Minnesota State GOP Rep. Compares Food Stamp Program To Feeding ‘The Animals’

Minnesota State Rep. Mary Franson (R)

Thanks in large part to the lingering impact of the recession, more than 46.5 million Americans received food stamp aid last December, a 0.5 percent increase from November. According to the USDA, most households can only have $2,000 in countable resources in order to qualify, which makes food stamps a potentially life-saving part of the safety net for poverty-stricken Americans.

But apparently, Minnesota state representative Mary Franson (R) believes this program is akin to feeding deer at a national park. In a YouTube video released last Friday, Franson spent a few minutes going through some of the news of the previous week. After discussing Minnesota’s budget, Franson read a clip comparing the food stamp program to the Park Service’s plea to “not feed the animals”:

And here, it’s kind of ironic, I’ll read you this little funny clipped [sic] that we got from a friend. It says, ‘Isn’t it ironic that the food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to please not feed the animals, because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.’

The video has been removed from YouTube, but you can still watch it here — the pertinent portion is about two minutes in (HT: Crooks and Liars):

Within a matter of hours, Franson offered an apology of sorts, tweeting, “For those offended at the video, I deeply apologize. I have asked for the video to be taken down.” This has not been the end of the controversy, however: A group called The Alliance for a Better Minnesota has launched a petition drive calling on Franson to make a second video apologizing for the first one.

Comparing needy Americans to wild animals is in particularly bad taste. And sadly, this is not the first time Republicans have decided to make that comparison.

Zachary Bernstein