Here Are All The Offensive Things Missouri, Kansas Lawmakers Have Said In The Past Year
Kansas Republican Rep. Steve Alford was swiftly criticized by both sides of the aisle for saying black people are more prone to drug abuse because of their "character makeup" and "genetics," and that's part of the reason why legalizing marijuana in Kansas would not be a good idea.
Though he's the first lawmaker to say something offensive in 2018, he's just the latest in Kansas and Missouri over the past year. Racism, homophobia, threats of violence: nothing seems out of bounds. Here are some of the notable, publicly aired examples:
Rep. Steve Fitzgerald, Republican (Leavenworth, Kansas)
In a letter addressed to Planned Parenthood Great Plains in March, Fitzgerald said being associated with the women's health care organization was "worse than having one's name associated with Dachau," a concentration camp in Nazi Germany.
Fitzgerald, a staunch abortion opponent, was responding to a donation that had been made to Planned Parenthood in his name. When contacted by KCUR, Fitzgerald doubled down on his comments.
"They're [Planned Parenthood] killing more people. They're more insidious," he said. "The Nazis had the good grace to call them 'Untermensch,' less than human. These people admit that the victims are human and, so what? They kill them anyway."
Fitzgerald is now running for Congress.
Rep. Rick Brattin, Republican (Harrisonville, Missouri)
In May, Brattin argued against adding an amendment to a bill that would have banned discrimination in the workplace, housing or public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
"When you look at the tenets of religion, of the Bible, of the Quran," he said, "there is a distinction between homosexuality and just being a human being."
Brattin's comments were cited by Fodor's Travel this week as one reason Missouri landed on its annual "No List" of 10 places not to travel to in 2018.
Rep. Mike Moon, Republican (Ash Grove, Missouri)
In June, Moon garnered attention with a video he posted online in which he decapitated a live chicken. He said he was making a point about being called back to Jefferson City for a special session on an abortion bill he thought didn't go far enough.
"God gave man dominion over life. He allows us to raise animals properly ... so we can sustain life. We've been called back for this special session for the primary purpose of supporting life, protecting the unborn specifically," Moon said in the video.
As he begins ripping out the chickens' innards, he continued: "And I think we need to get to the heart of the matter. Today, I'm filing a bill that will lead to the stopping of abortion in the state of Missouri."
Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Democrat (University City, Missouri)
In August, in response to another Facebook user's comment, Chappelle-Nadal said she "hoped (President Donald) Trump is assassinated."
It came at the height of a national debate over Confederate monuments and Trump's response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Chappelle-Nadal defiantly rejected bipartisan calls for her to resign and ultimately was given a written reprimand in the Missouri Senate.
Notably, she is the only lawmaker on this list (so far) to be sanctioned for her comments. She is also the only lawmaker of color on this list.
Rep. Warren Love, Republican (Osceola, Missouri)
Soon after the brouhaha over Chappelle-Nadal's comments, Love seemed to suggest that vandals of a Confederate memorial in Springfield be lynched.
On his Facebook page, Love linked to an article about the vandalism with his own caption: "I hope they are found & hung from a tall tree with a long rope."
The comments were widely condemned for their racist overtones, but Love to this day says his words were just "cowboy jargon." Earlier this month, Love rejected the Missouri House Ethics Committee's order to reprimand him.
"I am not admitting I did anything wrong," he said. "I am admitting that I made a statement that was taken out of context and offended certain people that took it to mean something that it did not mean. And I'm sorry for that."
Rep. Steve Alford, Republican (Ulysses, Kansas)
That brings us to Alford, who was responding to a question about legalizing marijuana in Kansas during a gathering of constituents in Garden City. He suggested that race and drug abuse are connected, a notion far removed from any science.
Alford also said drug abuse by African-Americans triggered anti-marijuana laws in the 1930s.
"One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African-Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off of those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that," he said. "And so, basically, what we're trying to do is we're trying to do a complete reverse with people not remembering what has happened in the past."
The southwest Kansas lawmaker has said he regrets his words and has apologized. On Tuesday, he resigned from his positions as the chairman of the House Committee on Children and Seniors and the vice chairman of the Child Welfare System Task Force.
Carl Brewer, a Democratic candidate for Kansas governor, has called on Alford to resign, while Republican House Speaker Ron Ryckman said he was "taken aback" and "disappointed" by the comments.
Kyle Palmer is KCUR's morning newscaster. You can follow him on Twitter.