A Kansas lawmaker, 64-year-old Valdenia Winn, who is African American, is now under scrutiny after pulling the “race card” during a debate on a tuition bill.
During a meeting at the House Education Committee on March 19, it was concluded that the in-state college tuition would end for students who are residing in the United States illegally.
When the Kansas lawmaker didn’t agree with that decision, she claimed that it was a “racist, sexist, fear-mongering bill.”
— CJOnline (@CJOnline) April 2, 2015
Her colleagues – who are a group of seven white men and two black men – were taken back by her comment, claiming that it was “crude and inappropriate,” and as a result, a complaint was later filed.
After learning of the filed complaint, Winn gave a public apology but not for her outburst, but for the students and their parents. She stated the following.
“I would like first to apologize to the progressively-minded people of Kansas who are appalled that we are turning back the hands of time… and I am going to use strong language, Jim Crow tactics, and once again making Kansas a laughingstock.
“I want to apologize to the students and their parents whose lives are being hijacked by the racist bigots who support this bill.”
She also spoke with reporters at Fox4, stating, “I felt that it was an example of institutional racism because it targeted a select group, it in essence just shut them off for any future chances of higher education.”
“I said the supporters are supporting a bill that is an act of institutional racism,” Winn said. “Now, 1 + 1 = 2. So if you support this type of bill that has racist outcomes, then I’m saying yes, you may be a racist bigot.”
State Rep. Willie Dove spoke with reporters and gave an explanation as to why he and his colleagues felt the need to file a complaint against Winn.
“It was not becoming of a Kansas state representative to burst out like that, and insult her colleagues in a way that they did, we did not, deserve. And for her to use a race card, I think is pretty ridiculous.”
During an interview, it was evident that Winn wasn’t remorseful for the choice of language she used during the meeting. In fact, she stands by what she said, claiming that “I felt that I stood up for justice and I spoke out against legislation that I thought was discriminatory.”
“I think the complaint is unfounded. I think the complaint lacks understanding of what I said. If it takes this to progress and to protect the education for this population today and all students in Kansas, I’m okay with that.”
A meeting will be held on April 20 for Winn’s investigation.
If they find that she violated the House rules, she could be expelled from the committee.
[Image courtesy of Brenden Hoffman/Getty Images]