When it comes to stadium proposals, Vandeveer stuck in 2005

His Senate committee remains a road block for bill

Shea Carr
Guest Columnist

A recent Star Tribune article released on Tuesday, March 27 quotes our own State Senator from Forest Lake, Ray Vandeveer, chairman of the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee, as being against the Minnesota Vikings Stadium bill (as it stands right now) and holding it up in his committee.

In order to move further and eventually be voted on by the rest of the legislature, the bill that would put a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis must get passed in this committee. Senator Vandeveer claims to have problems with the provision that describes the state portion of the financing.

“Somehow, ‘charitable’ and the Vikings stadium — they don’t belong in the same sentence,” he was quoted in the Star Tribune.

When I was in 10th grade (2005), I remember Senator Vandeveer speaking to my political science class taught by Mrs. Stennes-Rogness at Forest Lake High School.

At the end of his visit the floor was open for questions and I asked the Senator what his thoughts were on a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.

He was taken off guard. It was obvious to me that he had not given the issue the slightest thought.

To me it seems nothing has changed since then.

Clearly, a situation that has been foreseen by not just 16 year olds seven years ago, but by many Minnesotans, continues to be overlooked by the legislature.

In the past week a poll was released saying that 61 percent of Minnesotans statewide are in favor of a new stadium. Even when all of this is presented to them and flanked by substantial media coverage, this state’s lawmaking body refuses to get down to solving the issue.

Many stadium opponents are now using the supposed uncertainty of revenue from electronic pull-tabs as a reason to not pass the bill.

Yet the state Minnesota Department of Revenue estimates that this form of gambling would raise $72 million per year.

When the department of revenue comes out with an estimate, I am inclined to take their word.

In my opinion this is not about charitable gambling or the question over how much revenue electronic pull tabs will actually raise for a new stadium.

No, the real issue for our current legislature is making sure they stay in office.

An election is coming up this fall and now is simply not the preferred time for lawmakers to vote on an issue as controversial as this one.

— The writer lives in Forest Lake and is a senior at Creighton University where he will graduate in May.