First up on the naughty list is conservative Senator Steve Drazkowski, who adamantly opposed the bill that provided free school meals to Minnesota kids. During a debate on the bill, the senator stated that he has “yet to meet a person in Minnesota who is hungry.” Drazkowski’s comments are completely unacceptable and out of touch with the struggles of Minnesota families.
Conservative Senator Glenn Gruenhagen’s stance on the Protect Reproductive Freedoms Act, or the PRO Act, earned him his place on the naughty list. Gruenhagen’s comments during a debate on the bill included condescending remarks addressed to his female colleagues in the Senate, such as, “Ladies, come to your senses. Think of what you’re doing.” Gruenhagen has made headlines before for homophobic and transphobic comments but continues to prove he hasn’t learned anything.
Conservative Senator Nathan Wesenberg earned his spot on the naughty list this year for bizarre, hateful comments he made on the Senate floor about the LGBTQ+ community. During this session, Wesenberg made countless hateful attacks against the queer community, including a bizarre rant in which he admitted to calling 911 on drag show performers. He made hateful comments about drag shows and spread harmful and false accusations about LGBTQ+ Minnesotans.
Conservative Representative Marion Rarick earned her spot on the naughty list for spreading conspiracy theories. During the debate on the House floor to legalize marijuana, Rarick took time during her speech to argue that “One might surmise that weed legalization is a backdoor to take your guns away…” Rarick’s choice to promote unfounded claims during the debate is a harmful practice and should not be taken lightly.
Closing out the naughty list is every Republican in the Senate who voted against protecting reproductive rights.
Progressive Senator Zaynab Mohamed, the youngest woman to ever be elected to the Senate, made the nice list this year for championing the Driver’s Licenses for All bill that extended access to government-issued IDs to all residents of Minnesota. When the bill passed, Senator Mohamed declared, “Today we sent a message to Minnesota’s undocumented community: we hear you, we see you, and you are a part of our beloved community.”
Progressive Representative Leigh Finke, a first-year representative from Saint Paul and the first openly transgender representative in Minnesota history, made the nice list this year for her bill that made Minnesota a sanctuary state for LGBTQ+ health care. After the bill passed, Finke delivered a message to all LGBTQ+ people: “To all those families across the United States that are afraid and wondering where they can go for help, Minnesota is saying we see you, we love you, and you belong here.” Her work during her first legislative session was incredible, and Minnesota is lucky to have her.
Progressive Representative Zack Stephenson made the nice list this year for championing the bill that legalized adult-use cannabis. Thanks to Rep. Stephenson’s commitment, Minnesota will generate a record amount of tax revenue for the state and will repair some of the racial injustice related to cannabis charges.
2023 is Almost Over, But the Work Isn’t
We hope you and your family enjoy the holiday season and the end of 2023. There’s much to celebrate this year, but the work isn’t over yet.
We need to hold conservatives accountable for opposing the issues and policies that matter most so that we can continue to build a better Minnesota for the years to come.
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