Update: Franson’s Critics Increase Her Determination

Franson in a March House committee meeting while protesters demand her resignation.

Death threats, demands to resign and other attacks have only made state Rep. Mary Franson more determined to stay in office, she says.

A Democratic-Farmer-Laborite campaign official this week sent Internet links to an edited video clip of a recent Franson speech in Browerville in which she discusses a joke she told in March that led to statewide reaction. The campaign did post a full video of her speech later, but Forum Communications did not receive an email about that, as it did about the edited version.

In her March YouTube video, the Alexandria Republican said more food stamps are being distributed than ever while parks officials suggest that feeding animals makes them more dependent. The Welfare Rights Committee and others on the left criticized Franson for what they said was comparing welfare recipients to animals.

Franson repeated the story in Browerville, which drew laughter and applause.

“You guys laugh and you guys clap, but what I got from the inside of St. Paul was completely ugly,” she said in a portion of the speech the DFL did not originally post to YouTube. “I don’t want them to be poor. I want them to be able to better their lives.”

Franson said that too many people depend on food stamps and other government payments and some would rather receive unemployment insurance than work.

Zach Rodvold, the DFL House campaign director, said in an email that Franson’s district includes some of Minnesota’s poorest people. “A recent study showed that 21 percent of children in Todd County, where part of her district is located, are living in poverty and that 13.5 percent receive food stamps.”

Franson indicated it was not just Democrats who caused problems after her March comments.

“I did not get any support from my caucus,” she said of fellow House Republicans. “I was left all alone.”