As others see it: Lawmaker should quitThis is as embarrassing and as difficult to write as it will be for our Duluth community to read and to live with.
By: Duluth News Tribune, Worthington Daily Globe
This is as embarrassing and as difficult to write as it will be for our Duluth community to read and to live with: Minnesota Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, placed a male-seeking-male ad on Craigslist, arranged to meet a teenage boy at the Thompson Hill rest area, had consensual oral sex with the boy at or near the rest area’s public overlook and then was confronted by law enforcement while his zipper was still down. That’s all according to police reports obtained this week by the News Tribune.
Whether any of that is criminally wrong can be debated, but it’d be hard to argue how unacceptable and inappropriate such behavior is for an elected leader, for someone entrusted by our community to represent us and our needs in the Minnesota Legislature.
Is that holding Gauthier to a higher standard of accountability? Darn right. The 36,000 or so central and western Duluth residents he represents in House District 7B can expect a higher standard. They deserve at least that.
If Gauthier was an everyday citizen perhaps this incident could be treated as a private matter, as Gauthier initially referred to it. But he’s not. He’s a public servant, carrying the responsibility and the burden of the public trust, something for which he’s paid with public dollars.
If the incident had taken place in private it could be considered no one else’s business. But it didn’t. It happened in a public park, out in the open. ...
Gauthier, 56, is up for re-election this fall. It stands to be a chance for voters to let him know how they feel about what he admitted doing to law enforcement.
But Gauthier doesn’t have to give voters that opportunity. He can’t remove his name from the Nov. 6 ballot, but he can make his intentions known now that he’s stepping aside, that he’s giving his DFL party and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton the chance to pursue a replacement. This would be the right thing for Gauthier to do, not only for himself and his well-being but for his district, for our city and for the integrity of the office he holds. ...