Somber Celebration At Gov. Dayton’s Inaugural Ball

By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police at the U.S. Capitol are advising lawmakers and their staff to “take reasonable and prudent precautions regarding their personal security.”

That included the room full of elected officials that turned up at Saturday’s “People’s Inaugural Ball” for Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The mood was festive, but several of Minnesota’s elected leaders, including Dayton, took time to address the tragedy in Arizona and the shooting of Congresswoman Gabriel Gifford.

“Excited about the party, but sad having to hold it with terrible atrocity,” said Dayton.

On a night meant to celebrate a new era in Minnesota politics, Congressman Keith Ellison asked that everyone keep the victims in their thoughts.

“We ask everyone in Minnesota to pray for her and everyone killed and everyone injured,” he said.

Shock and sadness did not keep some members of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation from the ball, nor did it keep an estimated 1,700 guests from the party.

Few seemed concerned about security at Saturday’s event.

“I don’t think it’ll happen in Minnesota, I hope not,” said David Jones, a Dayton supporter.

Another supporter said security issues definitely crossed her mind.

“I was uneasy at first but I’m here,” said Carol Lewis.

Dayton supporters say they didn’t want to miss the opportunity to congratulate the man they voted into office.

“I’m looking forward to shaking hands with my governor and saying, ‘I knew you were going to win,'” Lewis said.

Even if it meant what may have been a few added steps of security.

Congresswoman Betty McCollum said the tragedy in Arizona won’t stop the work that’s already being done in the legislature.

“The incident today will not change the way we do our jobs,” she said. “We will be accessible.”

Congresswoman Gifford was in the same freshman class as Ellison and Congressman Tim Walz.

The Minnesota State Patrol would not comment on any changes to security.

WCCO-TV’s Rachel Slavik Reports

More from Rachel Slavik
  • Billy

    I wonder if 9-11-2011, will have anything to do with 9-11

    Be prepared people

  • WTF

    I can not believe they held this after the AZ shootings! What were they thinking? That a headline stating “somber” would cover up this disrespectful party?

  • Dave Seavy

    I pray that David Jones is right when he says it won’t happen in Mn. WIth all the fanatics and lunatics out there packing heat, I wouldn’t be shocked if it did happen here. There is a percentage of society that has no respect for human life. To them, someone else is merely an object to destroy. I hope the gunman in this case gets the ultimate punishment. I’m not a fan of the death penalty, but situations like this are the exception.

  • Billy

    I am not for the death penalty, the death penalty is the easy, humane way of dying, they don’t feel a thing, just fall asleep and never wake up, kinda like putting a dog to sleep, the ultimate way of dying, thats how I would like to die, how about you?

    I think rotting away in prison for the rest of your life is a much better form of punishment and then if they want to kill themselves in prison, soo be it.

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