Nevada Legislator: 'I'd Vote for Slavery' if That's What My Constituents Wanted

By Albert Lin


The Republicans are at it again. A Nevada Assemblyman is under fire after a video surfaced on Monday in which he told a gathering that he would vote for slavery if his constituents demanded it.

“If that’s what they wanted, I’d have to hold my nose, I’d have to bite my tongue and they’d probably have to hold a gun to my head, but, yeah, if that’s what the constituency wants that elected me, that’s what they elected me for,” Jim Wheeler told members of the Storey County Republican Party at an August meeting. “That’s what a republic is about. You elected a person for your district to do your wants and wishes, not the wants and wishes of a special interest, not his own wants and wishes, yours.”

The YouTube video has since been removed by the user who posted it.

Fellow Republicans quickly denounced Wheeler. “Assemblyman Wheeler’s comments are deeply offensive and have no place in our society,” Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a fellow Republican, said in a statement. “He should retract his remarks and apologize.”

Another Republican, State Senator Michael Roberson, sent out the following tweets:

Wheeler, predictably, said his comments were taken out of context, and that he was merely making the point that he serves the voters of his district. He told the Associated Press: “Anyone who knows me knows that I could never vote for something like that,” he said. “It’s disgusting. It’s beyond disgusting. There is absolutely no room in my life for any bigotry.”

He told the Las Vegas Sun that he in fact would not cast his ballot for such a bill: “I don’t care if every constituent in District 39 wanted slavery, I wouldn’t vote for it. That’s ridiculous.”

Making Excuses

On Tuesday morning, Wheeler posted the following apology to his website. (Yes, there is an apology in there, at the tail end of the 414-word statement.)

“The media is having a good time with a clearly facetious statement I made in a town hall meeting earlier this year. They’re attempting to spin an extreme example I used about supporting my constituents to accuse me of being racist. Anybody that knows me knows that’s absurd, and anyone that views the comments in context understands that the whole point of the example is that racism of any kind is something that I find completely unacceptable.

“During the meeting, I was asked how I would vote if I believed one way on an issue, and my constituents believed the opposite. I stated the truth that I believe, which is that in a Representative Republic I’m hired by the people to represent their views. I used an over-the-top example of something that I absolutely do not agree with, and even mentioned that to get me to vote for such a thing, my constituents would literally have to hold a gun to my head. In reality, that isn’t the case at all. If my constituents wanted to do something as outlandish as bring back an abhorrent system, then I simply couldn’t represent them anymore. They would remove me from office, or I’d have to resign.

“In the bill from the 2013 session that we were discussing, I’d heard from an unusually large number of constituents, and the comments were 3-1 in favor of the bill. That’s a very clear mandate, and it was enough for me to set my opinion aside and represent the voters of District 39. Despite the media spin that claims I don’t think for myself, I give careful consideration to the votes I cast, and I find that 99% of the time my constituents agree with me. That makes sensethey elected me because they know that my beliefs align with theirs.

“Unlike some legislators, I don’t believe that my Assembly seat is a platform for my personal issues. I occupy the people’s seat: It’s my job to represent them faithfully, as I have done. As long as my constituents agree with my positions, I’m confident that they’ll keep hiring me to do the job. And if they ever decided that they wanted me to advocate for an unacceptable issue, they’d have to find somebody else to bring that to the Assembly.

“If my comments were taken with offense by anyone, I sincerely apologize. I intended the statement as an extreme example of something unacceptable, and hope that’s how it’s taken.”

More of the Same

Members of the Republican Party are not strangers to offensive statements. Earlier in October, Buncombe Party (N.C.) Republican Party official Don Yelton called Blacks “lazy” and using the N-word on The Daily Show and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett compared same-gender marriage to incest. In June, Montgomery County (Ill.) Republican Party Chairman Jim Allen wrote an email blasting a biracial congressional candidatewho happens to be a Republican. In April, Saline County (Kan.) Commissioner Jim Gile used the term n——rigging. In March, Alaska Congressman Don Young referenced the “wetbacks” who would work on his family’s farm.

That’s to say nothing of the party’s efforts to pass stricter voter-ID laws and to ban same-gender marriage.

Latest News

banks, key, U.S., TD, Wells Fargo

U.S. Bank, KeyBank, TD Bank and Wells Fargo Announce Efforts to Mitigate Financial Impact of COVID-19

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting more than just the physical health of Americans and people around the world. As governments shut down nonessential businesses, the economy is taking an unprecedented blow. Individuals and small businesses are bearing much of the brunt. However, many large banking corporations,…

Kaiser Permanente Mental Health App Now Available to Members at No Cost

Originally published on about.kaiserpermanente.org.  myStrength app is part of Kaiser Permanente’s effort to provide valuable tools to support mental and emotional health, particularly during stressful times. As part of its commitment to offer members innovative ways to promote personal health and wellness, particularly during increasing levels of stress and anxiety,…

AT&T Believing in our COVID-19 First Responders

Originally posted on ATT.com AT&T supports first responders, medical personnel, responding to COVID-19 with nourishing meals  Across the country – and around the world – first responders and medical personnel are playing a critical role in helping care for their communities during the COVID-19 crisis. “First responders and medical personnel…

Humana Announces Health Care Provider Initiative to Help Ease Financial and Administrative Stress During Coronavirus Pandemic

Originally posted on Humana.com Leading health and well-being company Humana Inc., announced actions designed to help provide financial and administrative relief for the health care provider community facing unprecedented strain during the coronavirus pandemic. First, Humana is implementing simplified and expedited claims processing, in order to get reimbursement payments to providers…

hershey

The Hershey Company: Togetherness During Uncertain Times

Originally published on thehersheycompany.com by Thomas Smuda, Vice President, Retail Staying true to our purpose, to make more moments of goodness, and to our values is important in uncertain times We’re making safety-first decisions for employees while still helping retailers maintain local food supply Hershey’s culture and spirit of connections…