Lueck, Poston denounce Capitol violence

State Reps. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, and John Poston, R-Lake Shore, said they understood why many Americans feel on the brink, but denounced Wednesday's riots as unacceptable and antithetical to the American way.

Police officers stand guard as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS / Leah Millis

While the Capitol in Washington, D.C. faced its most tumultuous episode in modern American history, state Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, was experiencing history from multiple perspectives.

He was working in the state Capitol in St. Paul, going through procedural meetings that launch every legislative session, when he and other state lawmakers spotted a lively protest outside. State troopers stood at the ready and there were fears tempers could boil over into the kind of unrest that’s been a common sight in the Twin Cities in recent months.

Yet, these protests never came close to the riots at the Capitol Rotunda, as his colleagues, state Reps. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, and John Poston, R-Lake Shore, attested, but it was a reminder that the American people are experiencing a period of extraordinary upheaval in every nook, crack, and cranny of the country.

Please pray for our very brave Capitol Police and our great nation. This is the People's House, but we as a nation MUST respect law and order.

Posted by Congressman Pete Stauber on Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Wednesday, Jan. 6., Heintzeman saw signs of this in St. Paul. His wife, Keri, and son, Ken, may have had a brush with history when they took part in peaceful protests in Washington, D.C on Wednesday morning and afternoon, to challenge the Electoral College vote certification process that would legitimize President-elect Joe Biden’s ascension to office on Jan. 20. Hours later, some of these protests unraveled into riots that plowed through police barriers, entered the pillared halls of power, and led to an outbreak of violence, including the shooting death of one rioter.


Heintzeman wouldn’t comment further than to state his family was safe and far away from Washington, D.C. when events took a turn for the worse at the U.S. Capitol. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, and state Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, did not return requests for comment by deadline.

While I'm here in St Paul for the start of session Keri Heintzeman & Ken Heintzeman are at the US Capitol today...

Posted by Joshua Heintzeman on Wednesday, January 6, 2021

In the estimation of Lueck and Poston, what happened Wednesday afternoon is deeply rooted in a society pushed to the breaking point, but both lawmakers condemned the violence as misled, disturbing, and antithetical to being a patriotic American.

“It's appalling. It's embarrassing,” Poston said during a phone interview Wednesday evening. “It’s certainly scary for me to believe that I'm actually seeing this in the United States of America, quite honestly. It’s shocking.”

Lueck said this is another episode of deepening cultural divides and indefensible behavior by activists or protesters across the spectrum — of which, he noted, he’s become well aware after a year characterized by Black Lives Matter protests and defiance from business owners being squeezed by Gov. Tim Walz’s health mandate executive orders. While the actions of the rioters in the Capitol aren’t acceptable, he added, they’re not particularly surprising given the social forces at work in the United States.


“You have to look at what's happening and understand it's happening for a reason,” Lueck said during a phone interview Wednesday night. “I think there's certainly credence to the grievances (Wednesday’s rioters) are expressing. I'm looking at what we've seen in the news.”

Both Poston and Lueck expressed trust in Minnesota’s election process, but couldn’t speak on whether Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia or Pennsylvania were entirely secure. Poston said he didn’t have reason to believe there was widespread voter fraud to the scale it would take to tip an election in Biden’s favor, while Lueck said the investigative media hasn’t done enough digging to settle the matter once and for all, but conceded there wasn’t enough hard evidence of fraud to justify anything like Wednesday’s chaos.

By the best estimation they can make at this time, the election of Joe Biden to be the United States’ 46th president, is certified to be legitimate.

GABRIEL LAGARDE may be reached at or 218-855-5859. Follow at .


FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol Building following a rainstorm on Capitol Hill in Washington
The U.S. Capitol Building following a rainstorm on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 4. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

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