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Hoffman appears before ethics committee

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local Perham, 56573
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, is in the hot seat today.

The freshman senator is appearing today in front of an ethics committee for a complaint filed against her on May 20 on allegations that she tweeted a comment made by Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, out of context.

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The complaint was filed by Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope.

Hoffman tweeted around 7:30 p.m. May 18 that Goodwin used derogatory names when referring to people with mental illnesses.

Hoffman's tweet stated: "Sen. Goodwin just called people with mental illness-idiots and imbeciles-while debating HHS bill."

Goodwin was addressing the health and human service bill, relating the history of state institutions in Minnesota, specifically in the late 80's.

"This is how far we've come, the way state institutions used to be; they were called institutions for the idiots, imbeciles and the insane - and that's what it said right on the hospital," she said.

Toward the end of her remarks, Goodwin again referred to the name previously used by state institutions.

Hoffman's spokeswoman, Susan Closmore, indicated in an email that Hoffman had concerns with those specific set of remarks at the end of the speech.

Hoffman's Twitter comment was re-tweeted by Michael Brodkorb, deputy chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota and spokesperson for the Senate Republican Caucus.

The complaint suggests Hoffman violated a Senate rule that states any member shall not publish material about another member's position that is known to be false or clearly misleading. It also alleges that Hoffman violated a portion of the rule that states members are to adhere to the highest standard of ethical conduct.

A statement was released by Hoffman's office after the complaint was filed:

"I look forward to sitting down with Senator Goodwin to discuss my concerns regarding remarks she made on the Senate floor today during a lengthy debate on Health and Human Services finance bill. Until I have an opportunity to speak with Senator Goodwin directly and share my experiences as a registered nurse, I have no further comment."

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