Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, says she may file an ethics complaint over something Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, wrote on Twitter.
“Sen Goodwin just called people with mental illness- idiots and imbeciles- while debating HHS bill #offensive #mndfl #mnsrc #mnleg”
The only problem is that isn’t what Goodwin said. Goodwin was talking about the history of developmental disabilities and mental illness in Minnesota (Senate Democrats supplied video of Goodwin’s comments) during a debate over the Health and Human Services budget bill.
Goodwin later stood up to demand an apology from Hoffman.
“This goes beyond the pale,” Goodwin said on the Senate floor. “This is an ethics violation in my opinion and I expect a public apology. I have worked with people with mental illness a lot of my life.”
The spokesman for the Senate Republican Caucus, Michael Brodkorb, did not return a message to explain why Hoffman made her initial comments on Twitter. Brodkorb also retweeted Hoffman’s tweet which means his 2,500 followers also read what Hoffman wrote. Update: Hoffman statement below.
This isn’t the first time a lawmaker has gotten in hot water for something written on Twitter. An ethics complaint was filed after then DFL Rep. Paul Gardner wrote tweets about two Republican lawmakers. Gardner later apologized on the House floor for his actions.
Hoffman released this statement through a spokeswoman:
“I look forward to sitting down with Senator Goodwin to discuss my concerns regarding remarks she made on the Senate floor today during a lengthy debate on Health and Human Services finance bill [sic]. Until I have an opportunity to speak with Senator Goodwin directly and share my experiences as a registered nurse, I have no further comment.”
The spokeswoman for Hoffman said she was just “sending along the full remarks” when asked via e-mail whether she was suggesting that Goodwin intended to demean people with mental health problems and disabled people.