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Minnesota political news from an insider’s perspective.
After watching Rep. Cheryl Youakim (DFL-Hopkins) run the House Education Finance Committee last week, it’s apparent she doesn’t like strong Black women. I’m not sure what else to conclude after watching her selectively admonish two strong Black women who testified against the radical ethnic studies bill heard in her committee.
On Tuesday, Kofi Montzka introduced herself to Rep. Youakim’s committee as “an attorney, wife and mom to three boys, two of which are in high school.” She then proceeded to give a scathing rebuke of the ethnic studies language in the Governor’s Education Finance bill. Montzka said, “Not everything that sounds good, is good” and “We used to have a race-based system and we got rid of it, and now you’re all trying to bring it back.” In the true spirit of the bill, she divided committee members by race, telling the white Representatives, “I can see why you would support this bill — it’s not your kids being told that they can’t succeed. And you get to shed some of your white guilt in the process.” She then asked the legislators of color, “How can you support this bill? You made it despite the invisible boogeyman of systemic racism.”
When Montzka was finished with her testimony, Youakim chastised her to “Please refrain from what we like to call decorum, and not calling names.”
First, that doesn’t even make sense. Refrain from decorum? She should have said “keep decorum.” Second, why bring up decorum and name-calling after Montzka’s remarks? She did not call anyone a name. She criticized the bill language and challenged members of the committee. She made them uncomfortable for supporting something that will take hope away from her Black children. Judge for yourself — the video of Montzka’s testimony has gone viral, with hundreds of thousands of views nationwide.
Two days later, Rep. Youakim had a similar message for another Black woman testifying. “Let’s just tone the rhetoric down and tone the name-calling down otherwise I will have to do a correction,” Youakim said to Alfrieda Baldwin on Thursday. Baldwin is the Board Chair of Take Charge Minnesota and testified that the ethnic studies proposal creates a hateful and confusing message for mixed race students, let alone Black students. She called the bill a “twisted view of ethnic studies.”
This isn’t an ethnic studies bill. It is a critical social justice bill that will strip students of their individuality and slot them into the role of either victim or victimizer depending on their skin color.
She didn’t call anyone a name. She kept her remarks completely related to the bill. In fact, she used some of her two minutes of testimony to read definitions from the bill. Youakim just didn’t like Baldwin’s message. And the fact that her message was coming from a Black woman, who is supposed to tow the DFL line on issues such as ethnic studies, made it even worse.
These two testifiers spoke truth to power and were chastised because of it. Rep. Youakim had many people testify in her committee last week, but saved her decorum warnings exclusively for Baldwin and Montzka. The word uppity comes to mind.
Last week in Capitol Watch we wrote about the Walz budget proposal adding 2,300 new state full-time equivalents (FTEs) in the major state agencies. Walz was asked about our research by Christopher Magan of the Pioneer Press during a press conference on Tuesday. Magan referenced our work and asked Walz if “his budget proposal” added more than 2,000 new state employees.
Walz first tried to avoid answering by dismissing American Experiment as the source of the data. “Is it the usual Minnesota think tank who puts that out? Well then, I will dismiss that as it should be dismissed.” (Never forget — they hold you in contempt.)
But then he denies adding thousands of new state employees in his budget proposal by saying the cost of government today is the same as it was in 2002. Really? The state budget for the 2002-03 biennium was $26.6 billion. Walz’s proposed budget for the 2024-25 biennium is $66.3 billion. The only way Walz can make this ridiculous comparison is by using the bogus Price of Government Index invented by Gov. Arne Carlson back in the 1990s. The price of government is an index that measures state and local government spending as a percentage of personal income. It’s a moving target that allows politicians like Walz to claim government spending is not out of control.
The real problem with the press conference wasn’t Walz’s answer. It was the lack of follow-through by the reporters in the room. The last follow-up question asked at a governor’s press conference was answered by a guy named Tim Pawlenty. Walz talks fast, talks loud, talks with assurance and confidence, so the reporters just back off.
The truth is the number of new FTEs added in the Walz budget is way beyond the 2,300 we reported last week. American Experiment interns are working on the final numbers now, since no one else in the media has any interest in holding him accountable.
Does this make you mad? Join us at the Freedom Rally on Tuesday, April 4th at the State Capitol. Let Gov. Walz and the legislature know what you think of their extreme agenda. The only way to slow everything down is to let them know there is opposition.
Join us on Tuesday, April 4th at 11 AM in the Capitol Rotunda
Stop the Madness!
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