State Sen. David Osmek used crude language in a message from his government e-mail account to a Twin Cities resident who urged him to support Southwest light rail transit, calling the project “your liberal wet dream.”
Osmek, a Republican from Mound, misspelled the word “dream” in his e-mail to a St. Louis Park resident.
Asked about the exchange after a Senate floor session on Wednesday, Osmek said: “I think light rail is a liberal wet dream. It’s trying to pack people into a rail corridor, creating density. It is a liberal dream.”
The planned Southwest line, which would run from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, is intended as the third segment to a new Twin Cities light rail system that already includes the Hiawatha Corridor line from Minneapolis to Mall of America, and the Central Corridor line between the Minneapolis and St. Paul downtowns.
Many Republican politicians have been sharply critical of the proposal, and Osmek earlier this week introduced a Senate resolution to redirect $929 million in federal funds for the Southwest line to instead be spent on roads, bridges and other transportation projects.
But support for the project includes more than just the liberal wing of the DFL. The TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, an association of businesses in the western suburbs, supports it as well.
Corporate executives of companies like Ecolab, Polaris and U.S. Bank have also endorsed the light rail line and other investments in transit.
Asked about the CEOs, Osmek replied: “I represent a constituency, not a company. I believe the people in my area don’t support this rail. And I believe most Minnesotans don’t support this rail.”
Osmek, who is considering a 2018 run for governor, appears to be staking out ground as the candidate who tells it as he sees it. He admitted to at times using “a little colorful language,” but then added: “Maybe I will be a little more judicious.”
J. Patrick Coolican • 651-925-5042