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Newman aide was wrong on meetings

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opinion Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, found himself on the political hot seat Tuesday for the action of one of his staff members.

Newman's assistant, Kim Kelley, last week sent an e-mail to the Minnesota Nurses Association saying the senator would not meet with the group because it had supported his election opponent, Democrat Hal Kimball, in the November election.

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Kelley wrote "Unfortunately, Senator Newman will not see any organizations that donated to/supported his opponent Hal Kimball. After some careful checking, I discovered that the (Minnesota Nurses Association) had donated to Kimball's campaign. Your association will be unable to schedule an appointment with Senator Newman."

Once his "no meeting with opponent supporters" position became public, Newman issued a statement apologizing for the e-mail and accepting responsibility.

He also said, "It is not his policy to reject meeting requests on a political or partisan basis."

We would hope so.

Any elected official is elected to represent all the people of their district, not just one political side or the other.

We commend Newman for stepping up quickly to clarify his position on meeting with the public regardless of political or partisan position.

The remaining issue is where Newman's staffer got the idea to write this e-mail in the first place and what discipline the staffer received.

Those questions have not been sufficiently addressed by Newman.

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