Gazelka: Commissioner using state resources to request public support of Governor a very poor decision

(ST. PAUL, MN) –  Senator Gazelka released the following statement on the recent communication from Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove that provided sample letters of support for businesses, parents and educators, and health care professionals to send to the Governor and for print in their local newspaper:

“Using state resources to solicit support for the Governor is at a minimum, a very poor decision and we are inquiring to see if there is a violation of state law or ethics principles from this request. The average Minnesotan understands that businesses and individuals should never be directed or pressured to publicly support the Governor by one of the Governor’s own commissioners. The public needs to see a reprimand and explanation of this abuse of power. 

“I have to ask: What will these letters be used for? Will those who submit a letter to the Governor or their newspaper have an easier time interacting with DEED? Is there going to be a list in the Governor’s office of which businesses wrote to him—or which didn’t—for future press conferences and publicity stunts? Is it possible some businesses are pushing back on the mask mandate and the Commissioner is trying to flood the Governor’s desk and our newspapers with letter of support using state resources for a taxpayer-funded PR campaign? 

“The Commissioner should worry less about cheerleading the administration and focus more on safely reopening Minnesota businesses as soon as possible.”