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Keep casinos out of Metro area

December 8, 2011
The Journal

To the editor:

As someone who has spent his lifetime in rural Minnesota and who values the life so many of us lead outside the metro, it's frightening to think that we're yet again experiencing a serious threat. Wake up rural Minnesota, the metro is coming and it wants your job.

In a recent Star-Tribune poll rural Minnesotans said that building a new Vikings stadium was an okay idea, as long as they didn't have to pay for it. And if the metro wants to build more casinos to cover the cost, that's fine too, doesn't matter to us. Wrong!

For decades now there's been an economic tug-of-war going on at the State Capitol between rural and urban Minnesota, and the Twin Cities metro is winning.

It started back with the farm crisis, the demise of taconite mining, and the loss of America's manufacturing base. People trickled out of small Minnesota towns into the county seat, and eventually made their way to the Twin Cities looking for work. Over the years we have lost thousands of our talented young people to the metro area.

Rural Minnesota's economy still relies on farming, timber and other tough jobs, but we've found some easier work as well in tourism. Tribal casinos are a big part of rural Minnesota's tourism industry and they've brought stability to an economy used to the rollercoaster ride of corn and steel prices. The casinos support thousands of hardworking Minnesotans.

A job at the casino means healthcare insurance for many rural families, and the indoor work is a welcomed relief for an aging population.

Make no mistake about it, rural Minnesota, more gambling in the metro is a direct threat to our quality of life. New metro casinos will cost rural Minnesota thousands of jobs. We need those metro gamblers, the deer hunters and leaf watchers, to stop at our casinos and have a meal or spend the night, and contribute to visitor spending in our communities, not the metro.

We need our casino jobs more than they do. We need every good job we can get. If the state gives the metro area more gambling it will be one more rip in the tattered fabric of rural Minnesota.

Al Kokesch


Redwood County Commissioner



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