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As others see it: Vet owed an apology

In today's social media world, politicians have the opportunity to communicate directly with citizens. Unfortunately, they also have the opportunity to stick their foot in their mouth more quickly as well.

Such is the case in recent days with Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake.

The former Minnesota secretary of state got personal in her criticism of Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, and literally stepped into a mess.

Kiffmeyer, who is running for the state Senate in the St. Michael-Elk River area, criticized the Vikings stadium deal in an email to her constituents calling it a "forced deal."

Kriesel, who is one of the stadium bill's authors, responded to her with "Force it through? C'mon Mary. You can disagree with the bill but don't lie about it."

Kiffmeyer replied to Kriesel that he had "not only no clue but no courage to run again and be accountable and see what your district thinks."

This is where Kiffmeyer crossed the line and insulted a Minnesota hero.

Kriesel is a decorated veteran, who was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star while serving in the Minnesota National Guard in Iraq. And he lost both legs and five of his comrades in a roadside bomb explosion in the Iraq War theater.

Kiffmeyer owes Kriesel and Minnesota an apology.

While some Minnesotans, including Kiffmeyer, oppose the Vikings stadium deal, it is inappropriate to question Kriesel's courage or the reason he is leaving the Legislature.

Elected in 2010, Kriesel decided this spring not to seek re-election as he has two children, who have not seen him much due to his service in the National Guard, his recovery and his political career in the Legislature.

Questioning the "courage" of such a man -- a veteran who sacrificed himself in defense of America and a dedicated father and husband -- is disgraceful and inappropriate.