Minnesota's World's Fair bid looks brighter after Congress acts

Committee to bid on World's Fair exposition
Former Minn. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, at podium, lead an announcement at a press conference in St. Paul on April 10, 2015, that backers have formed a formal committee to bid for an off-year World's Fair exposition in 2023. The effort is co-chaired by hotel executive Marilyn Carlson Nelson and Nature Conservancy executive Lois Quam, at right. They were joined by officials from Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Metropolitan Council and the North American High Speed Rail Group.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

The U.S. House voted Tuesday to clear a potential obstacle to Minnesota's bid to host Expo 2023, also known as the World's Fair.

Legislation sponsored by the full Minnesota delegation was approved on a voice vote. It gives the U.S. Secretary of State the authority to rejoin the Bureau of International Expositions.

U.S. membership in the organization lapsed in 2001. Non-members don't get the same consideration for expo bids.

The U.S. hasn't hosted one since 1984. U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer said they're coveted events.

"The six-month World Expo, held every five years, can draw millions of visitors and generate billions of dollars of tourism, construction and other job-creating economic activity — all while promoting exports of U.S. products around the world," Emmer said.

Poland, Brazil and Argentina also submitted bids. The BIE's 169 member states will elect a host country in November. According to Minneapolis' Expo 2023 website, the U.S. theme is "Wellness and Well Being for All: Healthy People, Healthy Planet."

Emmer said private money would be used to pay past or future dues, and no taxpayer money could be used on a pavilion or exhibit.

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