Vermont state legislator points to 'dangerous' political discourse in withdrawing candidacy

Vermont state legislator points to 'dangerous' political discourse in withdrawing candidacy

A black state legislator in Vermont says she will not seek reelection, pointing to "inflammatory" and "dangerous" political discourse.

"The last four years of service have been incredible; an enormous honor and significant responsibility," Rep. Ruqaiyah “Kiah” Morris (D) said in a statement on Facebook last week in which she announced her withdrawal of candidacy. 

"The last two years have been emotionally difficult for many. Political discourse, and in particular within the sphere of social media has been divisive, inflammatory and at times, even dangerous.

"It is my hope that as a state, we will continue to demand greater support and protections for one another from those forces which seek to divide and destroy our communities."

Morris, who is the only black woman in Vermont's state legislature, had won the Democratic nomination to serve a third term earlier this month. She said she plans to finish out the rest of her term and be replaced at the end of 2018. 

Morris's office did not immediately respond to a request for further comment from The Hill. 

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HuffPost reported that Morris has received various threats during her time in office. In 2016, a racist tweet targeted her for being a black woman representing a predominantly white district, according to The Berkshire Eagle.

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donavon announced in a statement on Monday that his office was investigating online threats made against Morris, Vermont Public Radio reported.

“We are, of course, extremely disappointed that the situation escalated to this level and we continue to work with Representative Morris and authorities on accountability for the perpetrators; not just for Representative Morris and her family, but also for Vermonters of color as a whole,” the Vermont state director of the NAACP, Tabitha Pohl-Moore, told HuffPost.