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Minnesota Matters blog: The Women's Stadium

  • Blog Post by: Lori Sturdevant
  • May 17, 2012 - 4:27 PM

The old feminist contention, "If only women were in charge..." was heard anew in the wake of the 2012 Legislature's May 10 approval of a taxpayer subsidy for a new Vikings stadium.

DFL Rep. Phyllis Kahn, the only still-serving female legislator from the breakthrough 1972 group of six, kept a tally of how this year's women legislators voted.

By her count, shared via Twitter, women cast 34 no votes and 28 yes votes in total. In the House, female rejection of the project ran deep: 27 no, 16 yes. The count went the other way in the Senate: 12 yes, 7 no.

Some observers were quick with the conclusion that women aren't as susceptible as men to suasion by big-time professional sports interests, or aren't as convinced that professional teams are important contributors to the common good.

But this week brought a feminist counterpoint of sorts from Minnesota Wild lobbyist Maureen Shaver, a former adviser to GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Look at all the women who worked at high levels to get the stadium bill enacted, she said.

First and foremost on her list was Republican Sen. Julie Rosen, the bill's very able Senate chief sponsor.

Also mentioned: Tina Smith and Michele Kelm-Helgen chief and deputy chief of staff, respectively, for Gov. Mark Dayton; Laura Bordelon, senior vice president, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce; Shar Knutson, president of the state AFL-CIO, and Vikings lobbyists Judy Cook and Margaret Vesel. 

Each of them played a role that was played by a man the last time I covered the legislative battle to build a Vikings stadium, in 1979. 

My answer to those who say that the stadium outcome at the Legislature would have been different if women were in charge? To an extent that would have been shocking in 1979, they already are.   

  

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