Skip to comments.Kanjorski comments cause election-year stir (Hispanics to refrain from voting?)
Posted on 06/27/2010 8:14:06 AM PDT by Born Conservative
U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski's signature legislative accomplishment financial regulatory reform has been overshadowed by his controversial comments Wednesday about "defective" people.
His 11th District Republican opponent, Hazleton Mayor and anti-illegal-immigrant activist Lou Barletta, seized on Kanjorski's remarks as an insult to minorities and demanded an apology.
Kanjorski says he merely explained how opponents of a reform provision to help unemployed people make mortgage payments falsely characterized Pennsylvanians the program helped in the past.
"We're giving relief to people that I deal with in my office every day now, unfortunately, that because of the longevity of this recession, these are people, and they're not in minorities, and they're not defective and they're not all the things that you would like to insinuate that these programs rep ..." Kanjorski said interrupting himself during a hearing of a Senate-House committee charged with resolving differences between bills approved by the two chambers.
Kanjorski said he was refuting assertions by another committee negotiator that program recipients aren't responsible.
"These are average, good American people," he said. "Most of them have been veterans or served responsible, have worked all their lives but they are not full of money."
Barletta charged Kanjorski called minorities less than "good American people."
"He said Wednesday that 'defective people' are not average, good American people, so who are 'they?'" Barletta asked in a statement. "This is outrageous and shows how out of touch Kanjorski is with the real world."
Barletta himself has had great difficulty courting Latino voters, due in large part to his nationally publicized efforts to remove foreign residents from his city who are violating immigration laws.
In two previous runs against Kanjorski, Barletta lost Monroe County where 27 percent of the population is black, Latino or Asian in a district that is otherwise overwhelmingly white. Both candidates have called Monroe a swing county likely to determine the outcome of this November's election.
At least one local Latina activist says Kanjorski's remarks could dissuade her and other Latinos from voting for him.
"I think a lot of minorities in the Poconos are going to abstain from voting," said Dagmaris Cabezas, president of the Latino Task Force of Monroe County. "Certainly Barletta isn't on the plate for anybody."
She accused Kanjorski of ignoring minorities in the past and said Kanjorski should call a local meeting to explain his statement.
In the closing days of the 2008 campaign, Kanjorski was a last-minute no-show at a candidate forum with Barletta sponsored by the Monroe County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Ronnie Byrd, a Monroe NAACP officer and Democratic Party activist, said Kanjorski was only making the point that minorities and non-minorities alike are in financial distress. He said Barletta's assertions to the contrary are wrong.
"That's a crock of crap," Byrd said. "As much as I respect Barletta, he needs to get off of it."
Kanjorski declined an interview but his spokeswoman, Abigail McDonough, said Barletta selectively distorted a portion of a long statement supporting help for homeowners. She noted five minority Congressional Democrats have written a letter defending Kanjorski's remarks.
"Congressman Kanjorski is fighting for all Americans who are struggling," she said in a statement. "Any statement saying otherwise is grossly misinformed."
The joint committee on which Kanjorski served reached final agreement early Friday morning on a comprehensive financial regulatory reform package that will go to the Senate and House for final votes. The bill includes Kanjorski's "too big to fail" amendment that would make it easier to dismantle large, multi-faceted corporations whose failure threaten the entire economy.
Disgruntled Hispanic voters ping.
Vote the fool out Ping
Not going to happen.
“She accused Kanjorski of ignoring minorities in the past and said Kanjorski should call a local meeting to explain his statement. “
See. He’ll call a meeting with the ‘hispanic’ community and drool all over himself apologizing and stating how ‘misunderstood and quoted out of context’ he was.
Then they’ll do what the usually do. Flock to the polls and vote for him.
We are talking about a DEMONRAT here!
Said a chastised Kanjorski, “I want it to be made clear that minorities and defectives are also hurting. I regret suggesting they weren’t.”
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