October 2, 2012 by Sarah M
By Nick Halter
Last week, Tom Johnson III criticized state Rep. Susan Allen for voting to expand gambling during the 2012 legislative session, even after she said she opposed gambling expansion while on her campaign.
Johnson posted a video on Facebook of Susan Allen at a candidate forum from last December in which she said gambling was regressive and hur
t the poor. Allen, a few months later, voted in favor of a bill that allowed more poker tables and higher bets at the Canterbury racetrack.
Allen defended that vote today. She said that while her vote did, in fact, expand gambling, she feels as though it actually will limit future gambling expansion. She said that because Canterbury was allowed more tables and higher betting, it later gave up on its effort to add slot machines to the racetrack. Canterbury had been asking to install slot machines for several years, until this spring when it reached an agreement with Mystic Lake Casino to end that quest.
“That is an expansion of gambling, and I thought about that, because I am opposed to the expansion of gambling, especially when it’s to fund the stadium,” Allen said. “But I thought that would be a way to sort of limit gambling.
“So I thought of it as a way of – that it would limit gambling in the future, (so) that we wouldn’t have to deal with these gambling expansion bills every session that are controversial and take away from other priorities.”
Allen also addressed Johnson’s accusation that Allen supported “enriching” billionaire Vikings owners. Allen reiterated that she voted against the stadium deal last spring.
“That was something that was a difficult issue for a lot of our working families, but it was something I stuck to and I voted no on that,” she said.
Johnson, a Republican, is challenging Allen, the incumbent DFLer, for the House District 62B seat in South Minneapolis.