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Mankato mayor says he won't resign after DWI

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Mankato Mayor John Brady
Mankato Mayor John Brady returns to his attorney's office in Mankato, Minn., after a news conference Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010, regarding his recent arrest for DWI. Brady was arrested Aug. 21, 2010 in the Twin Cities on his way to airport for a city-sponsored trip to China.
AP Photo/Mankato Free Press, John Cross

Mankato Mayor John Brady says he's not resigning in the wake of his DWI arrest in the Minneapolis suburb of Golden Valley on August 21. 

At a midday news conference Tuesday, Brady apologized to Mankato residents for the incident.  

He told reporters and a group of onlookers he's an alcoholic and relapsed while on his way to the Minneapolis-St.Paul airport to catch a flight to China. The trip was an official visit on behalf of the City of Mankato.  

"I realized I was an alcoholic a long time ago," said Brady, 61, adding that he will be seeking professional help. "I do believe this is the beginning of a whole new life for me."

Brady said he's known he had a drinking problem for the last "18 years or so" and said he's been sober up to three years at a time. 

In court documents filed in Hennepin County last week, authorities say Brady's blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit to drive when he was arrested. Police said he was so intoxicated it sounded like he was speaking a foreign language. 

He was arrested by Golden Valley Police on Interstate 394 and charged with fourth-degree driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and having an open container of alcohol.

Brady says his long-time battle with alcoholism was aggravated by personal tragedies.  Three years ago his son-in-law and grandson were murdered in Waseca.  Then, last November, his son died.

STILL WORKING TOWARD RE-ELECTION

Despite the DWI and the attention it's received, Brady said he's committed to serving the city of Mankato and will continue his bid for re-election. 

Mankato Mayor John Brady
This Aug. 21, 2010 photo provided by the Golden Valley Police Department shows Mankato Mayor John Brady in a booking photo after his arrest Saturday afternoon for reportedly driving erratically on Interstate 94 in south Minneapolis. The 61-year-old mayor was on his way to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where he was to leave on an official trip to China. He eventually did fly there and apologized for driving drunk.
AP Photo/Golden Valley Police

"It'll impact the voters choice in terms of how the voters view me as a human being," he said. "If they believe that I'm sincere in what I'm saying today, and I would hope that they do, I think that the election will be very favorable."

Not everyone on Mankato's City Council agrees. At least three council members have called for his resignation.   

Council member Vance Stuehrenberg attended the news conference and said he had hoped Brady would resign and that the incident has brought only negative attention to the city. 

"The best thing for him to do would have been for him to step down, in my opinion," Stuehrenberg said. "To help the city recover from what he has done, the first thing they have to do is take that part away."

Stuehrenberg said the mayor should focus on getting help for his addiction and then maybe returning to public office one day.

"I do believe that he needs assistance, but I don't think that he should get his recovery while he's still the mayor," Stuehrenberg said.

Brady served on the Mankato City Council for 14 years, the last four of those as mayor. He faces two newcomers also vying for the position. 

Some Mankato residents support Brady and his leadership in the community. Local business owner Stacey Straka said the incident won't detract from Brady's ability to perform his duties as mayor. She said the easy move would have been for him to resign. 

"I think the easy way out would be for him to resign and not go for re-election," she said. "I think this is a very bold move and I think this is the right move for our city.

Neither Brady nor his attorney Calvin Johnson commented on the details of the arrest. Brady said he will begin treatment soon for his alcoholism, but didn't have specific plans on when or where that would begin.

His next court date is scheduled for October 13.