State Del. Tag Greason, a leading Republican lawmaker and state budget negotiator, shot off a testy email to a disagreeable constituent March 28, calling the Leisure World parent community resident “the problem,” saying she was wasting his time and questioning “how intellectually lazy” she is.
When asked Monday about the exchange, Greason apologized and said he should have “handled it differently.”
Susan Merk, an elderly resident at Leisure World in eastern Loudoun County, initiated the noted email exchange with her delegate March 24 by voicing her support of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. “It's imperative that federal Medicaid aid is passing the [Virginia] budget,” Merk wrote.
Greason, an outspoken opponent of expanding Medicaid in Virginia, responded first by thanking Merk for contacting him. He went on to explain his position against expansion, reasoning that “ObamaCare has already proven to be inefficient, costly, and an utter disaster,” and that “Medicaid is one of the largest and fastest-growing parts” of the budget even without expansion.
Merk responded by saying, “This reply is pitiful – it's nothing but partisan rhetoric, false accusations and invalid excuses.”
“I will be sure to vote you out the next time you're up for election,” she said.
Greason's second response to the constituent, in full, is as follows:
“Pitiful because I am willing to enter a dialogue with you? All you liberals are the same. As soon as someone doesn't agree with you, you shut down communication, call the other side names, take your ball and go home. I understand and am saddened by this approach at the federal level … but your reaction below is THE problem. I did not have to write you back … but I did. I think discussing differences is the only way to solve problems … you would rather leap right to the insults. How intellectually lazy are you? You are the problem. Good luck to you. You can not insult your way to 'victory.' If you are not willing to have a civil discussion, please do not write me again. It is a waste of my time. Thanks, Tag.”
The third-term GOP delegate is among a select group of House budget negotiators, or conferees, tapped to work on a budget deal between the House and Senate. The Senate has its own slate of conferees who negotiate with Greason and his House colleagues.
Merk characterized Greason's response as “almost unreal” and “unprofessional.”
“I shouldn't write to him again because I am wasting his time?” Merk said. “How many emails do you think he gets per day from people who disagree with him just like I did? It's his job to listen to the people he represents.”
Greason walked back his remarks Monday.
“I must have been having a very bad day,” Greason told the Times-Mirror. “When one is passionate about his or her role, he can get carried away. Clearly I overstepped with Ms. Merk and for that I am truly sorry. I should have known better than to shoot back at Ms. Merk, it was wrong and I apologize for that."