Republican Gene Alday, a Mississippi lawmaker made some racist comments to a reporter while discussing education funding in the state.
The former mayor of Walls (population 1,248) said, "I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call 'welfare crazy checks.' They don't work."
He had to go to the emergency room for pain, he said. "I liked to died. I laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots."
Both republicans and democrats condemned his comment.
House Democrats, including members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus, held a press conference saying they're concerned Alday's words reflect the general sentiment among GOP leadership. They're calling for a serious discussion with top elected officials to address the issues.
"Maybe it's more prevalent than we realize," said state Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Natchez.
"The racially divisive comments by Rep Gene Alday harken us back to Mississippi of the 1960's," said state Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, and chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. "I hope and pray there is a real vast divide between the way that Mississippians view one another today and the comments that appeared in this article. Other than that, to comment further is simply engaging in divisiveness that helps no one."
State Rep. Chuck Espy, D-Clarksdale, issued a statement saying the House Republican leadership "should take responsibility" for what its members say "including messages that are reprehensible and divisive."
"We should lambaste Alday, and also check those whom allow him the opportunity to speak," Espy said. "… The abhorrent rhetoric is intended to galvanize and old base. However, even those in his district are more sophisticated than to be seduced by suck obsolete vitriol."
Republicans took pains to distance themselves from Alday's remarks. Gov. Phil Bryant issued a statement saying the legislator alone is responsible for his words.
"I strongly reject his comments condemning any Mississippian because of their race," the governor said. "Those day are long past."
Speaker of the House Philip Gunn condemned the remarks and said "they do not reflect the views of the Republican party, nor of the leadership of the House of Representatives."
State Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef on Monday said "we are very disappointed." But then he accused his Democratic counterpart of hypocrisy for not being as critical of U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson for comments he made last year on radio.
"(Alday's) statements certainly do not reflect the views of the Mississippi Republican Party, its leadership or membership and are absolutely unacceptable," Nosef said.[SOURCE]