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Video: Rep. Newberger booed on House floor for North Minneapolis comment

Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker, was booed by fellow House members during a speech on funding the North Star line in which he stated, “Boy, wouldn’t that be convenient, to have that rail line going from the prison to North Minneapolis.” That excerpt of Newberger’s speech is available below courtesy of the UpTake.

Comments (45)

  1. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 04/22/2015 - 08:51 am.

    It just shows….

    the selective outrage of the left. If a DFL’er would have come up with a comment like this we would not be reading about it. It would have been swept under the rug.

    • Submitted by Ed Kohler on 04/22/2015 - 10:28 am.

      Dennis, since it would be more rare to hear a similar comment from a DFL’er, it would likely create more news. I think the GOP would jump all over it, unless they were concerned that they couldn’t jump all over it while having people like Newberger in the House.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/22/2015 - 12:42 pm.

      You are wrong

      See: Ryan Winkler and Uncle Tom

      As someone already pointed out, DFLers aren’t typically prone to making racist statements. And when they do, they get called out.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 04/22/2015 - 01:19 pm.

      What your comment shows, Pavel

      is the right’s complete inability to accept that one of their own said a really stupid thing. Instead of deflecting like a 12 year old would on a playground, perhaps a simple acknowledgement that this sort of statement has no business on the House floor, would go along way towards trying to find some common ground.

    • Submitted by Kurt Nelson on 04/23/2015 - 06:37 pm.


      exactly would you sweep something under a rug if it was caught on camera (which didn’t care who was speaking, it was just recording).
      Sometimes people say stupid sh*t, and this clown is no exception, but his particular brand of racism is special, he used his entire white hood to paint his picture, not just the tip.

  2. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/22/2015 - 09:05 am.

    How can they be so mean!

    Don’t they know it was just a joke, and not an example of bigotry? This was very uncivil of them. Plus, it was probably taken out of context, he didn’t mean to offend anyone, and what about what Democrats do?

    I think that about covers the stock Republican defenses.

    • Submitted by Matt Touchette on 04/22/2015 - 09:14 am.

      It was a bad joke.

      He’s a politician speaking to the house chamber, not a comedian doing stand-up. He should not have made that comment.

      That said, the booing by House members was also unprofessional and should not have been done.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/22/2015 - 09:31 am.

        Lighten Up for Republicans

        As has already been pointed out on this thread (far more quickly than one would have expected, I might add), all conservatives know that the real racists are liberals. Therefore, when a Republican makes a crudely racist comment, we are supposed to overlook it because liberals do far, far worse. And anyway, he was just kidding, has several black friends, and went to see 12 Years a Slave (which was unfair in that it showed white people as the villains behind slavery). The responses are so predictable as to be cliches.

        Booing may have been unprofessional. It may also be evidence of admirable restraint.

      • Submitted by Brian Scholin on 04/22/2015 - 10:01 am.

        Appropriate Response

        If that sort of comment does not deserve an immediate, unambiguous, public, negative response, I’m not sure what would. Booing may not be “nice”, but at least it made a point that badly needed to be made then and there.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 04/22/2015 - 01:21 pm.


        How intolerant of the House members to point out Newberger’s intolerance.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/22/2015 - 12:43 pm.

      RB, I instinctively tried to ‘like’ this comment.

  3. Submitted by Thomas Nicholson on 04/22/2015 - 09:08 am.

    Of course we would

    A DFL’er would have been far less likely to “come up with a comment like this” in the first place. But yes, we would be hearing about it if they did. The racism of liberals is also very well documented.

  4. Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 04/22/2015 - 09:15 am.

    Wonderful uncivil response

    Thanks to the House members who recognized bigotry as soon as they heard it and responded appropriately. There is no reason to be civil in the face of mean hurtful comments by a public official in a hallowed place. The response may give us hope that there are principled leaders who are ready to stand with those who are mistreated.

  5. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/22/2015 - 09:36 am.

    Wrath of the DFL

    “the selective outrage of the left. If a DFL’er would have come up with a comment like this we would not be reading about it. It would have been swept under the rug.”

    Speaking as a pretty committed DFLer myself, if a Democrat has said this, how should I put this, he would be excoriated. The fury would have been on a very large scale. I would fully expect he would he would face an opponent in the next election, one that local party leaders would encourage him not to participate in. Because it’s a Republican, we pretty much bite our tongue, and let it go, with only a bit of wonderment at the amazing people the other party chooses to send to St. Paul.

  6. Submitted by Rick Notch on 04/22/2015 - 09:44 am.

    Public comments are like icebergs

    Public remarks are only the tip of a person’s privates thoughts. The gentleman is a racist.

  7. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/22/2015 - 09:56 am.

    As a former North Side property owner and resident I take umbrage with that remark. Why wouldn’t we just drive up there to visit friends and family like people on the South Side?

    Rybak lets tree and wind damaged houses sit abandoned for 4 years after the tornado, and now this. Sheesh

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/22/2015 - 06:31 pm.

      TS Really?

      That tornado went through my back yard, and yep I am still here. All RT’s fault? Suppose the TJ Waconia 141 Fraudulent Homes had nothing to do with the problem. Nor did the Larry Maxwell fraudulent scheme, nor did the slum lords that collected the insurance and walked away and left the demolition to the city, (typically about $8K each , nor did the slumlords like Mamood that left places blowing in the wind for years, (city ended up demoing some his crap holes as well) you may notice that after the neighborhoods & the city fought with these guys (for years) some have finally lost their license and or are in jail. That train should run through, Roseville, St Louis Park, Rosemount, Champlin and Egan to name a few places.

  8. Submitted by Pat McGee on 04/22/2015 - 11:21 am.

    The truest things are often said in “jest”

    Of course he meant it. He’s just sorry others heard it. Which is the standard operating procedure for all public apologies these days. Not just his.

  9. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 04/22/2015 - 11:34 am.

    What was he thinking?

    Sometimes speech is the tip of the iceberg. Newberger is not the first Republican to have made a totally dismissive comment toward a poor community, which North Minneapolis definitely is, or the people who live there. Those are the communities our society has created for people who have been denied all the things that makes it much easier to achieve and sustain success.

    People with his attitudes aren’t willing to fund what poor children need to do better – safe neighborhoods, secure housing, freedom from hunger and untreated health issues, excellent schools and a chance to find decent employment – and in fact, are in favor of cutting back the safety net to fund tax cuts for corporations and trust fund babies.

    If he were not just making bigoted comments, that would be bad enough, but as an elected representative, he has the power to act on his bigotry. Every vote he takes from now on should be evaluated in the context of his hateful beliefs..

  10. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/22/2015 - 12:20 pm.

    A long held belief…

    Of mine is that in business and industry their is a long path to power: it takes years either in a corporation to work your way to the top or as an entrepreneur to grow to great success. Similarly, in academia, like it or not, one must complete years of study and then advance in your field through time consuming activities. In politics, you need to win one election. One election that may be totally encompassed in a 6 month election cycle. Does this offer a greater chance that unqualified, incapable, inarticulate, in-this, un-that, goofs may find their way to power more easily in politics than almost any other field of endeavor?
    I offer Representative Jim Newberger as Exhibit A.

  11. Submitted by John Edwards on 04/22/2015 - 01:36 pm.

    I don’t get it

    Okay, a rail line goes from a prison to north Minneapolis. Rail lines go all over.
    What’s all the agitation about? It is not explained in the brief story. Could Corey Anderson or some other journalist at MinnPost explain why Newberger’s comment has caused such an uproar? Geez, such sloppy reporting.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/22/2015 - 02:21 pm.

      Geez, such sloppy reading

      You don’t see why a comment remarking on the “convenience” of linking a prison with a poor neighborhood that has a large minority population should cause agitation?

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/22/2015 - 02:39 pm.

      Map reading

      If you look at the route of that rail line and where it spurs off to, Rep. Newberger found no need to mention Edina, West Bloomington and other successful suburbs likely teeming with white collar criminals who also are perfect candidates to take up residence in St Cloud’s Big House. No, he got a chuckle that all those African Americans in North Minneapolis will need this express service as it passes through his 99.1% white district. He knows about as much about North Minneapolis as he does about colonizing the moon and likely has spent the same amount of time on/in both.

  12. Submitted by Sheldon Mains on 04/22/2015 - 01:37 pm.

    I’ve been in Becker, I’ve eaten at a restaurant in Becker. Has Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker ever done more than drive through North Minneapolis on a freeway? Maybe if he got off the freeway and met some folks, he could control his racial biases when on the floor.

    It seems to be encouraged in the Minnesota Republican Party to bash Minneapolis in any way you want. It is not encouraged in the DFL to bash any parts of our state–including house that always vote Republican.

  13. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/22/2015 - 02:59 pm.

    What was he thinking?

    I think we know what he was thinking. And I think they know what we think we know what he was thinking. The question is how productive it is for everyone to say what everyone is thinking.

  14. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 04/22/2015 - 03:06 pm.

    What surprises me is that People are surprised

    I mean, if you look at the recent behavior of his constituents in neighboring St. Cloud, plus the fact that he’s from Dyed-In-The-Wool Bachmann country, I’d only be shocked if this wasn’t his worldview.

  15. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 04/22/2015 - 03:51 pm.

    Sad or funny?

    I don’t know if this is sad or funny, but notice you have to listen twice to his remarks to cut through the prejudice and discover he didn’t have a coherent point.

  16. Submitted by colin kline on 04/22/2015 - 07:21 pm.

    It just shows…

    You’re a racist

  17. Submitted by colin kline on 04/22/2015 - 07:22 pm.


    Very appropriate

  18. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 04/22/2015 - 07:58 pm.

    How does one….

    see racism in Rep. Newberger’s comments? Typical of today’s liberals, they see discrimination wherever they look. When they can’t find it they begin to use their imagination to make it exist as they have done in these replies.

  19. Submitted by John Edwards on 04/23/2015 - 07:11 am.

    To RB Holbrook

    Thanks for your explanation, but I still don’t understand. Why should “a poor neighborhood that has a large minority population” necessarily have anything to do with a prison? There are plenty of poor neighborhoods with minimal crime. For example, parts of St. Paul are filled with poor immigrants who have nothing to do with a prison. For some reason, Corey left out a very specific element of this story. I wonder why?

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/23/2015 - 08:57 am.

      If you really don’t understand that what Newberger said was blatantly racist, you’re part of the problem.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/23/2015 - 09:08 am.

      I wonder why?

      Why did he leave out the poor neighborhoods of St. Paul? Perhaps because the Northstar Line doesn’t run there.

      I think you are just feigning ignorance here.

  20. Submitted by Todd Adler on 04/23/2015 - 09:58 am.

    Chew Vigorously

    What is it with Republicans and foot-in-mouth disease? They say they’re not racist, not anti-poor, and not anti-women, yet they go out of their way to antagonize those very segments of society, thereby proving they are indeed a bunch of schleps.

    Republicans don’t have an image problem, they have a character problem.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/23/2015 - 01:49 pm.

      Character problem

      My fear is that it’s so endemic to the Republican party at this point. Has there been ANY reaction from Minnesota Republicans to this? Any? Who in that conservative spectrum is going to admonish Newberger for this? I’d say the silence is deafening… to the point of being a tacit endorsement of this line of thinking. If you don’t look like them and think like them, they say your life has no value and you should just shuttle yourself to prison where they expect you to end up anyways. At least they are being honest.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 04/23/2015 - 04:49 pm.

        The only reaction

        is what you read here from the usual cast of conservatives. They won’t admonish him because they all agree with what he said. These people live in a bubble and it’s only when one of them makes the mistake of spewing their rhetoric outside the safe confines of their echo chamber that it backfires. Day after day, hour after hour, they hear rightie talk radio and talking heads on Fox tell them that democrats don’t have jobs, don’t have families, hate religion, hate America, don’t serve in the military, etc.

        “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
        ― Joseph Goebbels

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/29/2015 - 10:42 am.

      Big time

      Character problem? Absolutely. The republican party, for a variety of reason has become a magnet for sociopaths, bigots, and deliberate ignorance. It’s been developing for decades but at this point it’s the prominent feature of the party. From Libertarian selfishness to christian oppression the party riddled with damaged personalities. Max Blumenthal’s: “Republican Gomorrah” does a really good job of tracing the history and nature of the republican descent into reactionary pathology.

      There are some signs that decent conservatives are starting to make a push to take their party back but it’s that response is way over-due.

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