Dayton calls out “rude” audience members at open forum

Marion Renault

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton dealt with what he called “very juvenile behavior” at a “Meetings with Mark” open forum he held in Shakopee Monday night.

While explaining why he believed lawmakers should get a pay raise, audience members began to heckle and interrupt the governor.

According to videos of the incident, Dayton then said “Let me just finish…I’ve been all over the state and I’ve never had people behave this rudely. You know, if you want to say something, raise your hand and get a mike.”

His reaction to the crowd received mixed responses from Minnesotans and politicians.

Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke agreed that some audience members were being “unfortunately, rude and disrespectful.”

 “The governor was much nicer than I would have been,” Tabke said.

Fellow forum panelist Rep. Mike Beard, a Shakopee Republican, called it an “overreaction.”

According to the Star Tribune, Dayton stood by his assessment of the crowd, saying it reminded him of his days teaching high school freshmen in a New York City public school decades ago.

 “It was rude,” Dayton said, “and if they can’t handle the truth, they can’t handle the truth, but that’s the truth as I perceived it.”