Joe's Diner

In December 2020, Erik Mortensen a Republican state representative for District 55A, toured bars and restaurants that remained open during the statewide shutdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Rep. Erik Mortensen, who represents Minnesota House District 55A, will join other prominent Minnesota Republicans and gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen at a fundraiser May 1 for Albert Lea bar owner Lisa Hanson. 

Hanson has a warrant out for her arrest after she failed to close her restaurant amid COVID-19 shutdown orders and then failed to show up to her court hearing, according to the Albert Lea Tribune.

"I proudly stand with Lisa Hanson and all of the business owners and their employees who have been decimated by Gov. Walz's unconstitutional executive orders," Mortensen said in a comment to the Valley News.

In December, Mortensen toured bars and restaurants that remained unlawfully open during the statewide shutdown, calling Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders a breach of power and maintaining that Minnesotans should be able to make their own decisions regarding gatherings.

State Representative Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, tweeted about the event, stating, “Can you imagine what the GOP would do if two sitting DFL legislators and our sole gubernatorial candidate appeared at a fundraiser with an activist who has an active warrant for their arrest?”

Mortensen responded on Facebook to Stephenson’s Twitter post.

“I proudly stand with Minnesota businesses and their employees who have been decimated by Governor Walz and DFL lawmakers like Zack Stephenson who vote repeatedly to kill small businesses,” Mortensen posted on his campaign Facebook page.

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.