Rep. Dehn calls for Becker legislator to apologize for ‘offensive’ North Minneapolis comment

Rep. Raymond Dehn (DFL-59B), who represents neighborhoods downtown and in North Minneapolis, has called on Rep. Jim Newberger to publicly apologize for comments about North Minneapolis during a discussion Tuesday about the North Star commuter line.

Newberger, a Republican from Becker, said: “Boy, wouldn’t that be convenient to have that rail line going from the prison (in St. Cloud) to North Minneapolis.”

Later he explained his comments by adding that’s “what came into my mind. It doesn’t matter, it could be any part of the city. But if you’re going to connect a large metro to a prison, there’s going to be some concerns. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t.”

His comments came during a debate on studying an extension of the commuter line to St. Cloud. 

Dehn said the people of North Minneapolis deserve an apology. 

“Not only was the comment highly offensive, it appears to be based on woefully inaccurate stereotypes about the type of people living in North Minneapolis,” Dehn said in a statement. “I represent a diverse group of people in North Minneapolis.  Many are largely successful and many others are working hard to get ahead and help their families.  It’s exactly these types of prejudices that make it so easy for the GOP to target the hard working people in one part of one city in Minnesota. At a minimum, Rep. Newberger should apologize on the House Floor.”