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Hackbarth equates working Minnesotans with Hitler, Castro

by Joe Bodell on June 14, 2011

In an email exchange with a constituent, State Rep. Tom Hackbarth equates unions with Communists, and compares efforts to prevent 140,000 Minnesotans from losing their health benefits to the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1930s Germany.

One might think that a guy with a history of stalking and armed run-ins with the police couldn’t get any more bizarre. And yet.

The constituent in question happened to be a member of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, an organization representing many workers who will be hit hardest by the shutdown foisted upon Minnesota by recalcitrant Republican leadership in the Legislature. But Hackbarth goes completely off the deep end on this one:

xxxxxx,

I can’t believe what I’m hearing from folks?  All, similar letters to yours.

Are you a Union member?  If so, are they the communist giving you this propaganda?

Do you know the who, what, when, where, why, and how, of Fidel Castro?

Hitler rose to power using and blaming the jews for the destruction of the German economy.  Castro built his army of murderers by blaming the rich bankers and capitalist for destroying Cuba and taking advantage of the Cuban people.  Hummmm?

Representative Hackbarth

To be fair, at least Hackbarth responded to his constituent, which is more than I got from Rep. Kirk Stensrud when I wrote to him regarding the then-upcoming Marriage Discrimination Amendment debate. But this response from Hackbarth is bizarre at best, and at worst is representative of some completely reprehensible attitudes toward constituent services, toward collective bargaining rights and workers’ groups, and ultimately toward the people he’s supposed to be representing in St. Paul.

MAPE Executive Director Jim Monroe wrote to Hackbarth in response; you can read his letter after the break.

June 13, 2011

Representative Tom Hackbarth
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota  55155

Sent via email and by U.S. Postal Service

Dear Representative Hackbarth,

I received a copy of an email that you sent to one of my members, xxxxxx, in regards to her membership in the union I represent.  While I appreciate your willingness to respond to your constituents, I am deeply troubled about what you wrote and ask you to shed light onto linking a public employee union with the rise of Adolph Hitler and murderous armies of Fidel Castro.

I would appreciate you clarifying your statement to our member on June 9, 2011, at 10:14 pm:

“xxxxxx,

I can’t believe what I’m hearing from folks?  All, similar letters to yours.

Are you a Union member?  If so, are they the communist giving you this propaganda?

Do you know the who, what, when, where, why, and how, of Fidel Castro?

Hitler rose to power using and blaming the jews for the destruction of the German economy.  Castro built his army of murderers by blaming the rich bankers and capitalist for destroying Cuba and taking advantage of the Cuban people.  Hummmm?

Representative Hackbarth”

Representative Hackbarth, do you really equate advocating for the middle class and Minnesota’s vulnerable citizens as communist propaganda?   Do you really believe that when our members ask you to protect 140,000 Minnesotans from losing their MnCare benefits rather than having the richest two percent of Minnesotans paying their fair share of taxes it compares to the rise of Hitler and targeting the Jews?   When did supporting public services for battered women, crime victims and students in public universities become a fascist notion?

When did humanity and caring for our neighbors and asking for millionaires to pay their fair share become supporting Fidel Castro and his murderous armies?

As I am sure you would agree, we are lucky to live in a free society.  But with the freedom of expression, comes the responsibility of explaining oneself.    I ask that you please explain to me the basis of your email response to a hard working public employee who wants to work for Minnesota, is proud to serve this state and is worried about what an all-cuts budget will do to her family and the rest of the middle class.

We are not asking you to agree with everything, but you were elected to serve all your constituents and listen to their concerns respectfully without denigrating their ideas.

Please remember that their hard earned tax dollars fund your position.

At the end of this letter, I will attach the full exchange between you and xxxxxx to refresh your memory.

Thank you for your time with this matter.

Sincerely,

jimmonroe
James Monroe
Executive Director

Enc: email exchange between Rep. Hackbarth and MAPE member.

—–Original Message—–

From: Tom Hackbarth [mailto:rep.tom.hackbarth@house.mn]

Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2011 10:14 PM
To: xxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Stand up for the middle class

xxxxxx,

I can’t believe what I’m hearing from folks?  All, similar letters to yours.

Are you a Union member?  If so, are they the communist giving you this propaganda?

Do you know the who, what, when, where, why, and how, of Fidel Castro?

Hitler rose to power using and blaming the jews for the destruction of the German economy.  Castro built his army of murderers by blaming the rich bankers and capitalist for destroying Cuba and taking advantage of the Cuban people.  Hummmm?

Representative Hackbarth

Rep. Tom Hackbarth
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Office: 651-296-2439 Fax: 651-296-3918

——————–
Jun 9, 2011

Representative Tom Hackbarth
State Office Building, Room 409
100 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard St. Paul, MN 55155

Dear Representative Hackbarth,

You have a choice. As a legislators, you could chose to ask the most fortunate among us to pay their fair share or you could inflict severe pain on the middle-class and vulnerable Minnesotans.

I oppose the all-cuts budget which will increase property taxes on homeowners, renters and small businesses by more than one billion dollars.

The all-cuts plan will eliminate support for battered women and crime victims and slash funding for public universities by $411 million.

We have a choice. We can either protect the richest Minnesotans and large corporations or we can protect the vital services that average Minnesotans depend on.

Are you willing to take away health care from 140,000 Minnesotans just to protect the 40,000 richest people in Minnesota?

I also support the Viking stadium they are part of Minnesota and need to stay here.  We have waited to long to get a stadium they time is now!!

Please tax the richest 2% of Minnesotans. Ask them to pay their fair share.

Sincerely,

xxxxxxxx

ericf June 14, 2011 at 11:39 am

Give Hackbarth a break. He’s a generally moderate and thoughtful guy who doesn’t go off half-cocked, and must have just had one bad moment. It’s not like he’s that legislator that brought a gun to the Planned Parenthood parking lot and thought his intention to check on a woman he had met once was a reasonable explanation.

Oh wait…

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