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Kahn: State should take over Minnesota Orchestra

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Minnesota  House Rep. Phyllis Kahn says she's sponsoring a bill to buy the Minnesota Orchestra. 

Kahn, a DFL-er from south Minneapolis, is suggesting the state form a corporation to take over the orchestra and then sell stock to the public. Kahn says she will introduce the bill at the next legislative session, and it may well evolve before then.

Kahn says the Orchestra is a valuable asset which should be under community control.  She has not contacted the Minnesota Orchestral Association which runs the orchestra. The orchestra locked out its musicians over a year ago after failing to reach a contract, and no negotiations are currently scheduled.

She cites the Green Bay Packers as a model for public ownership, and a bill she worked on in years past for community ownership of the Minnesota Twins.

Kahn say she believes a lot of people would be interested in owning stock in the orchestra, from current board members to people just interested in helping preserve a valuable community asset.  

With the legislature not due to meet until early next year, the bill may evolve as people discuss the merits of her proposal. 

"Any introduced bill is a first idea," she said. "I would hope that people will look at it and think about the concept."