[UPDATE 10/6/20 — The campaign for Rep. Angie Craig tells WCCO this “ad is no longer on airwaves.” They say it has been off the air for nearly a week. What follows is the story as originally reported by Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield on Tuesday.]
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some are expressing anger and outrage over a television ad for Minnesota congressional candidate Rep. Angie Craig. The ad has some Minnesotans calling for it to be taken off the air immediately.
The ad shows the incumbent Craig driving through Minnesota and mentioning her accomplishments in congress. It’s not clear if she’s really driving or if its staged, but many have pointed out that it shows her looking away from the road and into the camera.
“I was just in disbelief honestly as a mom whose kid was killed by a distracted driver,” Amy LaVallee said. “It was just outrageous. Her blatant display of distracted driving was just irresponsible in that video.”
It’s been seven years since 19-year-old Phillip LaVallee, a South Dakota State runner, took a training run in Otsego and was killed by a distracted driver.
“His friends are getting married, his brother is getting married. His friends are having children and we’ll never know, we will never know where he would be today,” Amy LaVallee said.
She and dozens of other families have leveraged their grief into change. After years of failed attempts, they passed a stricter distracted driving law in Minnesota to keep people’s eyes on the road. Now she says she feels outraged by Craig’s ad. She’s asking Craig to pull all of the ads immediately and speak out against distracted driving. She says she’s tried to reach out to Craig’s office and has not gotten a response.
“She’s directly looking to the side to the camera to the whole time and that just models bad behavior,” she said. “People of influence like political leaders doing this, it normalizes it. They think, ‘Angie Craig is doing it, I can do it.'”
WCCO asked the Craig campaign to give context on how the video was filmed, and if they had a comment. They have not responded to our three requests.
Amy LaVallee is requesting an apology to families like hers.
“It has nothing to do with politics. It’s all about distracted driving and she is modeling very bad behavior,” she said.