Rep. Dawn Gillman, R-Dassel, told Alpha News that Rep. Leigh Finke, DFL-St. Paul, gave her a “heartfelt apology” following an incident last week.
As Alpha News previously reported, Gillman said she was verbally accosted by Finke on the House floor last week because she shared a tweet from the organization Gays Against Groomers.
Gillman said she was “yelled at and intimidated” by Finke, who apparently shouted “no!” when a colleague suggested moving the conversation off the floor. She told Alpha News she was “shaken and fearing for her personal safety” following the interaction.
“I feel like there’s been a good resolution,” Gillman told Alpha News. She said that she is no longer planning on filing a formal ethics complaint against Finke.
The dispute was over Gillman sharing a post from the organization Gays Against Groomers regarding Finke’s legislation that would have removed existing language in Minnesota law stipulating that pedophilia is not a protected sexual orientation. Finke claimed that the controversy surrounding the bill was based on a “lie.”
“The past 36 hours in this job have been the most difficult so far. I’ve been confronted, called the worst things possible, threatened with murder. The volume has been greater than at any point. All for a lie told about a small bill that changes nothing about sexual orientation,” Finke wrote on Twitter last week.
Finke’s bill sought to remove this language from the Minnesota Human Rights Act: “‘Sexual orientation’ does not include a physical or sexual attachment to children by an adult.”
A GOP amendment was unanimously passed in the House to clarify that pedophiles are not a protected class after Finke’s legislation faced national criticism.
After the altercation, DFL legislators doubled down on their support of Finke on Twitter, sharing posts with the hashtag “StandWithLeigh.” House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, condemned the DFL legislators in a statement for failing to acknowledge any wrongdoing in Finke’s treatment of Gillman.
According to Gillman, she met with Finke, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, and staff from human resources on Tuesday when the apology was issued.
“Leigh then deleted all of the tweets out of respect for me,” Gillman said, referring to Finke’s tweets criticizing Gays Against Groomers and Republican legislators.
However, screenshots of Finke’s tweets remained on Finke’s Instagram page as of Wednesday afternoon.
Gillman said the situation could have been handled right away but she is satisfied with the resolution.
“Our workplace needs to be safe,” Gillman said. “I feel much better about this now.”