Lyon County gets one; Culver “respects” decision

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has voted to give Lyon County in northwest Iowa a new casino license.  The commission denied the license requests from Fort Dodge, Ottumwa and Tama.  Todd Dorman of The Cedar Rapids Gazette provides a review.

Governor Chet Culver had publicly lobbied for all four license requests.  Culver said this morning he “respects” the commission’s decision

…In early March, Culver sent a letter to the gaming commissioners, urging them to approve licenses for all four communities.  Culver said at the time that “new jobs are difficult to come by” and the projects would “generate hundreds of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs” in the casinos.  This morning, Culver defended his decision to send that letter.
“I think it’s important for everyone to know where a governor stands. That’s why a public letter made perfect sense,” Culver said.  “Commission members had asked me prior to that letter. The executive director of the Racing and Gaming Commission had asked me prior to that letter.  The four communities had asked me prior to that letter.  I felt I had an obligation to make sure everyone understood I was for job creation in those four communities.”

Culver made those comments during a news conference in Iowa Public Television’s lobby, right after he’d been on the “Iowa Press” set recording this weekend’s show.  During the program, Culver answered questions about the investigation of casino-connected donations to his campaign

…”Our office and our campaign is not the center of this review.  There is an allegation that three individuals made a contribution that was not lawful. That’s the investigation,” Culver said.  “…But our (conscience) is clear. I have 7500 contributors across this state and across the country that have willingly stepped up to support my candidacy.  We expect that every one of those donors follows the rules and if they don’t there will be consequences.”

IPTV has already posted the video of this weekend’s show.

UPDATE:  Just before three o’clock this afternoon Culver issued a written statement, reacting to the commission’s casino decision.

Statement of Governor Culver on Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Action

DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver today released the following statement related to the action of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission on pending applications:

“I congratulate residents of Lyon County on being successful in securing a new casino project that will serve northwest Iowa and will help create jobs and stimulate significant new tourism from other states.
“As I have said often, we need to do everything we can to create jobs in Iowa during this time of economic challenge. While the overall economic outlook is improving and Iowa is recovering from the recession faster than other states, our job-creation work is far from over. Citizens living in all parts of Iowa deserve to participate in the economic growth that can be ours.
“Although we share the disappointment that is felt by many communities as a result of today’s decision by the Racing and Gaming Commission, the Lt. Governor and I pledge to do everything we can to assist communities in Webster, Wapello and Tama counties with their job preservation and creation efforts, now, and in the future.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.