A Minot state legislator is apologizing for a comment made on Twitter last week.
The tweet, where Republican Roscoe Streyle called someone a “libtard” was seen by a Rolette man who started a petition calling for his removal from the state legislature.
Jim Olson sat down with Streyle and another North Dakota legislator who thinks more can be done at the state capitol.
(Rep. Roscoe Streyle, (R) Minot) “Sometimes my passion gets above where it should be and, I can do better.”
Minot representative Roscoe Streyle is talking about this post on Twitter where he called someone a, quote, “libtard.”
It’s a word considered by some to be offensive to the disabled.
(Rep. Roscoe Streyle, (R) Minot) “I’m blunt, honest, passionate about my community, my state and politics in general and I certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone in the way it was taken by some and I apologize for that.”
The exchange happened Friday, and this week, a Rolette, North Dakota man named Linden Stave – a recent high school graduate and current Concordia College student – started a petition at a website called Change.org, calling for Streyle to be removed from the legislature.
Streyle said he has no plans to step down.
Stave, in a Facebook post about the issue, said he’s tired of divisive rhetoric and believes elected officials should lead, not bully.
Streyle says he got the message, although he says he has a different definition for the four letters, ‘tard’ that others say is short for retarded.
(Rep. Roscoe Streyle, (R) Minot) “The way I look at the four letters is ‘stupid and annoying.’ Is that right to say that about somebody? No of course it isn’t. I wouldn’t want someone to say that about me so I shouldn’t do it back. I should be held to a higher standard as a public official and this would fall outside the realm of what we should be acting like.”
A fellow representative, Democrat Marvin Nelson of Rolla, agrees that Streyle’s comments were wrong. Nelson posts on social media quite a lot himself and says he’s regretted some of his remarks. Nelson doesn’t support Streyle’s removal for the incident but says Streyle’s penchant for strong words in legislative committee meetings has intimidated some who have to testify.
(Rep. Marvin Nelson (D) Rolla) “It’s creating problems for us. People are afraid to come and speak before our committees because they’re afraid they’ll be treated rudely.”
Nelson says the situation points out the need for a disciplinary system to somehow reprimand members who get out of line.
(Rep. Marvin Nelson (D) Rolla) “We have rules and stuff but we really have no functional way to do this. And I think it hurts our relationship with people in general because they then say it looks like it’s a good old boys network where we don’t do anything about it.”
As for Streyle?
(Rep. Roscoe Streyle, (R) Minot) “I will make mistakes again in the future, there’s no doubt, but it won’t be with hurtful words or what not.”
Streyle had changed his Twitter account to private after the flap developed, but he has now reverted to a ‘public’ setting so anyone can see if he’s living up to his promise. Jim Olson, KX News.
Representative Nelson says he’d like to see a disciplinary system for both the legislative and executive branches of state government, in some way similar to the judicial branch’s system.