State Watch

Delaware House lawmaker won't seek reelection after using racist, sexist slur

A state House lawmaker in Delaware who made a racist comment in an email announced on Monday that he will not seek reelection, the same day that the state's Democratic leaders indicated they would not initiate an ethics investigation that could have led to his ouster.

 

State Rep. Gerald Brady (D), who represents Wilmington, made the comment in an email on June 27 that was meant for an unidentified person but was ultimately sent to an advocate for decriminalizing prostitution, The Associated Press reported. Brady pressed "reply" when he meant to forward the email to a different person who he was asking for input.

"Is the dude basically saying, if we provide free [sex acts] for Uncle Pervie there will be few rapes and few [a slur for Chinese women] will be shipped in CONEX containers to the Port of Wilmington??" Brady reportedly wrote in the email, which was sent from his official government account, according to the AP.

The lawmaker on Monday said he "cannot in good conscience ask the voters to put their faith in me again after I betrayed theirs," according to the wire service.

He was elected to the House in 2006 and serves as the executive director of the Delaware AFL-CIO.

Democratic leaders in the House ordered Brady to complete sensitivity training and communicate with members of the Asian American community to try and recoup their trust, according to the AP.

But in a statement on Monday, the top Democratic lawmakers said they would not take begin disciplinary proceedings against Brady, which could have potentially led to his suspension or expulsion from the chamber.

"We want to be clear about something we have heard from residents this past week: As a duly elected official, only Rep. Brady can make a decision about his political future. House leadership cannot unilaterally take action," House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and Majority Whip Larry Mitchell said in a joint statement, according to the AP.

The wire service, however, noted that was not true. The trio of representatives are all members of the House Ethics Committee, which is authorized to probe complaints that a lawmaker has breached rules regarding legislative conduct.

Those regulations would be in play in this situation, since one of the chamber's rules says that "A member shall not engage in conduct which the House determines (i) brings the House into disrepute or (ii) reflects adversely on the member's fitness to hold legislative office," according to the AP.

If the majority of the Ethics Committee were to decide that the complaint is true, the committee is authorized to recommend that the House take "appropriate action" against the lawmaker, if a majority vote is behind the move, the AP reported. That action includes expulsion.

Instead, however, the leading lawmakers, who called Brady's comment "reprehensible, racist, sexist and indefensible," backed providing sensitivity training for all House members.

"While we do not believe our colleagues harbor such views, it would be beneficial for them to learn of any microaggressions or other attitudes or actions that negatively impact the Asian American community, and how we all can take steps to improve our relationships with the community," the lawmakers said, according to the wire service.

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