State Rep. Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, was among just eight members of the Minnesota House of Representatives, all Republicans, to vote against a resolution “condemning violence and violent rhetoric directed at our United States Capitol and state capitols, and affirming support for democracy, rule of law, and the certified results of Minnesota's election and the elections of the other states.”
The resolution passed 111-8 on Monday, Jan. 25, according to Session Daily.
Backer represents District 12A, which includes part of Douglas County.
State Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, did not vote on the resolution. She represents District 8B.
State Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, voted in favor of the resolution. He represents District 12B, which includes part of Douglas County.
The resolution lays out that an armed mob breached the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, killing Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick and endangering members of Congress, law enforcement, and staff.
The mob damaged property in the U.S. Capitol, where Congress was in session to certify the Electoral College results, and forced members of Congress to evacuate -- minutes before the mob breached the U.S. House and Senate chambers.
The resolution notes that the Electoral College had cast 306 electoral votes for Joe Biden to 232 electoral votes for President Donald Trump; and the electoral ballots had to be physically carried out of the chamber to prevent them from being damaged by the mob.
It adds that Minnesota's electoral votes had not yet been certified when Congress was forced to flee, efforts to thwart the will of Minnesota voters are undemocratic, and attempts to block certification of Minnesota's election results have been rejected by the courts.
Also, the resolution notes that precautionary measures were required to protect the Minnesota State Capitol, including mobilizing law enforcement. Therefore, the resolution resolves that the Minnesota House “unequivocally condemns violence directed at the United States Capitol and at state capitols,” and that “those who participated in the criminal destruction of property and assaults on our law enforcement officials at the United States Capitol should be arrested and prosecuted.”
Also, that the Minnesota House “stands behind the will of Minnesota voters and supports the full certification of its electoral college votes by the United States Congress, and that the Minnesota House “condemns attacks on our democracy (and) reaffirms our commitment to democracy, free and fair elections, and the rule of law.”
“This resolution is an effort to come together in solidarity as one legislative body to denounce violence and to support our democracy,” said State Rep. Jamie Long, DFL-Minneapolis, who sponsored the resolution, according to a Session Daily summary of the proceedings by Mike Cook. “… We must be forthright in saying our democracy is sound, it is legitimate, it is strong, and threats against it cannot stand and will not succeed,” Long added.
“The votes and the voices based on the votes of our citizens and our residents should be heard and should be counted. No one should have any fear that their vote won’t be counted and no one should have any fear moving forward that those votes and their right to vote will be suppressed,” said Rep. Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope, according to the Session Daily summary. No Republicans spoke in support of the measure.
Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston, provided this statement when asked why he voted no on the resolution:
“Earlier in January, the Republican members of the Minnesota House all signed a letter denouncing the violence that took place on the 6th of January. The resolution talks about the violence at the Capitol, but it does not mention the violence that took place in Minneapolis, and across the country all summer,” Green said.
“The author of the resolution refused to recognize we live in a constitutional Republic. Instead, he insisted on language calling it a democracy. Words have meaning and I believe the resolution was simply an attempt to cause more division,” Green said. “It diverts attention away from the issues before us, such as the affects the governor’s shutdowns have had on children, students, small businesses and the livelihood and mental health of millions of Minnesotans. It also takes eyes off the governor’s proposed budget that will raise taxes another $1.7 billion. We are facing large deficits and should be working on this issue. It’s time to stop the games and get to work.”
News Editor Nathan Bowe of the Detroit Lakes Tribune contributed to this story.