DFL Leader Apologizes for Flipping Off Republican Colleagues


Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) apologized Tuesday after a video showed him flipping off his Republican colleagues.

Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska) called a press conference Tuesday afternoon to announce that lawmakers had finally reached a deal on an emergency insulin program.

“Just when you thought that it might not happen, it happened,” said Jensen. “So today I stand before you telling you we do have a deal.”

Winkler was recorded standing off to the side of Jensen and holding up his middle finger, apparently unhappy that Jensen had decided to make the announcement alone.

“My son has Type 1 diabetes. It was poor form to express myself as I did, and for that I am sorry,” Winkler later wrote on Twitter.

“But after months in which Senate Republicans blocked the emergency insulin bill, it was also poor form of them to claim credit alone after we are all on the edge of a deal,” he continued.

Jensen claimed he was discussing the bill by himself in order to comply with social-distancing requirements under the coronavirus pandemic.

Reps. Eric Lucero (R-Dayton) and Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) sent a letter to Winkler Wednesday afternoon asking him to issue a “formal verbal apology” on the House floor when the Legislature convenes again April 14.

“Believing yourself to be outside the viewing range of the recording camera, you proceeded to exhibit a
shockingly vivid display of hate and vulgarity. Your intentional actions and lewd gesture clearly violate
accepted norms of the Minnesota House and brought dishonor and disrepute to the work we do,” says the letter. “Furthermore, it was disheartening rather than issue an unconditional apology for your
objectively vile behavior, you sought to justify and rationalize yourself by blaming Republicans.”

According to a copy of the agreement, diabetics with less than a seven-day supply of insulin can qualify for a 30-day emergency supply at a cost of no more than a $35 co-pay.

“The pharmacy may submit to the manufacturer of the dispensed insulin product or to the manufacturer’s vendor a claim for payment,” states the proposed bill, meaning the extra costs would be passed along to drug manufacturers.

Jensen said the bill will be “one of the high priority items” for lawmakers when they return to session next Tuesday.

“One of the things I noticed across this process was often times better does become the enemy of good. I think this is a good bill. Could it be better? I’m sure it could,” he added. “We tried our best. Hopefully next week you’ll see it go through the House and the Senate to the governor’s desk and the date of enactment is the day after it’s signed.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ryan Winkler” by Minnesota Senate Republicans.









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