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Spat erupts between GOP’s Kiffmeyer and Kriesel over stadium vote and courage

Some harsh words have been flying between Republican state Reps. Mary Kiffmeyer and John Kriesel over the Vikings stadium vote, which he supported and she opposed.

And as an example of how rancorous and bizarre the political process can be — even amongst those in the same party — Kiffmeyer questioned the courage of Kriesel, an Army vet whose legs were blown off in Iraq six years. He’s been awarded   the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star.

It started last week, after the Legislature approved the public subsidies for a new stadium. In an email to her supporters, Kiffmeyer wrote:

Usually bills get better when they come back from a conference committee.

This time, it got worse. Additional pork for St. Paul and Minneapolis was added, a shocking data privacy for the Vikings was included, the funding mechanism of the pull tabs continued, the percentage to charity got smaller, no user fees included and the general fund continues to be at risk of bailing out this project in the future. In addition, the “new” $50 million the team is “adding” to their portion is offset by the team getting the naming rights instead of the state. The Wilf family also got back in their exclusive rights to a Soccer team for the next five years or so. Quite an amazing package for the owners.

I realized that this was a set deal between the Vikings, the Governor and the bill authors and that no matter the amendments or arguments, it would get done. They had enough votes to force it through. The City Council of Minneapolis has the last vote after the Governor signs the bill.

Kriesel, one of the stadium bill authors, fired back:

Force it through? C’mon Mary. You can disagree with the bill but don’t lie about it.

Whereupon Kiffmeyer responded:

Not only no clue but no courage to run again and be accountable and see what your district thinks.

Kriesel then sent this to his Twitter followers:

Just received the most classless email from Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer. I will do whatever I can to make sure she is not re-elected. Classless lady

And then another tweet:

I would consider taking out a second mortgage on my house to donate to whoever is running against Mary Kiffmeyer.

Kriesel is not running for re-election, saying in March that after one term in office, he wanted to spend more time with his family. Then last month he lined up a job as head of Anoka County’s Veteran Services department. He had bucked Republican legislative leaders by opposing the proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.

Kiffmeyer, a former secretary of state, is running for state Senate in the newly created District 30, which includes Big Lake, Elk River, Otsego, St. Michael, Albertville and Hanover.

Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 05/14/2012 - 11:58 am.

    Ah, Yes… Mary Kiffmeyer

    Whose only way of evaluating the character of another person is whether or not they agree with her own “true beliefs.” Liars, cheats, scoundrels, flim-flam artists of all kinds are perfectly fine, especially if they’re fabulously wealthy.

    TRUE courage, sacrifice, etc., are not part of her evaluation of anyone’s character (especially her own).

    Sadly, she remains completely unable to win a logical, fact-based argument with those with whom she disagrees and is so deeply threatened by people who might make her uncomfortable by raising questions about her “true beliefs” that she has worked her entire political career to be sure as many such people as possible are not allowed to vote.

    What a piece of (typical “conservative” Republican) work!

  2. Submitted by Scott Stansbarger on 05/14/2012 - 12:37 pm.

    Kiffmeyer is the coward!

    I’m a blue-blooded Liberal and although I disagree with Kriesel on a lot of political issues, this is one area where I 100% agree with him. Kiffmeyer is a well-known liar and for her to call some else a coward is laughable. Kriesel is a real hero and I salute him whole-heartedly. He has more courage in his little finger than Kiffmeyer has in her entire body. How dare she call a member of our military a ‘coward’ when she herself chose to hide from the military? Kiffmeyer is a sorry excuse of a person and I hope whoever goes up against her in her next election wins by a landslide.

  3. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 05/14/2012 - 02:17 pm.

    Kiffmeyer is a great example…

    … of the often inverse relationship between strength of knowledge and strength of opinion. I won’t go so far as to say she’s lying — though Kriesel in the caucus with her and might know whereof he speaks — but she got some facts wrong.

    Of course, we already know from how she ran the SOS office, and how she blithely took away other people’s rights with the photo ID and marriage amendments, that she’s not a good person. What a shame she’s running in such a conservative district. I don’t like the odds of beating her.

  4. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 05/14/2012 - 04:34 pm.

    Kiffmeyer pure zealot.

    Kiffmeyer is exactly what the republicans like, a zealot without any sense. I absolutely salute Rep Kriesel for his service to his country, both in the military and in the house. I may not agree with him politically but he is the closest legislator the republicans had to having common sense and now he has left. Way to go republicans! You and your nonsense has driven another one away from public office. I know they all say they are leaving to spend more time with family or for another job, but if the truth be known the real answer for most legislators is they can’t stand operating in a hyper-partisian atmosphere any more than the public can stand watching the disfunctional zero accomplishment legislative body we have in St. Paul. Voters it is time to give the Kiffmeyer and the rest of the republicans what they deserve in November. Inactions have consequences and November is the time they get the consequences of their inactions. Speak loudly voters!

  5. Submitted by Jamie Delton on 05/14/2012 - 05:33 pm.

    Conference committee a crime scene

    I get it. We’re attacking probably the one person who actually READ the bill. Fun!
    If you don’t realize a crime against our government was committed in the early May 2012 conference committee you’re the enemy of informed democracy.
    Kiffmeyer is, once again, right on.

  6. Submitted by Rick Prescott on 05/14/2012 - 08:09 pm.


    Whatever you think of Kiffmeyer, her diatribe is factually accurate:

    “Additional pork for St. Paul and Minneapolis was added”

    “data privacy for the Vikings was included”

    “the funding mechanism of the pull tabs continued”

    “the percentage to charity got smaller”

    “no user fees included”

    “the general fund continues to be at risk of bailing out this project in the future”

    “the ‘new’ $50 million the team is ‘adding’ … is offset by … naming rights”

    “Wilf family also got back in their exclusive rights to a Soccer team for the next five years”

    These things are all verifiably true. You can quibble with the characterization of additional funding to cities as “pork” but the fact that it was added at the last minute is not in question.

    Also, behind-the-scenes stories are beginning to emerge which indicate that the final deal was the direct result of threats placed on the table by NFL commissioner Goodell during his visit. From the moment he left, according to some with knowledge of the proceedings, the deal was as good as done.

    Finally, it seems a little subjective to make any claims about anyone’s level of courage. Specifically, citing military service and medals as proof of “courage” is a bit specious. Courage in military action (which apparently Kriesel showed) is a very different thing from courage in politics and legislation.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 05/15/2012 - 09:13 am.

      Courage in military action

      May be different than courage in politics, but to even attempt to equate them in any way is simply ridiculous.

  7. Submitted by Mike Lhotka on 05/14/2012 - 08:57 pm.

    forcing it through

    She should talk of forcing bills through.

  8. Submitted by Guy Philby on 05/15/2012 - 02:04 am.

    Kiffmeyer is Mostly Right

    I saw this blurb before any comments were posted and knew that reader disdain for Kiffmeyer would produce self-righteous shots at her even though she’s largely correct in this instance.

    I don’t like Kiffmeyer either but let’s set the emotionalism aside and look at the arguments.

    Kiffmeyer claims:

    1. The bill got worse after conference committee
    She defends this claim with the eight specific examples given above, all of them accurate. So far, so good.

    2. The bill was a set deal between the Vikings, Governor Dayton, Sen. Rosen and Rep. Lanning.
    She didn’t explicitly defend this claim, but it’s not in controversy either. Every party involved has acknowledged this and Rosen re-copped to the “done deal” character of the bill after it passed.

    3. They forced it through.
    Kiffmeyer doesn’t explicitly defend this either and it is the sole issue Kriesel challenges. Whether a bill is “forced through” is in the eye of the beholder. However, Kiffmeyer’s assertion is better supported by the facts. Look to MinnPost and Nick Coleman’s blog for in-depth analysis of the cynical means by which this bill was passed esp. after they browbeat enough votes out of the legislature.

    It doesn’t appear that Kiffmeyer directed her comments at Kriesel specifically, but never one to shy from the klieg lights, Kriesel took to the Twittersphere with one implied claim:

    1. It was not forced through.
    Kriesel’s support for his claim? Zilch.

    Does Kriesel challenge the meatier aspects of Kiffmeyer’s argument? Nope.

    Kiffmeyer responded:

    1. Kriesel lacks political courage.
    Her evidence: he voted for a bad bill and refuses to face accountability for it at the ballot box.

    Kriesel then threw a Twitter tantrum claiming:

    1. Kiffmeyer is classless and I will do whatever to defeat her, even take out a second mortgage.
    His evidence: again, none. We’re to gather it from the context apparently.

    Kiffmeyer’s claim is focused: Kriesel lacks the courage to run again and face the consequences of voting for a terrible bill. This is not the same as arguing Kriesel lacks courage in all situations at all times in his life. A man can be courageous in a war zone but too vain to face defeat at the ballot box. His war service is utterly irrelevant to Kiffmeyer’s argument and Kimball and MinnPost readers should know better.

    Where you come down on this part of the spat depends on why you think Kriesel is leaving the legislature. He’s put the best possible PR on his departure: time with the family, belief that you serve and leave, etc.

    I’ve never bought that given that two years is garbage time even to term limits supporters, but if you do, fair enough. He made the decision not to run again when the bill was in limbo, so I do think Kiffmeyer is wrong on the specifics here. I suspect Kriesel either got bored, needed to focus on gainful employment, knew his new district would be less hospitable than his old district and didn’t want to go down a loser, or a combination of factors.

    If you want to rip on Kiffmeyer, save it for issues like voter ID.

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