Tell Gov. Walz how you feel! 651-201-3400
Tell Gov. Walz how you feel! 651-201-3400

At Senate Hearing MDH Commissioner Fails to Deny Political Motivations for Walz’s Youth Sports Decisions

ST. PAUL, Minn. — On Monday, April 26, the Minnesota Senate Education Committee held a hearing to review and discuss the guidelines and metrics of both the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) regarding youth sports policies. Testifiers at the hearing included Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Executive Director of the Minnesota State High School League Erich Martens, Executive Director of Let Them Play MN Dawn Gillman, and stakeholders from around the state.

Witnesses discussed newly exposed emails between Governor Tim Walz’s political consultants and MDH officials, which detailed a plan to falsely tie long-term care deaths to youth sports, were also addressed. Let Them Play MN received copies of these emails and filed an amended complaint in Federal Court quoting the explosive internal communications showing that Governor Walz and MDH ignored science and made decisions about youth sports based on politics, not data. While Commissioner Malcolm was aware of the issues that would be raised from Let Them Play’s April 16 amended complaint filed ten days ago (not to mention when she was a party to many of the messages it discussed), the Commissioner ignored the email messages altogether.

“It was time parents and students got answers from Governor Walz’ team,” said Dawn Gillman, Let Them Play MN founder. “We needed to know why COVID decisions were motivated by politics and were contrary to data showing sports are safe. Instead, Commissioner Malcolm pretended like the emails didn’t exist, admitting political motivations for decisions about kids.”

On April 23, MDH announced that masks were no longer required in outdoor youth sports. Questions regarding their decision-making process, how schools would be informed of the decision, and the reasoning behind canceling games throughout the Fall and Winter, were asked.

“We want to thank Senator Roger Chamberlain and Senator Karin Housley for working with us to organize this hearing,” Gillman continued. “As a mother, you never imagine being in a position where your child is unknowingly offered up as a scapegoat by public officials we are supposed to be able to trust. A line was crossed and we need to ensure this never happens again,” Gillman concluded.

Let Them Play MN, a Minnesota non-profit with more than 26,000 bi-partisan supporters across the state, has worked tirelessly alongside parents, coaches, students, and fans to fight for accountability and transparency with COVID-19 policies regarding youth sports.

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