Three days after posting a video that included acomparison between the food stamp program and feeding wild animals, state Rep. Mary Franson shared photos of some of the hate mail she has received.

Hot Dish asked Franson, R-Alexandria, about the messages in those emails and her thoughts about food stamps and welfare.

What follow is that exchange.

Q: Are you frightened for yourself and your family?

A: "I think the issue is that some of these emails are coming from anonymous sources. I don't know where they are. So they have been reported to the local sheriff. Am I concerned about my safety and my children? Well, there is a person in my district that has already decided that he's going to start protesting my house, and my children are just a couple of houses away in day care, so that's concerning. The sheriffs are well aware of this individual too, so as far as safety, I don't even know how to respond to that. I'm hoping that if they're so anonymous that they can't put their name to an email they're not going to be able to actually do what it is they want to do...You know, they're not even talking about the issues. If they're upset, talk about the issues. Name calling, vulgar name calling?"

Q: It looked like you apologized on Twitter over the weekend.

A: "I apologized. I apologized for offending. What I should have done is maybe elaborated a little bit more on my intent. My intent is, I don't want people to be poor. I don't want them living on assistance. What I want them to do is to be able to stand on their own two feet. When you have five years of welfare, five years isn't enough to get on your feet? There's something wrong. I want them to be successful. The more successful that Minnesota is, the more successful our state is going to be as well. The question is, you can lead a horse to water, you can't make him drink. And there are numerous people that use it for the intent, just to get back on their feet, a temporary setback. It's those people that decide that's what they want to do, they want government to provide for them, there's something wrong with that. So there is no way—What I was reading was a forward. It wasn't something that I came up with myself. I was not saying poor people are like animals, at all. It was just an analogy of becoming dependent, and we don't want people to become dependent on the government. Especially when our federal government is dead broke. What happens if they decide they're going to cut food support? What are people going to do to provide for themselves?"

Q: Does it make you more careful about what you say in your legislative updates?

A: "Well, you know, yes, this was a learning experience, for sure. It also opened my eyes to how vile some people can be. And you know, instead of attacking the messenger, the hate that they are feeling right now, if they are so mad at me for what I said, why can't they turn around and prove me wrong? You know, let's help people get out of poverty. Let's make it a goal. I just got a breakdown of Todd County. Apparently their welfare numbers went up, increased. So if it increased, let's make it a goal to reduce that. Let's get these people back to work. But when you're under the big umbrella of the state, you get lost. And you're not held accountable to anybody."

Q: So does that mean providing more services to people who need welfare, or does it mean more of a tough love approach?

A: "What I want to see is, we have tech schools. We have plenty of training. Let's get training into a profession. If you're jobless, there's jobs available, at least in my district. There's plenty of manufacturing jobs available. The issue is that you need qualified workers. To get qualified, they need to go to training. And manufacturing may not be a sexy job but it pays well, it's got benefits and you're going to be able to raise your family."

Q: What your opponents would say is that there isn't money for job training right now. Where will people get the training to get these jobs?

A: "Well, part of that is also finding it within yourself: 'What kind of a person do I want to be? What kind of a legacy do I want to leave my children? Do I want my children to say that I can't be a better person?' When you get children growing up in generational welfare, that's all they know. That's what they're going to know and that's going to transfer to them as they grow into adulthood and when they have children and I think that's wrong. The welfare system was meant for temporary assistance, not lifelong assistance."

Meanwhile, Democrats and liberal groups have kept up their anti-Franson drum beat. Over the weekend, House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said: "Rep. Franson's attempt to find humor in the plight of the many Minnesotans who continue to struggle in today's economy is a sad reflection on the state of our politics" and the Democrat-supporting Alliance for a Better Minnesota is gathering signatures to demand Franson apologizes.