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Minnesota horse track owners upset about appointment of tribal leaders to Racing Commission

Walz says Melanie Benjamin and Johnny Johnson are professionals who can handle the work

The owners of the state's two horse-racing tracks expressed misgivings and strong concerns Monday about Gov. Tim Walz's appointment of two tribal leaders to the Minnesota Racing Commission.

Late Friday, Walz appointed Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe chief executive Melanie Benjamin and Johnny Johnson, former president of the Prairie Island Indian Community. Both tribes run casinos in MInnesota.

"The Racing Commission's job is to regulate the industry and our two leaders, President Johnson and Chief Executive Benjamin are more familiar than probably anybody in the state on the regulation of gambling," Walz said, referring to them as "two good folks" who "understand that responsibility."


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