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Nurses Won't Back Down on Holding Rep. Foster Accountable For Slur

05.17.2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dawn Kettinger, (517) 721-9688

Nurses Won't Back Down on Holding Rep. Foster Accountable For Slur

The Michigan Nurses Association said today that Rep. Frank Foster (R-Petoskey) has only confirmed his immaturity by denying he called one of their female staffers the "c word," despite knowing there was a witness to confirm the incident.

Foster was attending a party at the house next door to MNA staffer Julia Smith-Heck's home in Lansing Tuesday evening and became hostile toward her when she declined his request to stop mowing her lawn. Later, Smith-Heck went across the street to chat with her neighbor, Mary Risdon. That was when Foster, who was with a woman and a child he claimed was his son, went up to Smith-Heck and argued further with her and called her a c--t.

Risdon said today she was upset to hear that Foster was denying his behavior.

"He said it and he should just be an adult and apologize for it," Risdon said. "I don't like to get in the middle of things, but it's wrong of him to lie. He shouldn't get away with acting like that toward women. I was shocked that he would use that word. Then to say that Julia made it all up is even worse."

Risdon confirmed that Foster walked up to her and Smith-Heck with a young boy, who he introduced as his son Chase. (Foster has no children.) He asked Smith-Heck twice if she was going to apologize, then called her a c--t when she wouldn't.

"It is really offensive that Representative Foster feels entitled to demean women and then dismiss them when they call him out on his behavior," said John Karebian, MNA executive director. "It's laughable for Foster to say that us holding him accountable is politically motivated.

He is just not that important. What is important is every woman's right to be treated with respect, and we demand that for our staffers, our nurses and every citizen."

MNA is asking House Speaker Jase Bolger to investigate whether action should be taken against Foster for his offensive conduct.

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