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Editorial: Hoffman should apologize for inflamatory tweet

At midnight on May 23, Minnesota's lawmakers adjourned without a two-year budget.

A special session will take place soon in the hopes that the GOP-led Legislature will be able to find some common ground with Governor Mark Dayton over the state's massive deficit.

Meanwhile, amidst a legislative session that lawmakers have acknowledged as a failure, an ethics complaint has been filed against Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, for something she posted on Twitter last week.

During debate on the Health and Human Services bill, Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, referred to how state institutions were "called institutions for the idiots, imbeciles and the insane." Goodwin referred to this later in her speech.

However, during Goodwin's debate, Hoffman tweeted: "Sen. Goodwin just called people with mental illness-idiots and imbeciles-while debating HHS bill #offensive #mndfl #mnsrc #mnleg."

With the complete video of Goodwin's comments on YouTube, it's not difficult to see that Hoffman's tweet took Goodwin's comments completely out of context. Perhaps Hoffman was not paying attention and missed Goodwin's first reference to the names of the state institutions. Or perhaps she was tired. But whatever the reason, Hoffman has been caught in a lie.

Hoffman should realize that mistakes like these happen, but to move on she must take responsibility for her error. To continue to express 'concern' over Goodwin's remarks and ask for a hearing is a waste of time as a state government shutdown is looming.

Hoffman has shown ambition over the past few months, as she has taken an active part of sponsorship and writing of several bills. But now, she is embarrassing her constituency by continuing to stick to her guns on an issue where she is clearly wrong.

It's time for Sen. Hoffman to apologize and move on to something that really matters: working together with the rest of the Legislature to fix Minnesota's deficit before a shutdown harms the state.