Fresh off a round of criticism for a racially-charged remark the day before, on Wednesday, Minnesota State Representative Jim Newberger agonized on the house floor about being labelled and persecuted for his beliefs on climate change.
The Uptake reports in Rep. Newberger Fears Persecution As Climate Change Denier:
An amendment to an energy related bill essentially asked Minnesota lawmakers to decide if climate change is real. Rep. Jim Newberger (R-Becker) took exception to that and that he was voting no because the amendment was questioning beliefs.
I’m voting red because we’re being asked to make a statement about what we believe. And we have to be very careful with this because what happens to the people that vote no?
I’ll tell you what happens. We’re going to get labeled. We’re going to be called deniers and then we’re going to be persecuted. It will happen. I’ve seen it.
I’m not standing up here and I’m not giving this advice to the body lightly.
So if you’re asking me to vote on this issue, I’m voting. But I’m voting red because I refuse to be put in this position. I’m not voting on how I feel about this issue . I’m not going to be put in the position where if I take this vote then, what I believe in going to be judged. Because that’s exactly what you’re doing and we have to be very careful with the precedent that we’re setting here members . This has the potential to be a dangerous path. I thank you for your time, and I don’t take this lightly. And I respect the opinions of everyone on both sides of this issue, deeply. I’m not here to insult anybody. I respect you and I’ll never question your beliefs. Please don’t question mine.
The amendment failed on a 58-71 vote.
Here's the video:
It had not been a good week for the Becker Republican.
Via the Duluth New Tribune, Tom Scheck of MPR reported in Daudt: Lawmaker’s apology ends row over Minneapolis-to-prison comment:
House Speaker Kurt Daudt said Wednesday that he is satisfied with an apology from a fellow Republican lawmaker for a comment on the House floor that many considered a racial insult to people in north Minneapolis.
Democrats say the apology isn’t enough. They say Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker, should be publicly reprimanded by Republican leaders for remarks they believe show he’s insensitive to minority communities.
During a Tuesday night debate on a transportation funding bill, Newberger was speaking out against an effort to study extending the Northstar Commuter Rail Line to
St. Cloud. He said that a train between the prison in St. Cloud and north Minneapolis — a predominantly black Minneapolis neighborhood — would be “convenient.”
“Right on the edge of St. Cloud, about a half of a mile, maybe a quarter of a mile from the rail tracks is the St. Cloud State Prison,” Newberger said. “Boy, wouldn’t that be convenient to have the rail line going from the prison to north Minneapolis?” . . .
Read the rest at the News Tribune. For Bluestem's take on yesterday's flare-up, check out Mention St. Cloud & visions of prison & North Minneapolis pop into Jim Newberger's head.
Photo: Jim Newberger, R-Becker.
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