Letter: We have a right to expect decency from public officials

August 9, 2018

During a parade in Byron last month, the Olmsted County GOP accepted the endorsement of a notorious local racist.

The GOP float in the parade was pulled by Brian Braaten in a truck advertising his business. Braaten is a former Rochester Township board chairman who has posted racist and sexist material online. His posts are so vile that the chair of the Olmsted County GOP in 2017 saud, “I find them reprehensible. He’s not associated with us now, and I don’t see him being involved with us in the future.”

And yet, there he was, very much involved with the county GOP, pulling their float and getting in some free advertising with local voters. I messaged the county GOP to express my disgust. Their response, “We’re not advertising, we’re borrowing a truck. Pay attention to the float.”

OK, let’s pay attention to the float. Firmly planted on the float was Rep. Duane Quam, current state representative for House District 25A. This isn’t surprising since Quam himself has twice introduced legislation that would allow business owners to discriminate against customers, based on the business owner’s religious beliefs.

We have a right to expect certain standards of decency from our elected officials. The county GOP and Quam have known for years exactly what Braaten stands for and are apparently OK with it. Are you?

Primary election day is Aug. 14 and the general election is on Nov. 6. Vote.

Alisha Eiken, Byron

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