cherryhomes, who lives with her husband and daughter in the Willard-Hayes neighborhood, said she would work with businesses to keep them in the city and bring more jobs to downtown. She applauded Rybak's efforts to provide jobs for young people, but said she would put more emphasis on employment for adults. She also highlighted the need for more green-energy programs.

Among the supporters who turned out Saturday was former Mayor Sharon Sayles-Belton.

"I think a lot of people understood that Mayor Rybak was popular, so why do you want to level a campaign against somebody who's got some popularity?" Sayles-Belton said. "But as soon as he decided he wasn't going to run, a lot of people said, 'Maybe this is the right time.' "

Maya Rao • 612-673-4210