Gallery

Our view: Duluth can expect better from Huntley | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota

Published February 12, 2013, 12:00 AM

Our view: Duluth can expect better from Huntley

If constituents are in a giving mood, they could give state Rep. Tom Huntley credit for a handful of things after his disappointing arrest this month for driving while intoxicated.

If constituents are in a giving mood, they could give state Rep. Tom Huntley credit for a handful of things after his disappointing arrest this month for driving while intoxicated.

Huntley told the News Tribune on Friday that he was drinking during lunch at his cabin in the Brainerd Lakes area a week earlier and then was pulled over for speeding while on his way to get dinner about 4 p.m. He received a warning for driving 8 mph over the speed limit, he said. He also said his blood-alcohol level was measured at just over the 0.08 percent limit to drive legally in the state.

On the upside, the DFLer from Duluth did publicly own up to his mistake. He didn’t deny it or make any excuses. “I was guilty,” he told the News Tribune. “I will plead guilty. … Obviously, I had one too many.”

In addition, Huntley apologized. “I just wanted the people of Duluth to know,” he said, “I’m very sorry.”

Also, he’ll face consequences for his actions. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, a first-time DWI conviction with a guilty plea carries a penalty of 30 days without driving privileges, fines, and requirements such as attending classes on the impacts of drinking and driving and attending a Mothers Against Drunk Driving panel.

And Huntley did contact the media to publicly come clean rather than waiting for the media to contact him or hoping no one would ever catch wind of what happened and that it would just quietly, magically go away.

But anyone not feeling so generous could question why it took Huntley a full week before going public. And they could point out — and with only a hint of suspicion or cynicism, too — that he waited to call a news reporter until late in the day at the end of a week when the newspaper would be left scrambling to get together a complete story. They could point out further that the news story would enjoy a smaller-audience weekend news cycle.

This fall, because there weren’t better options, the News Tribune endorsed Huntley for re-election.

“But start demanding more,” we urged after Huntley acknowledged biding his time and skating along in the background as a DFLer the year before in a Republican-controlled Legislature.

“I just basically kept my mouth shut and tried to make a joke once in a while,” Huntley told members of the News Tribune editorial board.

Whether that was meant as a joke or not, Huntley’s constituents deserve better than flip answers to serious questions, as we wrote then. They deserve thoughtful responses, honest assessments and assurances that the people they elect to represent them work hard, always, and remain effective no matter which party is in control.

Rep. Huntley is 71 years old, already is retired as an associate professor for the University of Minnesota Duluth, and has been a lawmaker for more than two decades. The lapse of judgment that led to his arrest this month is of grave concern. While he and his party consider their future together, his constituents can demand more. They can expect better.

Our view: Duluth can expect better from Huntley | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s