State Rep. Tom Hackbarth is facing criticism for comparing union workers to Adolf Hitler and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
The dust-up stems from an e-mail the Republican from Cedar sent to a member of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, who had written to Hackbarth urging him to accept Gov. Mark Dayton’s tax plan.
“Are you a Union member?” Hackbarth wrote in reply to Robin Seifert, of Cedar. “If so, are they the communist giving you this propaganda?”
Hackbarth, one of Dayton’s most vocal critics, asked Seifert if she knew the history of the rise of Hitler and Castro.
“Hitler rose to power using and blaming the jews for the destruction of the German economy,” Hackbarth wrote. “Castro built his army of murderers by blaming the rich bankers and capitalist for destroying Cuba and taking advantage of the Cuban people. Hummmm?”
James Monroe, MAPE’s executive director, said he was “deeply troubled” by Hackbarth’s comments and demanded clarification from the legislator.
In a letter to Hackbarth, Monroe wrote: “Do you really equate advocating for the middle class and Minnesota’s vulnerable citizens as communist propaganda? … When did supporting public services for battered women, crime victims and students in public universities become a fascist notion? When did humanity and caring for our neighbors and asking for millionaires to pay their fair share become supporting Fidel Castro and his murderous armies?”
Monroe said Hackbarth might not agree with everything constituents say, but he needs to listen respectfully and “without denigrating their ideas.”
Here's a copy of Monroe's letter: