August 10, 2017 07:08 PM
To see the extended interview with U.S. Rep Jason Lewis, tune in to At Issue with Tom Hauser at 10 a.m. Sunday on KSTP.
U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis is taking issue with protesters who showed up outside of his home.
The Wednesday morning protest at the first-term Republican congressman's suburban house was organized by Take Action Minnesota, a liberal advocacy group, which broadcast the demonstration live on Facebook.
Video posted on Lewis' Facebook page shows nearly 20 protesters chanting outside his home before delivering a letter calling on Lewis to oppose cuts to Medicaid funding.
Lewis and his family were not home at the time.
"So I get a text from a neighbor saying,' you've got...people, we don't know how many, that are not just in the street, not just on your driveway, they're on your front stoop and they're screaming and yelling,'" Lewis told 5 Eyewitness News. "His children call their dad, my neighbor, and he calls the local police. Look, private property and the rule of law are sacrosanct in America. That's the cornerstone of a civilized society."
Lewis is a former conservative radio talk show host who won the 2nd Congressional District seat this fall. He called the protest a violation of his private property and "dangerous ramping up of rhetoric" that targeted his family.
A spokeswoman from Take Action Minnesota says Lewis should simply hold a town hall to meet with constituents who want to speak with him.
"Constituents would prefer a town hall meeting to talk about Medicaid cuts in person, (rather) than deliver a letter to his door," says Kenza Hadj-Moussa, communications director of Take Action Minnesota. "Constituents enrolled in Medicaid wanted to reach him during the August recess."
She says protests at the homes of politicians will not become a regular tactic.
The chairman of the Minnesota DFL Party criticized the protest while also recognizing the frustration of protesters.
"There are lines that we expect no one to cross," DFL Chairman Ken Martin posted on his Facebook page. "Unfortunately, a group of protesters crossed the line the other day by protesting on private property. We strongly support peoples’ right to peacefully protest and exercise their First Amendment right to free speech. However, we condemn any behavior that intrudes on a person’s private property. While we do not condone their behavior, we understand the frustrations of Minnesotans who have been continually denied an outlet to express their concerns directly to Congressman Lewis."
Lewis says he's held several meetings at businesses in his district attended by 200-250 people each. However, he says protests like the one at his home make him less inclined to hold a public town hall meeting.
"So whether they're crashing an office, or invading your home or whether they want to crash a town hall, they want a spectacle," Lewis says. "They want something for a 30-second or a minute video. That doesn't do my constituents any good who are afraid to go to those events. That doesn't do anyone any good who wants a productive dialogue."
Below is the full video, posted by Take Action MN:
Updated: August 10, 2017 07:08 PM
Created: August 10, 2017 02:14 PM
(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)