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Ventura's Rural Vision
By Dan Gunderson
June 28, 2000
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Governor Jesse Ventura has been drawing big, enthusiastic crowds at every stop on his tour of rural Minnesota. His focus has been partly on recent flooding in the Red River Valley, but he's also been outlining his vision for the future of rural Minnesota.
Ventura meets Miss Marshall County during his tour.

Listen to Governor Ventura's comments in Moorhead by clicking here.

See a slideshowof Ventura's tour.

EVERYWHERE THE GOVERNOR'S big white bus made a stop, people lined the streets, and sometimes filled Main Street. In Halstad, the cafe where the governor stopped was so crowded there was scarcely room for him.

Craig Steen knocked off work to stand outside Cassie's Cafe with a few buddies, hoping to catch a glimpse of the governor. "It's not every day a governor comes to town, said Steen. "I couldn't say when the last time one was."

Steen says he may not agree with Jesse Ventura on every issue, but he says the governor is the kind of politician he can respect. "He's done a great job. Just the way he stands up for everything and says what he means. I think he's been a real positive influence for the state of Minnesota."

There was a rousing welcome at every stop. The governor posed for pictures with grandmothers, kids and beauty queens. He signed autographs and threw one-liners. And the governor gave most communities a pep talk. In Warren, before a packed school gymnasium, he repeated a version of a line he used at every stop.

"There was line in a rock song once, if you didn't have bad luck, you'd have no luck at all," said Ventura. "That's been the story up here for the last decade, but the worm will turn, believe me. So hang in there and we'll do what we can down in St. Paul to do any help we can give."

The governor stopped short of promising specific aid, but it seemed just having him visit was solace enough for most - for this day at least.

Warren area farmer and County Commissioner Curtis Carlson says its a morale boost to have the governor come to town, and he says the area needed a boost after farmers had their hopes dashed once again.

"The way we got into spring, it was a perfect spring and everything looked so good," said Carlson. "If we had gotten an inch of rain and it had stopped, we'd have been looking real well and we could've been looking for a big crop this fall. Now if we can expect an average crop, I think it's the best we can hope for."

"Anything we can do to level the field and keep things adjusted across the whole state, that's what we're looking to do."

- Governor Ventura
Governor Ventura told crowds at several stops his administration is committed to making life better for farmers and rural communities. "We won't be able to save every farmer, let's not kid ourselves," said Ventura. "But the top farm policy goal of state government in 2000 should be to help its agricultural community, and rural Minnesota in general, make a successful transition to the 21st century."

The governor says he will work hard to open new markets for farmers in places like Japan, Mexico and China. He says farmers must look for new ways to diversify and think not just about producing crops, but about who will buy those crops.

Governor Ventura says the rural economy must diversify; no longer can communities depend on agriculture for their economic strength. To do that, he says, rural Minnesota will need the same telecommunications infrastructure the Twin Cities now enjoys.

"Believe it or not, not everybody wants to go to the Twin Cities, but I think it's more a case that they're being driven there because of outside forces, job creation and things of that nature," said Ventura. "Anything we can do to level the field and keep things adjusted across the whole state, that's what we're looking to do."

The governor says he will push hard for many rural initiatives in the next legislative session.