Vickerman hailed as model legislator

Jim Vickerman

Senator from Tracy — a longtime voice for farmers, veterans — dies at age 89

By Per Peterson

Tracy farmer and dedicated lawmaker Jim Vickerman, who prided himself on putting “people before politics,” died last Tuesday at McLaughlin Hospice House in Marshall.

Vickerman, who served residents of Minnesota’s Senate District 22 (formerly District 28) for 24 years, was 89.

Former House Rep. Marty Seifert, who served with Vickerman in the Legislature for 14 years, called his former colleague a dying breed and said he wishes there were more politicians serving today like him.

“I really looked up to him as to what a good legislator should be,” Seifert said. “He treated everybody fairly, he listened and tried to take care of the folks back home the best he could.”

Serving in neighboring districts, Seifert, a Republican from Marshall, said he and Vickerman co-authored a number of bills together during their time in St. Paul, many pertaining to Lyon County and the surrounding area. Seifert said Vickerman was universally respected and was like a grandfather figure to many younger legislators.

“I was 24 when I got elected the first time, and he was always very kind to me,” said Seifert. “I never heard him say a nasty or partisan word in the 14 years I served with him. He was just a model of what a good legislator should be. I wish we had more like him there today.”

Seifert said moderate Democrats like Vickerman are few and far between in today’s political climate.

“There are people who are nice, but he was the full package,” said Seifert. “He voted his district, treated everyone with kindness, worked extremely hard and was really universally liked by everybody. I don’t think you could find one person who would say a bad thing about Jim Vickerman. The guy was a class act.”

A member of the DFL party, Vickerman was first elected in 1986. His most recent election victory came in 2006, when he defeated current District 22 Sen. Bill Weber of Luverne.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.