During a May 22 appearance on Detroit Lakes' KDLM radio, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Mike McFadden was asked what lessons from his business career he's taking with him on the campaign trail.
McFadden, who most recently worked as co-CEO of a Minneapolis-based investment bank, replied, "Well, I think I've gained some very, very, very relevant experience. Jake, one, in the business you have to be results-oriented, you have to be people-oriented, you have to know how to motivate. I know what it's like to make a payroll, I know what it's like to provide healthcare for my employees." (emphasis ours)
A DFL source got in touch to point out the uncomfortable fit between McFadden's comments and the fact that he doesn't provide health insurance to his own campaign staffers.
Sen. Al Franken, by contrast, does provide his campaign staffers with health and dental insurance, and did back in 2008 as well.
It's not unheard of for Republicans to provide their campaign staffers with health insurance. For instance, Rod Grams did so during his unsuccessful U.S. Senate reelection campaign back in 2000, according to a conservative source who was on Grams's staff that year.
Reached for comment, McFadden spokesman Tom Erickson says, "We compensate our employees in a way that allows them to purchase their own insurance plans that fit their needs. The Democrats should be less concerned with how our campaign operates and more concerned with the fact that Al Franken voted for a healthcare law that kicked 140,000 Minnesotans off their insurance plans."
Pressed on the disconnect between McFadden's radio remarks and how he treats his own staffers, Erickson pointed out the "proper context for that quote" is "Mike is talking about what's it's like running a business in the private sector."
But whether you're talking about the private sector or a political campaign, Franken spokesperson Alexandra Fetissoff tells us all workers deserve health insurance coverage.
(For more, click to page two.)
"We're proud that every employee of our campaign has been offered health insurance coverage because Al Franken believes every Minnesotan should have access to quality affordable health care," she says.
In related news, a University of Minnesota study released yesterday found that between last fall's MNsure rollout and May 1, the number of Minnesotans without health insurance fell by 180,500, a reduction of 40.6 percent. As a result, Minnesota now has the lowest percentage of uninsured residents (4.9 percent) on record, and the second-lowest percentage in the country, behind Massachusetts. (Read our post about the study here.)
The study also found that the number of Minnesotans insured privately during that timeframe remained flat, which indicates, generally speaking, that private employers like McFadden didn't stop offering their employees health coverage just because of MNsure's availability.