Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, told Senate colleagues on Wednesday night that she is planning to file an ethics complaint against Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, after Hoffman accused Goodwin of calling people suffering from mental illness “idiots and imbeciles.” In fact, Goodwin was referring the history of the treatment of the mentally ill in Minnesota and progress made since the state referred to them as “idiots and imbeciles.” Hoffman refused to apologize Wednesday night.
Goodwin spoke on the Senate floor about the historical treatment of the mentally ill in Minnesota.
Following that, Sen. Hoffman sent out a tweet, stating that Goodwin was calling those with mental illness names:
Goodwin was incensed over that characterization. “I expect a public apology,” she said. “I have worked with children with mental illness. [Hoffman] clearly understood what I said. This is just plain mean-spirited and I expect an apology and I will file an ethics violation.”
She also noted that GOP party vice chair and Senate Republican Caucus communications staffer Michael Brodkorb retweeted Hoffman’s tweet. “I guess the ethics violation goes to two places.”
Here’s her call for an apology:
After the dust-up, Brodkorb also tweeted for Goodwin to apologize, but he has since deleted that tweet.
The Minnesota Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness also watched the debate. “Having listened to the debate, Sen. Goodwin was providing history not making disparaging remarks — actions speak louder than words.”
Hoffman was not prepared to make an apology and sent out this statement:
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.