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St. Paul, MN – State Representative Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park/Coon Rapids) outlined a visionary plan today for bringing the 2020 Summer Olympics to the Twin Cities. Representative Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park), members of the Twin Cities business community, representatives from state sports franchises, local musician Lorie Line, statewide elected officials and former Olympiad Manny Lagos joined her at the Capitol in support of this initiative.
Last week, Hortman and 19 House co-authors introduced legislation for the creation of a Task Force to determine whether Minnesota would benefit economically from making a bid and hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics.
"In 1988, Mayors Don Fraser and George Latimer partnered with Governor Perpich to put together a great bid for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, coming in second to Atlanta," said Hortman. "We would like to build on their vision for the future of our state and bring the summer games here in 2020."
"The Olympics would give us a chance to let the rest of the world discover Minnesota - the best kept secret in America," added Simon.
Hortman said that a primary benefit of an Olympic bid would be the creation of jobs in the state, as well as providing a deadline for much needed transportation projects in the metro area, such as the Central Corridor, Red Rock Line and Rush Line.
There would also be the added benefit of increased federal aid for capital projects such as roads and transit, similar to what other host cities in the United State have received, according to Hortman.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to create jobs, finish projects and let our state shine in the global arena," said Hortman. "We are proud of our state and want the rest of the world to see the high quality of life and recreation that we have to offer."
Hortman said that the decision on where to host the 2020 Olympics could be made as early as 2008, making it necessary for the task force to be formed quickly so they can begin planning. She is recommending a 17-person task force, with the Governor naming 13 of the members and the State Legislature appointing the other four members.
"In a global economy, landing the Olympic games would be the ultimate marketing coup," said Simon. "The Olympics would anoint Minnesota as world class."