Lourey to name Tim Baylor as Lieutenant Governor choice

class=img_thumbleft>State Senator and candidate for Governor Becky Lourey has scheduled a press conference for 10 o'clock this morning to announce that she has chosen North Minneapolis businessman and former pro football player Tim Baylor to be her running mate as the prospective Lieutenant Governor. Baylor accepted Lourey's offer more than three weeks ago but needed some time to put his business affairs in order before making the decision official.

In an exclusive interview with City Pages yesterday, Baylor said that he was most consonant with Lourey in her ambitious initiatives to enhance education and health care, and in her support for conceal and carry gun legislation. As for Lourey's opposition to recent legislation that provides public funding for a Twins stadium, Baylor initially said, "Because I am a sports guy, we disagree on stadiums," before amending it to say that he and Lourey have a common concern about first providing funding for more important priorities such as education and health care.

Born in 1954, Baylor is founder and president of JADT Development Group, a residential and commerical construction firm. He also operates two McDonald's franchises located in North Minneapolis and Robbinsdale. He served on the Minneapolis Planning Commission from 1992-2001. Before that, he played football for the Baltimore Colts and Minnesota Vikings.

Baylor is not the first African American to run for Lieutenant Governor. In 1998, Republican Allen Quist chose African American businessman and minister Dan Williams to be his running mate. "While I may not be the first from a historical perspective, I certainly think the time is right to have a different type of candidate in the office," he says.

"One of the things Becky wants of me is to be totally involved and opinionated and responsive," Baylor adds. "We've got to educate our kids. Childhood development is so key and funding for education is part of that. Health care for all citizens needs to be made a priority. Those are the two key issues. If there is a third, it is the mixed message coming from the current Governor's office as far as where taxes are coming from and how they are derived.

"I am a black man but I have a variety of experience that transcends race and culture. I've been a businessman since I stopped playing pro football in 1980. My wife and I have always demonstrated a holistic approach to building community--housing, education, and economic development--and that is much broader that attracting black voters. I can relate to the conservative rural businessman trying to grow a business as well as the urban family trying to grow their income. And I certainly look forward to this opportunity."