Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was in Woodbury today answering questions from the press. But not really.
A state nurses group staged a mock press conference—complete with an eight-foot replica of the presidential hopeful—at as part of an effort to get her to support legislation that would tax certain financial transactions.
The Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) event was coordinated with 60 similar initiatives held in 21 states today (Sept. 1), said John Nemo, communications coordinator for the group.
The “press conference” included questions from fake reporters and answers based on actual comments Bachmann has made to the media. (She was voiced by an MNA member.)
Two MNA members dressed as “Wall Street Fat Cats” whispered things in her ear and occasionally showered the figure with plastic coins and fake bills.
Becky Rogness, press secretary for Bachmann, told Patch that the congresswoman "appreciates hearing from her constituents and values their input."
"Earlier today, Congresswoman Bachmann’s staff was happy to meet with members of the Minnesota Nurses Association in her Woodbury district office," Rogness wrote in an email. "Additionally, staff members in Congresswoman Bachmann’s Washington, D.C., office have also met with the members of the Association to understand their views."
Rogness was unable to get a statement from Bachmann regarding the taxation of certain financial transactions.
Jean Ross, co-president of a National Nurses United, told reporters that the legislation her group is backing would not tax individuals or personal investment portfolios, only financial transactions such as derivatives. She called them “casino” transactions.
Nurses groups across the country and Minnesota today were calling on their federal representatives to support the measure, said Ross, a registered nurse from Bloomington who is also a member of the MNA.
As for why the MNA has decided to champion the financial transaction tax, Nemo said nurses see people suffering every day feel a “social responsibility” for those who were hurt by the U.S. financial crisis.
Staffers at Bachmann’s Woodbury office, located at the Century Avenue Office Park, directed inquiries about the event to her press secretary. MNA members said they have often contacted the congresswoman’s office but has yet to receive a response.
Ross said the financial transaction tax is a nonpartisan issue and the group would also contact Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.
At the conclusion of the mock press conference, the 40 or so members of the MNA sung “This Land is Your Land” and a tune about Medicaid sung to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”