After a Minnesotan emailed Sen. David Osmek imploring him to support the Southwest light-rail project, the Mound Republican replied from his Senate email address: “Happy to do everything to stop your liberal wet dream.”
“Dream” was misspelled in the email.
Asked about the exchange after a Senate floor session 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 Southwest light rail line, which would run from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, would be the third light rail segment in the Metro region, following the Blue Line from Minneapolis to the Airport and the Green Line from Minneapolis to St. Paul.
The Southwest line has been a source of controversy, both for residents along the line and also in statewide politics. Republicans have voiced opposition to the project as a waste of money that would not do enough to ease traffic. The 2016 legislative session collapsed without a transportation or public works bill because of a row over light rail funding.
Support for the project includes more than just the liberal wing of the DFL, however.
The TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, which is an association of businesses in the western suburbs, supports the project.
Osmek pointed out that TwinWest businesses would benefit from the line: “They’re doing this to feather of their own nest,” he said.
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.
“If the voters are looking for someone who is a little more direct, maybe at times uses a little colorful language, I’m their guy,” he said.
“Maybe I will be a little more judicious,” he allowed.