ST. PAUL, Minn. – Responding to budget cuts to the governor's office and security detail, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has announced he will close down the official gubernatorial residence for the first time since the 20-room English Tudor residence was donated to the state in 1965.
The shutdown notice has caused a stir in the Senate side of the state Legislature, which imposed the cuts to Ventura's budget earlier this year. Senators recently passed a bill requiring the governor to keep the mansion open to public uses and to provide security, even if his family does not live there.
"We have civic groups, nonprofit groups, educational institutes, youth groups," said Dan Creed, manager of the residence. "It is utilized a tremendous amount."
On Tuesday, workers were readying to return some of the historical pieces lent to the governor's estate from area museums, including a 17th century octagonal table and several equine-themed paintings favored by Ventura's wife, Terry.
Workers also readied to shut off the electricity and undertook other housekeeping measures indicative of a homeowner about to leave on an extended vacation.
"We're hoping for a miracle," said Creed.
The House has not weighed in on Ventura's move as of yet. Creed and others are hoping that the governor works out some sort of deal to keep the residence open and running. So far, the situation seems to be locked in a stalemate.
"If he wants to keep it open, all he's got to do is change his mind," complained Republican Rep. Bill Kuisle, who said the governor has the option of shifting the money from his own budget into the residence.
But the governor's office does not see that as an effective solution. "We would need an appropriation or its last day is April 30," said Ventura's spokesman John Wodele.
The Ventura family has never lived at the residence, residing instead at their home and horse farm in Maple Grove. The governor uses the building for lunches and dinners, and it is used extensively for public events and receptions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.