We haven't heard a peep about our good friend Minnesota state Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) in awhile, mainly because Rep. Franson hasn't compared assistance recipients to animals lately.
Nor has she been mixed up in any truly unfortunate restraining-order situations that garnered headlines, nor has she recently won any elections by one vote in a solidly red district (before a recount gave a her a few more votes) .
Also, and I almost forgot these, Franson also referred to Earth Day as a pagan holiday and, according to the CityPages blog out of Minneapolis, was accused of driving home drunk from an Alexandria bar.
Now Rep. Franson is back in the news ... and it's not good news for the two-term state rep. Franson is being challenged for the Republican endorsement for House District 8B (parts of Douglas and Otter Tail counties) by Otter Tail County party chair Sue Nelson. First reported over the weekend by progressive blog Bluestem Prairie, the challenge has been rumored for some time.
But here is the wonderful part: Apparently Franson is viewed as NOT CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH by Otter Tail County Republicans. Despite being known as one of the most conservative members of the legislature (Bluestem points out Franson's high ranking among very conservative organizations like the NRA, Minnesota Majority, Minnesota Family Council, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, etc.), Franson apparently ticked off ultra-ultra-ultra righties by -- gasp! -- supporting industrial hemp and for backing some form of civil unions during the gay-marriage debate in the 2013 session.
In other words, Franson isn't pure enough for the Tea Partiers in Otter Tail County. My God ...
Anybody who listens to my radio program on KFGO or who reads this blog knows I view Rep. Franson as an embarrassment to my hometown of Alexandria and to the great state of Minnesota.
Franson can have whatever political viewpoints she wishes, and can be as uninformed on a variety of issues as she wants. But when you compare assistance recipients (thousands of whom are her constituents, mostly children, seniors and the disabled) to wild animals, and refuse to issue a heartfelt apology or even recognize the offensive nature of your statement, that is crossing the line.
That said, I almost (key word) feel sorry for her. It's one thing to be challenged from the left by a moderate Republican or middle-of-the-road Democrat, but to be challenged from the right by an even-more conservative Republican? That's almost unfair. What more could Franson have done to prove her bona fides? Perhaps she needed to go down the road the South Carolina lieutenant governor once went, and compare those who accept help from the government to "stray animals" that then "breed." To quote fully:
“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals … You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”
Maybe Rep. Franson should take ownership of that statement. Perhaps that could save her political career. As of now, the future doesn't look good.
Sue Nelson (photo courtesy Echo Press)
For what it's worth, Nelson is a hard-core Tea Party activist who uses all the key buzzwords like "Constitution," "freedom," "march of liberalism" (that is SO tyrannical- and Third Reichish-sounding, isn't it?)
Courtesy of Bluestem Prairie, here is the e-mail Nelson sent to party activists:
Greetings all Conservatives of the Republican Party of Otter Tail County!!!
After much deliberation, thoughtful prayer and talking with my family, I have made the decision to seek the Republican endorsement for the seat in the Minnesota State Legislative House of Representatives belonging to District 8B.
According to the Otter Tail County Constitution, any elected member of the Leadership Committee, except state central delegates, who announce their candidacy for Federal or State elected public office shall be placed on immediate leave of absence. I have talked with Representative Franson and told her personally of my intentions and will hope that we will all act in the spirit of a conservative family and make decisions that will best serve our district and our state. You all know me to be issue based, and with that I ask that we realize that the true threat to our freedoms is the march of liberalism and those ugly tentacles that would destroy our rural way of life, our families, and our economy.
I have notified our deputy chair, Jim Eitzen and he will be taking over the reins and the gavel. I have started work on our County convention for March and will turn that over to Jim and others to make that convention highly successful. I trust that we will all pull together behind our acting chair and his committee to continue the outstanding work of Otter Tail County.
As always best to you, God's peace and thank you for the opportunity to work with and for you!!
The Alexandria Echo Press newspaper says Nelson owns Nelson Talent and Event Management, and along with her husband, Brian, also owns and operates Tactical Defense Systems, teaching permit to carry/conceal carry classes and personal defense and protection classes.
I can't wait until this fight commences. Mary Franson challenged from the right. Who woulda thunk it? Who coulda thunk it?
And here is the biggest question: Does this mean I will support Rep. Franson in her endorsement battle against Nelson as the (barely) lesser of two evils?
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMcFeelyKFGO