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Tanned Ventura reasserts role as tourism governor

Sporting a new Florida tan, Gov. Jesse Ventura made several appearances in Duluth this week. Thursday at the DECC, Ventura spoke to about 400 representatives of Minnesota's tourism industry as the state unveiled its new advertising campaign. It w...

Sporting a new Florida tan, Gov. Jesse Ventura made several appearances in Duluth this week.
Thursday at the DECC, Ventura spoke to about 400 representatives of Minnesota's tourism industry as the state unveiled its new advertising campaign. It was his fourth annual tourism conference appearance.
Earlier in the day, Ventura introduced his domestic security proposal which calls for spending about $7 million in 2002-03 and $10 million the following two years.
Thursday afternoon he was scheduled to meet with student leaders at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Friday morning he was to address the Arrowhead EMS Association Conference, just before doing his weekly radio show from the Great Lakes Aquarium.
After a video introduction from Late Late Show host and Hibbing native Craig Kilborn, Ventura quickly explained he'd gotten his tan on a 10-day trip to Florida. He tried to justify his out of state vacation by saying he was advised to go somewhere where he wouldn't be hounded.
Kilborn is also doing promotional TV spots for the Minnesota Office of Tourism.
The governor said it was nice to be somewhere he was liked, before taking a more serious tone.
"Terrorism dealt the United States a deadly blow Sept. 11," said Ventura. "The effects were wide and deep. Without a doubt, it was the travel and tourism industry hit the hardest."
He said that for months Americans were afraid to fly and are still nervous about traveling, challenges that are compounded by the national recession.
To balance this, Ventura said the Minnesota Office of Tourism's main goal is to promote the state as a travel destination. "They assist an industry -- your industry -- that brings in $9 billion a year, almost equal with agriculture, and supports 130,000 jobs."
Ventura talked about the Explore Minnesota campaign and poked fun at attempts by Iowa to attract Minnesotans to its lakes.
He said that 800,000 international travelers visit Minnesota each year, and next month he will visit Germany to promote the state.
"Given the impact on the travel industry following the events of Sept. 11, it's more important than ever to get out the 'Explore Minnesota' message to our European market."
Ventura used the occasion to promote his second annual Jackal Open golf tournament and the Governor's Fishing Opener. The golf tournament will be held in June in Brainerd and the May fishing opener will be on Rainy Lake at International Falls.
"I really enjoy the fishing opener," said Ventura. "It's with a heavy heart that I say, 'this could be my last Governor's Fishing Opener.' I don't know if I'll run again or if I'll get re-elected."

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