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Nurses Demand That Foster Apologize For Using Female Slur

05.16.2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dawn Kettinger, (517) 721-9688, dawn.kettinger@minurses.org

State Representative yelled derogatory term at staffer on neighborhood street

The Michigan Nurses Association demanded today that State Representative Frank Foster (R-Petoskey) apologize for calling one of their staffers the “c word” during a visit to her neighborhood. The organization is asking House Speaker Jase Bolger to investigate whether action should be taken against Foster for his offensive conduct.

“Frank Foster should apologize, have his mouth washed out with soap and learn to show some respect for women,” said Deb Nault, a longtime nurse and Assistant Executive Director of Nursing Practice for MNA. “I am beyond appalled that anyone, let alone a State Representative, would think it’s OK to use demeaning language like that.  But I guess it should be no surprise, considering the lengths that Rep. Foster and his male Republican colleagues go to to control women’s health care and limit their choices.”

On Tuesday evening, Foster was visiting a home on Lansing’s south side when he walked up to the fence and asked Michigan Nurses Association staffer Julia Smith-Heck to stop mowing her lawn. They had a conversation about the “Protect Our Jobs campaign,” to permanently enshrine collective bargaining rights in the Michigan Constitution, which the Michigan Nurses Association actively supports. Foster became hostile and walked away.

He returned shortly afterward, demanding again that she stop mowing, saying it was bothering his autistic son. [Foster does not have children, according to his official bio information.] Smith-Heck declined, needing to finish mowing, but ended a short while later and went across the street to talk to her neighbor.

Foster, a woman and a boy of about 3 or 4 came out and walked up to Smith-Heck and her neighbor.  Foster said, “I want to introduce you to my son, Chase. I want to introduce you to the person whose night you ruined.”

He then walked away, asking Smith-Heck, “Are you going to apologize?” She responded, “For mowing my lawn?” Foster said, “So you’re not going to apologize”? She repeated, “For mowing my lawn?” Foster yelled across the street, “You’re a cunt!”

The three of them then drove away.

“I guess Frank Foster thought he could get away with screaming a derogatory term at a woman because the cameras weren’t on him,” Smith-Heck said. “I hope his supporters and constituents are paying attention to his true character.

“Disagreements happen, but real adults handle it respectfully, not by using sexist, offensive insults in front of children.  I expect better from our elected officials, and I look forward to receiving an apology from both Representative Foster and Speaker Bolger.”

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The Michigan Nurses Associationrepresents more than 10,000 registered nurses statewide, advocating for them and their patients.