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McCollum handled 'bullies,' helped restore order at meeting

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opinion Woodbury, 55125

Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

I was appalled to read the opinion article "Our View: Is this how we'll solve our problems?" It was an inaccurate and irresponsible summary of a two hour town hall meeting held March 9 at the Woodbury City Hall. 

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The meeting was intended to be a forum where the panel of representatives from the U.S. Congress, Minnesota State Senate and Minnesota State House of Representatives provided legislative updates and answered questions.

Instead, within minutes of Congresswoman Betty McCollum standing to give introductory statements, she was rudely interrupted and continued to be disrespected throughout the meeting. Congresswoman McCollum did her best in the circumstances to regain control of the room, but was unsuccessful until the entire panel of (female) representatives stood together and demanded respect. 

It became apparent to me that some attendees in that over-crowded room were there not to have their voices heard or hear what Congresswoman McCollum had to say. These men were there to be bullies. They were there to disrespect their neighbors, most of who sat politely, and harass their U.S. and state representatives. I have a feeling that the tone of that room would have been different if the panel would have included male legislators. The men that shouted, interrupted and muttered comments should be ashamed of themselves. 

The Bulletin article was entirely one-sided in its blame of Congresswoman McCollum for the mood of the meeting. Perhaps if a reporter were there, he would have noticed that the ugly tone of the room was because of a few insolent malcontents. Perhaps the discussion about the sequestration, gun legislation, state budget, transportation, and health care would have been the focus of the article, rather than the female legislators' attempts to (and rightly so) stand up for themselves.

Deb Zupke, Woodbury

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