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Forum News Service, Published March 19 2014

Minnesota legislator's 'whiners' remark goes viral

WOODBURY, Minn. - A Woodbury lawmaker’s remarks went viral this week after she suggested that legislation surrounding women in the workplace makes women “look like whiners.”

At a House committee hearing March 12, Rep. Andrea Kieffer, R-Woodbury, sounded off on the Women’s Economic Security Act, a legislative package aimed at improving economic opportunity for women.

“We heard several bills last week about women’s issues and I kept thinking to myself, ‘These bills are putting us backwards in time,’ ” Kieffer said at the hearing. "We are losing the respect that we so dearly want in the workplace by bringing up all these special bills for women and almost making us look like whiners.”

A sound bite made its way to national sites such as Huffington Post, MSNBC and Salon.com, in addition to critics from Minnesota.

"Rep. Kieffer's remarks are out of touch with the realities women face," said Emily Bisek, communications director of Alliance for a Better Minnesota. "Her remarks belong in the Ice Age. It's comments like this that women have battled for decades and which Minnesotans will not tolerate."

The legislation looks to close the gender pay gap, increase income for working women, expand access to child care, expand sick leave for working families and enhance protections for domestic violence victims.

Kieffer did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.