On April 17, State Rep. Tony Albright posted on his Facebook page, “Governor Walz: LIBERATE MINNESOTA.” That post accompanied similar tweets from the president. It also followed the very disturbing view of protesters bearing assault weapons and wearing paramilitary uniforms on the steps of the Michigan state capitol and those of several other states. A protest in front of the Minnesota governor’s residence occurred the day of the post.
On April 30, we saw the spectacle of these armed militants inside the Michigan state capitol intimidating legislators and shouting past police lines formed to keep them out of the legislative chambers themselves. Steve Schmidt observed that it looked like the Brown Shirts protesting in Germany in the 1920s. Steve Schmidt was a Republican strategist.
Rep. Albright’s apparent response? None that we can see. While his Facebook page is public, his Twitter feed is private. Based on what we can see, at worst, this looks as though he supports such protests. At best, it looks like he dares not object to them.
On April 28 came a post touting the “great news” of the coming executive order from the president to mandate the opening and staffing of the meatpacking plants seen closing here in Minnesota and elsewhere in the Midwest.
What I see here is a concern to have steak on a plate at the expense of the workers in the meatpacking plants. Many plant workers have died of COVID-19 already.
While I can understand the need to keep feeding the nation, the lack of anything said for the safety of those workers demonstrates Rep. Albright’s failure to understand the seriousness of the pandemic and the loss of 90,000 people killed (as of May 19). In 2.5 months, the US lost more to this disease than we lost in and since the Vietnam War. As a veteran, that worries me greatly.
There is an alternative. The local DFL just endorsed Dr. Andrea Nelsen to challenge Rep. Albright.
Dr. Nelsen is a medical doctor who believes more in science than the power of money. She agrees with Gov. Walz’s data driven approach to combating COVID-19. That includes the all too critical need to avoid overwhelming our hospital resources, inside the metro and out. Like Gov. Walz, it also includes protecting meat plant workers before opening them back up.
Her approach to local small businesses that remain under the stress of closure is to continue to push to provide more financial support for the owners and employees. That means providing them the cushion they need to survive between now and the time they may get to reopen. It also includes reopening in phases driven by the data and the experiences of other states.
We need someone who believes in science, medicine and epidemiology in the statehouse not someone driven by a rabid base, emotion and denial. For me at least, it will be an easy decision. We need Dr. Nelsen in the statehouse.