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‘Stand for what this country was founded upon’

The owner of The Interchange Wine & Coffee Bistro, who opened her business in defiance of the governor’s executive orders, said Saturday she will continue her fight for liberty though it has been one that is hard and uncomfortable at times.

Lisa Hanson encouraged a group of at least 100 people to stand up for the U.S. Constitution and for principles she said the country was founded on.

Hanson’s comments came at The Stand for Liberty event at Fountain Lake Park, along with other people who have opened up their businesses in defiance of state executive orders and who called for an end to Gov. Tim Walz’s emergency powers regarding the pandemic. The event was set up to raise funds for Hanson’s legal expenses, as she faces several state civil suits, as well as nine criminal misdemeanor counts for reopening against the executive orders.

During her remarks, Hanson shared her story of reopening her restaurant in defiance of Walz’s executive orders that closed restaurants for in-person dining earlier in the pandemic.

She said she and her husband were faced with either closing permanently or reopening fully.

She reopened fully Dec. 16 and stayed open through Feb. 9, at which time she said she closed down because her legal caseload got so heavy.

Hanson spoke out against City Attorney Kelly Martinez and Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag and what she described as her “illegal arrest” this week in Clear Lake, Iowa, after what she described as an unlawful warrant.

She is accused of not attending a court hearing March 10 and claimed she never received a lawful summons to attend. After she did not attend the hearing, a warrant was issued for her arrest. The warrant expanded to nearby states this week, and Clear Lake police arrested her after surveillance by the Freeborn County County Sheriff’s Office and Albert Lea Police Department.

She said she thinks Freitag is not fit to be the sheriff of the county and noted the need for constitutional sheriffs, as city councils, county boards and school boards.

“We need people who stand for what this country was founded upon,” she said.

She also spoke out against wearing face masks and encouraged people to be truth-seekers.

Others who spoke included Jake Dusenberg of Action 4 Liberty; Scott Jensen, former Minnesota state senator and Minnesota governor candidate, and District 55A Rep. Erik Mortensen, among others.

Many spoke on ending Walz’s emergency powers, and Mortensen spoke of his Never Again bill, which would establish that the governor’s executive orders not be treated as law and would require a two-thirds vote by the House and Senate to extend a peacetime emergency.

He said not a single establishment Republican voted for the bill.

Volunteers sold merchandise at the event, as well as food and water, and donation buckets could be seen around the park.