EXCLUSIVE: County official calls out Burnsville legislator for ‘hypocritical behavior’

The county commissioner has been frustrated by the recent actions of Rep. Kaela Berg.

Left: Rep. Kaela Berg/Minnesota House; Right: County Commissioner Liz Workman/Dakota County

A member of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners is speaking out about what she sees as hypocrisy from a Democratic state legislator who represents Burnsville in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Commissioner Liz Workman is a non-partisan elected official who has represented the City of Burnsville on the Dakota County Board since 2009. Prior to her election to the county board, Workman served for a dozen years on the Burnsville City Council.

A staple of the Burnsville community, Workman is a strong supporter of law enforcement and commonsense public safety policy. As such, the county commissioner has been frustrated by the recent actions of Rep. Kaela Berg, D-Burnsville.

“Straw purchasing” has become the subject of intense debate at the Minnesota Legislature following the shooting deaths of three first responders in Burnsville. The practice of buying firearms for an individual who is legally barred from possessing guns, straw purchasing was allegedly how the Burnsville shooter acquired the guns he used to kill the first responders.

Currently, straw purchasing is a gross misdemeanor under Minnesota law, and some county attorneys have said they will not prosecute the crime because it is not a felony offense. Ever since 2019, Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, has pushed legislation that would make straw purchasing a felony under state law.

On March 14, Rep. Scott made a motion in the Minnesota House to have the full chamber vote on her bill, HF 548. However, Democrats voted down Rep. Scott’s motion. Among those Democrats were Burnsville-area legislators Rep. Kaela Berg and Rep. Jessica Hanson.

“The DFL’s lack of urgency and repeated refusals to even give this bill a hearing is incomprehensible. I’ve advocated for and carried this bill for five years. The sobering question is, would our three fallen first responders be alive today if the bill had passed even last year?” Scott said in a March 15 statement.

Despite her opposition to bringing Rep. Scott’s straw purchasing bill forward, Rep. Berg amended one of her own bills just days later to include language that was effectively identical to Rep. Scott’s legislation.

Describing Rep. Berg’s behavior as “hypocritical,” Commissioner Workman said this situation was the “straw that broke this camel’s back.”

“I am a firm believer of giving credit where credit is due,” said Commissioner Workman. “I struggle with the fact that the Democrats, on more than one occasion and since 2019, refused to pass HF 548 authored by Republican House Representative Peggy Scott. Yet, the Democrats have absolutely no second thoughts to taking the language in HF548 and giving it to Democrat Representative Kaela Berg to amend her HF 2609.

“I found myself not being able to keep quiet anymore about what I’ve been observing,” added Workman. “By not pointing out some of the hypocritical behavior, I’m being an enabler.”

Commissioner Workman also called attention to a 2021 statement put out by Rep. Berg, Rep. Hanson, and Sen. Lindsey Port, D-Burnsville, in response to an officer-involved shooting that occurred in Burnsville that year.

On April 18, 2021, Burnsville police shot and killed a man who opened fire at law enforcement officers. One of the officers involved, Sgt. Brent Murray, was eventually named “Officer of the Year” by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. Many law enforcement professionals hailed Sgt. Murray as a hero.

However, Rep. Berg, Rep. Hanson, and Sen. Port released a statement on the very same day Sgt. Murray stopped the shooter. That statement concluded with a call for “action on police accountability.”

Commissioner Workman said the lawmakers’ statement “criticized the Burnsville PD.”

Alpha News reached out to Sen. Port, Rep. Berg, and Rep. Hanson for comment, but they did not respond before publication.

Rep. Walter Hudson, R-Albertville, released a video in which he called the actions of state Democrats “petty, reckless and irresponsible.”

“Five years now this bill’s been available for Democrats to act upon and they’ve chosen not to,” he said, referring to Rep. Scott’s straw purchasing bill. “They voted against us to not move forward with it and then magically the bill shows up again, or at least the language of the bill shows up again, in a different bill authored by Rep. Berg.”


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.