The most overlooked stadium bidder

There was A LOT of talking about a Vikings stadium yesterday, by nearly everyone who’d ever thought about the subject.

But you probably didn’t note the presence of a lesser known, but critical cog in the political machine: Jan Parker.

The four-term Ramsey County commissioner represents the county’s northwestern suburbs. Her district abuts the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site, where the county is planning to build an Arden Hills stadium.

TNN_7300.JPGBut her proximity isn’t what matters. It was her presence yesterday as commissioners Rafael Ortega and Tony Bennett walked the county’s stadium bid — with a 3 percent food and beverage tax included — into the governor’s office.

That’s her talking up the county’s bid, at the presser afterward.

The county board has yet to directly take up the stadium issue, and Parker has in the past voted along with Bennett, Ortega and East Sider Jim McDonough to keep the bid alive in procedural votes.

But as of yesterday afternoon, it looks like she’s on board for the full ride — making for a four-vote bloc that could win formal approval by the county’s elected governing body. That would answer affirmatively the question raised by Senator Julianne Ortman at last year’s stadium hearings: whether there’s local political support for a stadium.

It was no accident she was at the Capitol, Bennett said today. “We would have brought four, but it might have violated the Open Meeting Law.”

Which for now, makes Ramsey County the only stadium bidder with tangible indication that it could put up the votes.

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