The executive director of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees is objecting to a Republican lawmaker comparing unions to Adolf Hitler and Fidel Castro.
Jim Monroe is referring to e-mails between Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, and MAPE member Robin Seifert, who lives in Hackbarth’s district.
Seifert was urging Hackbarth to support DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget plan that would raise income taxes on Minnesota’s top earners. Here’s the e-mail that she sent him:
Dear Representative Hackbarth,
You have a choice. As a legislators, you could chose to ask the most fortunate among us to pay their fair share or you could inflict severe pain on the middle-class and vulnerable Minnesotans.
I oppose the all-cuts budget which will increase property taxes on homeowners, renters and small businesses by more than one billion dollars.
The all-cuts plan will eliminate support for battered women and crime victims and slash funding for public universities by $411 million.
We have a choice. We can either protect the richest Minnesotans and large corporations or we can protect the vital services that average Minnesotans depend on.
Are you willing to take away health care from 140,000 Minnesotans just to protect the 40,000 richest people in Minnesota?
I also support the Viking stadium they are part of Minnesota and need to stay here. We have waited to long to get a stadium they time is now!!
Please tax the richest 2% of Minnesotans. Ask them to pay their fair share.
Ms. Robin Seifert
Seifert says Hackbarth responded with this e-mail:
I can’t believe what I’m hearing from folks? All, similar letters to yours.
Are you a Union member? If so, are they the communist giving you this propaganda?
Do you know the who, what, when, where, why, and how, of Fidel Castro?
Hitler rose to power using and blaming the jews for the destruction of the German economy. Castro built his army of murderers by blaming the rich bankers and capitalist for destroying Cuba and taking advantage of the Cuban people. Hummmm?
Robin Seifert told MPR News that she got the e-mail from Hackbarth but declined further comment. Hackbarth has not replied to an e-mail message from MPR News. Hackbarth’s legislative assistant and House Republican Caucus Spokeswoman Jodi Boyne both said Hackbarth was out of town and that they were trying to reach him.
Hackbarth’s response prompted Monroe, with MAPE, to send a letter to Hackbarth (and put out a press release) asking why the representative was comparing union members to Hitler and Castro.
Do you really equate advocating for the middle class and Minnesota’s vulnerable citizens as communist propaganda? Do you really believe that when our members ask you to protect 140,000 Minnesotans from losing their MnCare benefits rather than having the richest two percent of Minnesotans paying their fair share of taxes it compares to the rise of Hitler and targeting the Jews? When did supporting public services for battered women, crime victims and students in public universities become a fascist notion?
When did humanity and caring for our neighbors and asking for millionaires to pay their fair share become supporting Fidel Castro and his murderous armies?
This isn’t the first time Hackbarth has been under scrutiny.
He lost his committee chair in December after he was spotted carrying a loaded handgun in a Planned Parenthood parking lot in St. Paul. Hackbarth said he was checking up on a woman he was dating. Hackbarth had a permit to carry a handgun. No charges were filed