Group fundraising to dot Minnesota with controversial, anti-Walz signs
It was gone in about 24 hours. But a controversial billboard taking aim at Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is already back up, but in a new spot
FOSSTON, Minn. — The billboard along Highway 2 on the west side of Fosston was up for just a day, but the message was loud and clear.
That's why Shelly Nicklason of Remer pulled over on her way to a camping trip with her grandkids.
"We had to stop and see the sign," she said. "I was ready to take a picture. I even charged my phone," she said with a laugh. Nicklason said she was "bummed" to learn that the sign had been taken down.
The billboard depicts a person contorted with their head up their ... posterior. The wording of the billboard takes aim at how Gov. Walz has taken a one-size-fits-all approach in his coronavirus response.
"I laughed; it reflected my opinion," said Chad Hassel of Winger.
"In all honesty it was kind of crass, but I can understand the frustration," Nicklason said.
The billboard was sponsored by the Facebook group Rocks and Cows of the North, in reference to a comment the governor made during his campaign that northern Minnesota tends to be more Republican.
The group said a local small-town sign company put it up for them July 24. However, the company decided to take it down the next day when a major buyer threatened to stop advertising. The group feels that buyer, not the sign company, is trying to silence their First Amendment rights with cash.
"Everything offends people these days. You sneeze in the wrong place and everyone looks at you like you just gave them COVID," Hassel said.
However, now a bigger billboard company with statewide advertising is taking over the campaign. Franklin Outdoor, located in the suburbs of Minneapolis, has agreed to plaster the image on billboards and signs across the state as money is raised to pay for them.
Rocks and Cows of the North declined an interview but said, "The intent of the group is to awaken the silent majority."
"We've got to speak up. Somebody has to take the reins of this and say this is enough," Hassel said.
As Nicklason gets ready to hit the road again, she'll be keeping an eye out for one of the billboards. One has just been put up Monday, July 27, in St. Cloud.
"I still want to put it on my Facebook memory for next year," said Nicklason.
Walz said he had not seen the billboard until WDAY News sent it to his office. He declined to comment on it.