Vikings' Bagley honored for stadium efforts

Lester Bagley

Vikings vice president Lester Bagley was given a Public Policy Achievement Award for his eventual success in leading a lobbying charge for a new stadium.

Lester Bagley was hired by the Vikings a decade ago with one simple mission – get a stadium deal done. As the political climate would have it, Bagley found that battle to be akin to his own Vietnam – a malaise of delays, covert undermining by unseen forces and a victory at times that never seemed possible or even in sight.

Bagley was critical to brokering the 11th hour stadium deal that assured the Vikings would remain in Minnesota and, on Tuesday, his service to the effort was recognized with an awards ceremony at the historic St. Paul Hotel.

Bagley was one of several politicians, officials and lobbyists presented with a Public Policy Achievement Award at the ceremony Tuesday. The awards were presented by the publications Politics in Minnesota and Capitol Report.

Bagley oversaw the lobbying effort to convince legislators to get a stadium deal done, even though more than a few times the stadium deal appeared dead and the Vikings were topping the list of relocation candidates to Los Angeles. When the Vikings stadium bill was defeated in committee this spring, it seemed as though the bill was dead in the water. Yet, it not only got resurrected, it got passed – thanks in no small part to a shift in public perception that suddenly became an issue that the public supported. Bagley led the effort to get Vikings fans to contact their legislators and urge them to pass the bill – a grass roots effort rarely seen in this era of partisan politics when there is near gridlock at both the state and federal levels.

Praise for Bagley's effort came from no less than Sen. Julie Rosen (IR-Fairmount), who said of Bagley, "This legislation would not have been passed without Lester's leadership and perseverance. It was an honor to work with Lester and his team."

Years from now, all Vikings fans will remember is that a stadium deal got done. They may not remember Bagley's contribution to that uphill battle, but on Tuesday, he was honored by those who shape the political landscape of Minnesota for his efforts and his success in getting the votes needed to get a new stadium deal passed.

In addition to Bagley, Public Policy Achievement Awards were given to Rosen, Rep. Morrie Lanning (IR-Moorhead), the House sponsor of the stadium bill, at Gov. Mark Dayton.


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    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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