Posted: 07/11/14 20:16, Edited: 07/11/14 20:19
by Dave Mindeman
The MN GOP sent out one of those bulk emails trying to promote the GOP version of a "we're good for women" newsflash.
I thought this was kind of funny....
We have come a long way from the days when there were no womens restrooms at the Minnesota Capitol.
Well, have we? Current GOP politics wants to go right back to that era.
The bathroom thing came up because the GOP e-mail mentioned the first elected woman State Senator in Minnesota, Rochester's own and IR Republican Nancy Brataas.
In 1975, Nancy Brataas was elected Minnesota's first woman Senator. Brataas, a Rochester Republican, first became involved in her local party by helping with grassroots organizing. She was Republican state party chair from 1963 to 1969. Brataas' election to the Minnesota Senate six years later was so revolutionary that there was a need to build a separate restroom for women at the State Capitol.
My wife and I lived in Rochester many moons ago, but we actually knew Nancy Brataas. Not well, but enough to have a political conversation. She was a very popular Republican Senator in Rochester and championed the local sales tax which has helped Rochester prosper. When she retired, she endorsed Sheila Kiscaden as her successor and proceeded to fight a number of battles within her own party over MCCL endorsements and a takeover by social conservatives. As you know, Sheila Kiscaden ended up moving to the Independence Party and later she became a Democrat to continue her legislative work in representing Rochester.
Unfortunately, Nancy Brataas passed away recently. A real representative in the old school sense in which she always worked across the aisle and looked for consensus on issues. And she was once denied Party endorsement because of her pro-choice views. The internal battle for the local GOP led to Rochester being a DFL stronghold in later years.
So it is interesting that the GOP would use her name to promote their record on women.
The Republican Party is not the party of women. It has worked to limit women's reproductive choices. They have blocked legislation on equal pay. And they still have problems dealing with the definition of rape or finding solutions for rape in the military.
The GOP may try to namedrop the name of great Republican women, but those same women could not be a part of today's GOP.
THIS is the face of Minnesota's GOP: