Gov. Dayton: Shakopee town hall hecklers 'rude,' 'juvenile' - KMSP-TV

Gov. Dayton describes Shakopee town hall interruptions as 'rude,' 'juvenile'

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ST. PAUL, Minn. -

Gov. Mark Dayton described members of a Shakopee audience "rude" and "juvenile" after a raucous town hall meeting held on Monday night.

"I thought it was very juvenile," Dayton told FOX 9 News. "It reminded me of my ninth grade general science classes in New York City, you know?"

Dayton was conducting the latest in a series of "Meetings with Mark" that he's hosted around the state when the room apparently erupted into heckling, long monologues and interruptions while the governor was trying to answer questions -- particularly when he explained his belief that lawmakers should get a pay raise.

"An undercurrent of rumbling and people shaking their head as soon as I started to talk -- and people interrupting me, people who wouldn't stop making their presentation," Dayton described. "At one point where I finally intervened, the whole audience applauded."

The Minnesota Jobs Coalition, a Republican political committee working to unseat Dayton next year, recorded the meeting and publicized the governor's comments.

"I've been all over the state and I've never had people behave this rudely," Dayton said at the event, which was held in the Shakopee High School gymnasium. "If you want to say something, raise your hand, get a mic."

Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke sent a tweet that said from where he was sitting, the audience did appear rude -- at times crossing a line. According to Tabke, some attendees spent more than an hour shouting questions or comments, or speaking at length about a single issue.

Asked Tuesday about the incident, Dayton said again that some in the crowd behaved rudely.

"It was rude," he said frankly. "If they can't handle the truth, they can't handle the truth -- and that's the truth as I see it."

Dayton insisted that he welcomes disagreement and differing perspectives, and said his criticism was aimed at the conduct itself, not the dissent.

"I welcome the controversy and people who are genuinely upset ... but not something that is just contrived for the purpose of trying to distract me or the conversation," he said.

Shakopee is a suburban city south of Minneapolis.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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