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Former DFL turned Independence Party Sen. Bob Lessard endorsed DFL nominee Mark Dayton for governor Wednesday, coming about a week after Dayton released a seven-point plan spelling out his commitment to work with the hunting and fishing community.

Former Sen. Bob Lessard endorses Dayton

Bob Lessard

Bob Lessard

Former DFL turned Independence Party Sen. Bob Lessard endorsed DFL nominee Mark Dayton for governor Wednesday, coming about a week after Dayton released a seven-point plan spelling out his commitment to work with the hunting and fishing community.

Lessard, a 26-year veteran of the Capitol serving in Senate District 3, was a longtime champion of the outdoors, serving as chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and as a member of the agriculture budget division. Lessard spent years running fishing lodges and camps.

Lessard was one of the first legilsators to suggest the idea to raise the state’s sales tax and dedicate the funding to fish and wildlife. In 2008, the Legislature successfully passed the Legacy amendment, which put the question to voters on the November ballot. The amendment passed, and the  group overseeing the funding was named after the senator as the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.

“Mark Dayton has made the strongest commitment to hunters and anglers that I have seen from any gubernatorial candidate in my political career,” Lessard said in a statement. “Endorsing Mark is a matter of integrity.  In the past, I’ve endorsed some Republicans because they were on the right side of the issues that matter to me and the issues that matter to sportsmen and sportswomen.  In this race, Mark Dayton is on the right side of those issues-he supported the Legacy Amendment from day one.”

Lessard is still a perennial fixture at the state Capitol to work on outdoors issues.

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