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Vickerman seeks a 7th term

WORTHINGTON -- Veteran District 22 Sen. Jim Vickerman, DFL-Tracy, announced Wednesday that he will seek a seventh term.

Vickerman, who will turn 75 in May, was first elected to the State Legislature in 1986. Today, he serves on seven committees and is chair of Agriculture, Veterans and Gaming.

"I decided this back in November," Vickerman told the Daily Globe. He said he revealed his intentions to a few friends, but chose to make it official on Wednesday.

"My wife (Wava) said to me, 'You know, if you're going to sit here with that sad look, you might as well run. And I'll support you all the way.' And another thing to think about -- I'm getting up in seniority, and that's something to consider. If I win, and I expect to win, I'll have a lot to say about what chairmanship I'll take on committees."

Candidates have until July to officially file for office. Republican Bill Weber, a former mayor of Luverne, is reportedly considering a run against Vickerman for the District 22 seat.

Vickerman said he wants to continue serving, in part, because "I've got a lot of things that I would like to accomplish." Included in his personal "to do" list are:

l Bonus pay for veterans and ensuring that injured veterans are allowed ample opportunities for training at institutions of higher learning.

l Completion of the four-lane Minnesota 60 project from Bigelow to Worthington and beyond to Mankato.

l Follow-through on the biodiesel bill, moving toward workable blending solutions; more local control on feedlots.

l Cutting through the confusion on transmission lines in respect to wind energy and providing more local control and clearer rules regarding compensation for landowners.

l Raising mandates from 10 percent to 20 percent on ethanol.

l Completion of a bonding bill that would bring in approximately $900,000 for an Alzheimer's Unit at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne. Money for the unit has been recommended by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

"It's as good as gold. That will happen," Vickerman said.

l A publicity push for "Support Our Troops" license plates -- a measure that passed last session authorizing money from all special plates purchases to go toward support for veterans' families. "We need to sell more of them," Vickerman said.

Vickerman said he is still angry over a recent decision by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to transfer $100 million from rural transportation projects to keep metro projects on schedule. Though MnDOT officials and Pawlenty assured residents during a recent Worthington press conference that the money would be returned, Vickerman on Wednesday complained about persistent Minnesota 60 delays.

He does not support Pawlenty's call for a constitutional amendment dedicating all monies from the motor vehicle sales tax (MVST) to transportation projects.

"My philosophy is you finish the one you started. Why should I support a gas tax increase and all that if money's never going to come to our district? ... We got slickered on that," Vickerman said. "I'm going to stick up for my highway that I was promised way back in 1980. I know they promised to get it to Worthington, but we've got to get it all the way to Mankato."

Vickerman said he still enjoys representing District 22.

"I like it. And if I didn't like it, I wouldn't be here," he said. "I've been very successful in getting things that I want. And I work very well with Republicans and Independents, and that goes a long way in getting things done."

Vickerman said he hasn't determined which committee he'd like to chair should he win re-election -- though he favors one that would allow him some control over spending.

"Maybe I have to be chairman of transportation if I want to get Highway 60 done," he mused.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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