Kresha repudiates Simmonds criticism
Minnesota Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, is disputing the accusation by his DFL opponent that he took special interest money. In an interview with the Dispatch on Tuesday, Dustin Simmonds brought up a trip Kresha took with Speaker of the House ...
Minnesota Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, is disputing the accusation by his DFL opponent that he took special interest money.
In an interview with the Dispatch on Tuesday, Dustin Simmonds brought up a trip Kresha took with Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt last November to Turkey.
"He says he only went along to see the sights," Simmonds said of Kresha. "That begs the question, as a representative, why are you accepting special interest funds to go abroad to go sightseeing?"
The trip was organized and partially paid for by the Niagara Foundation, created by followers of progressive former imam Fethullah Gulen. Gulen has frequently run afoul of the government of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, which in May officially designated Gulen and his followers as terrorists.
On Thursday, Kresha said Simmonds' comments were untrue and a misrepresentation.
"The fact is I traveled to Turkey, with my own personal funds, when the Legislature was not in session, so I could explore the ruins of Ephesus and the early days of Christianity," Kresha said in a letter to the Dispatch. "It is an amazing country steeped in rich history of the earliest days of civilization. There was zero taxpayer funds used and it was a 'bucket list' trip that expanded my knowledge of global relations and ancient history."
Kresha said such negative campaigning leads to dysfunction and partisan bickering, and it was his hope Simmonds could now focus on the issues and run a clean campaign.
ZACH KAYSER may be reached at 218-855-5860 or Zach.Kayser@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZWKayser .