Menominee Nation reels after casino foe drops out of GOP race

Hundreds rally at the Wisconsin State Capitol in support of the Menominee Nation on February 18, 2015. Photo from Facebook

Leaders and representatives of the Menominee Nation reacted with scorn after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) dropped out of the Republican presidential race.

Craig Corn, a former chairman and current member of the Menominee Legislature, took to Twitter to vent about the development. He believes the tribe's off-reservation casino in Kenosha fell victim to Walker's now-failed presidential aspirations.

"Loser, loser, loser!!!!!" Corn wrote in one post in a series of expletive-laden outbursts.

The casino would have generated a significant number of jobs and revenues for a tribe with high rates of unemployment. But Walker claimed his approval posed an economic risk to the state.

A conceptual design of the proposed Ho-Chunk Nation off-reservation in Beloit, Wisconsin. Image from Good for Beloit

The day after he killed the project, Walker went to Iowa for the unofficial launch of his campaign, The Kenosha News reported. Only a few days beforehand, influential Republicans in the state sent him a letter urging him to reject any expansions of gaming in Wisconsin.

“One reason we think he denied the application was because of these evangelicals who wrote him a letter,” Eric Olson, a project director for the Menominee casino, told The Kenosha News. “Either their support wasn’t very firm or never there. As a result, we lost jobs in both construction and operating and lost a huge investment in the property on the west side of Kenosha.”

Walker has three more years left in his term. During that time, he might be called to make a decision on the off-reservation casino being sought by the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Like the Menominees, the Ho-Chunks are pursuing the casino in Beloit under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The law gives the state governor veto authority.

Get the Story:
Tribe, casino backers fume after Walker drops out of race (The Kenosha News 9/23)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Press Release | Fact Sheet: Menominee Nation Decision | Section 20 Determination: Menominee Nation Off-Reservation Casino

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