MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There were no big revelations on prospects for a Vikings stadium bill after a meeting between Democratic Governor-elect Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders.
Dayton met for the first time with incoming House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, and Senate Majority Leader-designate Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, on Tuesday and they all agreed jobs will be their number-one priority this upcoming legislative session.
During the 30 minute get-together, Republicans were non-committal about whether to take up a stadium bill. Zeller said it’s not priority one, or two, or three.
“The vast majority of Minnesotans want to make sure that their job is safe … that’s going to be our focus,” said Zellers.
As far as a stadium bill is concerned, Dayton said it could be a good economic development tool if it’s financed the right way. He said a Vikings stadium is a jobs issue and could be part of a package to jump start the economy.
“That’s my priority is to put people back to work in Minnesota and this is one possible way to do it,” stressed Dayton. “My interest in the stadium is for the people of Minnesota in large part for the 8,000 construction jobs and the tax revenues that puts people back to work. I see it as an economic development project.”
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Telly Mamayek Reports
Dayton has said if there’s no appetite for a stadium among Republicans, he doesn’t want to waste any time on it.
“They’re not going to sign another lease with the Metrodome whether it remained inflated or not. And this is a matter that needs to be resolved and by the end of this legislative session,” he said.
Dayton said the Vikings must give them specifics soon on what they’d like in a stadium and Republican leaders need to make sure there is sufficient interest to go forward.
On Monday, Dayton met privately with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Vikings officials. Dayton said he’s dealing with reality even if it is difficult politically.
WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler Reports