This past spring, Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley led the organization to its biggest off-the-field victory when he helped secure financing for a new publicly-owned and operated stadium for the State of Minnesota and the Vikings. Tonight he will be appropriately honored for his 10-plus years of dedication and leadership on the issue.
As part of the Leaders in Public Policy 2012 program at the Saint Paul Hotel, Bagley will be given the “Public Policy Achievement (Sports)” award. Named annually by Politics in Minnesota and the St. Paul Legal Ledger Capitol Report, the public policy awards “recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions toward Minnesota’s political, public policy or civic environment during the state’s current fiscal year or legislative session.” Bagley will be honored alongside Governor Mark Dayton, as well as stadium bill authors Senator Julie Rosen and Representative Morrie Lanning.
“Lester’s unwavering passion and commitment to the stadium effort make him very deserving of this award,” said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. “Because of his dedication, Minnesota will have a multi-purpose facility that will be a first-class destination in the Midwest and will leave a lasting legacy on the State. The Vikings organization is proud of Lester and his tremendous accomplishment for the State of Minnesota, the Vikings and our fans.”
Despite an extremely difficult political environment and economy, Bagley oversaw the public discussion and advocacy effort surrounding a new stadium on behalf of the Vikings. With his guidance, a coalition of elected officials, Vikings fans and business, labor and community leaders organized to advance the stadium issue at the Minnesota Capitol, and on May 10, 2012, the efforts culminated with the House and Senate passing legislation to construct a $975 million multi-purpose stadium in Minneapolis. Just days later on May 14, Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill into law.
“Without Lester Bagley, there would have been no stadium bill passed in the last legislative session,” said Governor Dayton.
“This legislation would not have passed without Lester’s leadership and perseverance,” said Senator Rosen, who authored the Senate version of the stadium bill. “It was an honor to work with Lester and his team.”
With the stadium bill behind him, Bagley has turned his attention to the design and construction of the new facility. Over the next four years, the Vikings will work closely with the newly-created five-member Stadium Authority to ensure that a world-class facility is constructed for the State, the team and Vikings fans. Groundbreaking is expected in spring 2013, followed by nearly three years of construction, with the stadium opening in 2016.
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