Joseph Rolette

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Rolette, of Pembina, North Dakota, then in the Minnesota Territory, transformed himself into a long-time St. Paul cult hero when in 1857 he stole a bill moving the Territory's capitol city from St. Paul to St. Peter. Having been passed by both houses of the Territorial Legislature, the bill only required signature by Governor Willis Gorman, who was supportive of the measure. Instead, Rolette kidnapped the bill and holed up in a St. Paul hotel until the session concluded and the bill effectively expired.

Of course, Rolette's escapade is a favorite story of many St. Paulites. More significantly, however, his kidnapping of the legislation influenced not just our capital, but how our seat of government has interacted with our chief financial and commercial center, Minneapolis. Our cultural and economic development owes much to the synergy Rolette helped to provoke in this region and in our state.
~Jon Commers, St. Paul, MN

Saved St. Paul as the capitol, great example of the pocket veto, i.e. the stealing of the bill to move the capitol to St. Peter.
~Jason Dockter, Minneapolis, MN

He was a legislator who absconded with the bill to make St. Peter the capitol city. He hid in an attic with the bill until the session was over. Consequently, our capitol is St. Paul instead of St. Peter. This is an intriguing story of how shifty politics had a major impact on our state!
~Vicki Effertz, Eden Prairie, MN


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