Rep. Mary Franson outs herself as careless driver to "scoop" Star Tribune's Jon Tevlin

Categories: Media, Politics
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Mary Franson needs a public relations professional
Rep. Mary Franson sent out a press release Friday evening outing herself as a careless driver in response to a forthcoming Star Tribune column by Jon Tevlin.

Identifying Tevlin as "yet another liberal reporter" and "a voice for the dependency lobby," Franson claimed her critics were intimidated by her "efforts to help the poor instead of binding them more tightly into their abject conditions." Franson has been in hot water for comparing food stamp recipients to animals.

"My personal shortcomings, of which, mercifully, the reporter has none, are now to be used to discredit my message of hope and dignity," Franson wrote, before launching into her personal history. "Approximately ten years ago I was charged with careless driving and again one year later."

Franson's decision to "speak first because I am not afraid" appeared rather ridiculous Saturday morning when Tevlin's column, "In Rep. Franson's district, 'animals' are also known as constituents," ran with no mention of her driving record, as did her decision to email the press release to Tevlin with a note reading: "I thought I would scoop you."

Tevlin reached out to Franson because he was interested in the issues raised by Franson's comparison of food stamp recipients to animals. He'd also done a quick background check on her and thought her driving record was worth looking into.

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Jon Tevlin got "scooped" by Rep. Mary Franson

"I asked her in a voicemail so she assumed I was going to put it in a column," Tevlin says.

Instead of excoriating Franson for her driving record, however, Tevlin reported a column about Franson's constituents in Todd County, where unemployment is low but food stamp use is high.

"It's not because they're lazy," Tevlin says, citing low unemployment numbers. "It's because their jobs don't pay them enough."

Tevlin was disappointed by Franson's press release, and her refusal to call him back.

"I think if she had called me back we would've had a good chat about what the issue is," Tevlin says. In the column, Tevlin discusses growing up in Todd County, where his family took food stamps after his father had an aneurysm.

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There's nothing cute about Rep. Franson's comments about food stamps, but these raccoons are adorable
"My dad accepted food stamps because he believed in responsibility, responsibility to feed his kids even though he couldn't work," Tevlin wrote.

Tevlin has never had a politician "scoop" him before, or try to.

"I'm going to cut her some slack, though," Tevlin says. "She's a rookie politician."

The veteran Star Tribune columnist does dispute Franson's characterization of him as "liberal."

"I'm probably liberal on some issues, conservative on others, moderate on most," Tevlin says. "I don't remember getting a thank you from her when I wrote a critical column about Keith Ellison."

As for Franson's sarcastic aside that Tevlin must have no shortcomings, Tevlin laughs.

"I can't think of any offhand. It's probably a good day [Saturday] to ask my wife. It's our 24-year anniversary," Tevlin says.

Franson did not return messages seeking comment. Read her full press release on the next page.



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24 comments
E2TK
E2TK

Tevlin only qualifies as a moderate in Minneapolis, Cuba, and Belgium.

Jack
Jack

Another thing.....why don't fast food places accept EBT?  I need to feed my 19 children healthy and cheap food. I think fast food places are racist!!!

Jack
Jack

I LOVE food stamps!! It is the only way you can buy soda pop, chips, and more soda pop for free!!!!!  I'm lovin' it!!  

Jack
Jack

I agree with Franson.  She did not say it outright, but in reality what she was referring to was not the people who have to go on Welfare due to unforeseen financial hardship (those are the people whom Welfare was designed for) but rather the chronic career "Welfare collectors" who live in this state, and in particular down here in the Twin Cities.  

I am a single white male with no kids who is 32 years old.  I have a 2 year degree in Home Construction.  I only work construction 6 months out of the year, the rest I work as a "stock boy" at Target.  After taxes, I net $31,000 a year with no health insurance.  I bust my ass off for the money I earn.  Yet, I do not live a lavish lifestyle.  I do not own a home.  I drive a 10-year old  Honda.  After rent, car insurance, utilities, gas, rental insurance, and basic necessities, I have about $10 left after each paycheck.  (BTW, I have to own a car to get to the construction sites).

Yet I see these single mothers who have 2-4 kids in tow, going to grocery stores and buying foods that I could not possibly afford using their EBT cards.  The mothers (as well as the kids) have this attitude like "We are entitled to this".  Oh Really?  It irks me more that these women get full medical coverage for themselves as well as their children, while I go without.  And I am a tax payer.  They are NOT.  When I was without money for food last month, I decided to contact the Human Services Division of Hennepin County and inquired about what assistance I could get get.  They informed me that because I am an employed male with no kids, I am entitled to NOTHING.  They told me to go to a local food shelf......

I went to the local food shelf and I got 2 boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese.  Unlike the single mother at the grocery store who was able to buy steak using her EBT card.

           

Krispy
Krispy

"hope and dignity"??First they are wild animals, now they are in "abject conditions." Consider the definition of abject: "wretched; as low as possible; lacking pride; very humble; showing lack of self-respect;"  

Clearly she will do a great job of representing this group of her constituents who she seems to find morally repugnant. 

Seed
Seed

This Franson lady is like Minnesota's own Victoria Jackson.

Jeff
Jeff

Oh, how I really do love CP's fair and balanced reporting.

CJJ
CJJ

Doesn't the bill Franson highlights in the YouTube video not allow for mistakes either? A person who has had a prior drug conviction in the last ten years is ineligible to apply for food assistance. So someone who has hit their bottom and is trying to make a go of living drug free should just go hungry. What goes around will come around and bite your behind MS. Franson. 

Jamie Delton
Jamie Delton

 HotLunch, cool it. Jon Tevlin retracted the lazy comment and was caught trying to publish her driving records.Get real.The story here is Tevlin.

Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Jo Sorensen

I wonder what she thinks about those freeloading pheasants living on USDA-funded Conservation Reserve Program lands.

HotLunch
HotLunch

Another day, another cowardly GOP blunder

Seed
Seed

If you net $31,000 you must be grossing around $42,000 or so. You are not poor. There is no reason you should only have $10 left after paying basic expenses. I don't believe you.

Joe
Joe

You're right.  There will always be a few who game the system, and it's NOT fair.  And they're usually pretty visible.  But they make up a very small percentage of the people actually using these programs.  Most of the people using these services ARE or WERE taxpayers, and simply need to feed their families.

You're awfully vocal for a guy complaining about other peoples' sense of entitlement.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

"Jon Tevlin retracted the lazy comment"

What on earth are you talking about? Did you just skip to Franson's press release or is English your second language? Have you ever read Tevlin? Reporters dig, but they don't use everything they find and it's very hard to see how Franson's driving record would have made it into that column.

FellowHuman
FellowHuman

Wow, must be interesting to be able to make up such cool stuff and then claim it's true, Jamie.

I have a solid gold iPhone in my top drawer! (checks, finds nothing) DAMN! Don't have the powers you do.

HotLunch
HotLunch

And her knee-jerk reaction to a voicemail would indicate that she is not qualified to be making decisions for ANYONE.

Jeff
Jeff

 Franson also said: "I believe that we can get Minnesota's poorest of the poor back up on their feet and moving toward a prosperous future."Wow.  She wants to take steps so that the poor can be less dependent on the government and become self-sufficient members of society.

She must be evil for proposing something like that..........

HotLunch
HotLunch

Seriously, what an insane response letter. Paranoid much, GOP? Sheesh! Cmon November!!

Jeff
Jeff

Sally: there are state-run job training centers all over Minnesota that offer certain courses either free or at a reduced cost. (Locally, the nearest one near me is the East Side Neighborhood Services Job Training Center in NE Mpls....and I should point out that their programs have been very successful....even in this economy).  As far as education goes, anyone can attend a Community College for almost no initial out-of-pocket costs (Federal and State Financial Aid will give you MORE than enough money...yes, you have to pay it back, but well....nothing is free).  By lowering the maximum time limit to collect benefits, it gives them the incentive to start changing their future NOW.  It also saves the State of MN hundreds of millions of dollars a year.  The only people who are against the reduced time limit are people who think that solving a social problem is simply to throw more money at it.  Sorry, history has shown that does NOT work.  The poor will ALWAYS be poor unless THEY decide to change the situation themselves.  The Government is not your mommy. 

Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Jo Sorensen

 And what steps are those?

The bill she's talking about simply cuts people off cash assistance after 3 years. No job training, no education.  So compassionate.

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