Minnesota lawmaker cites Roy Moore to explain her refusal to meet with a high school politics club

Minnesota state Rep. Mary Franson
(Image credit: Screenshot/Fox 9)

On Monday, Minnesota state Rep. Mary Franson (R) told the local Fox affiliate in Alexandria that she had refused to meet with a local high school group, the Alexandria Area High School (AAHS) Democrats, because she doesn't "meet with partisan organizations," adding, "this has absolutely nothing to do with me not wanting to meet with Democrats — it has everything to do with the fact that we all have to be careful in today's world." Franson elaborated on a private Facebook post, ThinkProgress reports, suggesting the high schoolers might accuse her of sexual misconduct.

"A man's life was destroyed in AL," Franson wrote, pointing to failed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. "40 years ago he met with minors alone and they recently accused him of horrendous actions. In the world of we must believe every sexual harassment claim, I would think my approach is beyond reasonable. All it takes is one perceived action and my life is destroyed. The life of my family is destroyed. That is a risk I will not take."

AAHS Democrats founder Jack Ballou, 17, found her reply perplexing when ThinkProgress read it to him (Franson has apparently blocked him on Facebook). "If any of what she said was true, she could have just told us initially that she doesn't meet with minors," he said. "I'm also so confused how she started defending Roy Moore ... last year I met with Mary through the student page program, one on one at her office. She had no issue then."

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Ballou's group said it had requested to meet with its local representative to discuss issues of concern to high schoolers, like climate change and college affordability. He told Fox 9 that regarding Franson's refusal to meet, "I think it's really a microcosm of what's happening at our national stage — people just aren't talking to each other."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.