Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, whose national profile has risen in the past year as a spokesman for the left, said Thursday that he will have a speaking role at next month's Democratic National Convention (DNC).

Rybak will be the second sitting Minneapolis mayor to speak at the event since Hubert Humphrey delivered a historic civil rights address in 1948. Rybak's predecessor, Sharon Sayles Belton, delivered the party’s platform at the 2000 convention in Los Angeles.

The DNC kicks off its gathering on Sept. 3 in Charlotte, N.C., with an outdoors celebration called "CarolinaFest" that's open to the public and features exhibits, music and speakers. The convention proceedings begin on Sept. 4.

"It's the kind of honor I guess I never thought I would get, so I'm hugely pleased," Rybak said.

The three-term mayor has been a prominent surrogate for the president over the past year -- particularly on cable television -- as one of five vice chairs of the Democratic National Committee. He is also president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.

The time slot for his speech has not been announced. Rybak said his topic is still being discussed.

He isn't the only Minnesotan who will be on the national stage this convention season. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty is to speak at the Republican National Convention next week in Tampa, Fla.

Rybak attended the 2004 Democratic convention and co-chaired the Minnesota delegation in 2008.

"To me, this will be the easiest job in the world, because the president's done so much and the contrast is so great," Rybak said.

In 2004, Barack Obama's convention speech was a launching pad for his political career. So does Rybak have similar plans?

"This would be a great thing for a politician who wanted to go somewhere, but I happen to be one who loves what he does," Rybak said.

Eric Roper • 612-673-1732