Rep. Gonzalez accepts apology from Peck regarding his recent comment
The national spotlight was on Kansas last week for the wrong reason and one local lawmaker was dragged into the discussion.
Rep. Ramon Gonzalez, R-Perry, was interviewed by national news outlet CNN last week about comments a southeastern state representative made during a committee meeting.
Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, in a committee meeting last week joked that a program used to control feral hogs by shooting them from helicopters could be used to control illegal immigration.
Peck’s comments were immediately reported and the backlash began. Peck issued a statement last Tuesday, March 15, that said, “My statements yesterday were regrettable. Please accept my apology.”
The apology was not good enough for many organizations and Democrats who called for Peck’s resignation last week.
By Thursday, March 17, the story had spread nationally and the four Hispanic members of the Kansas Legislature had to begin answering questions.
“Those remarks are (inappropriate) and there’s no room for those in the Statehouse,” Gonzalez said. “Especially for a representative of our state.
“I don’t condone that kind of behavior,” he added. “You wouldn’t expect that of me either.”
However, Peck gave a televised statement last week while flanked by Gonzalez and the two other Republican Hispanic members of the House. Gonzalez said he spoke with Peck and has accepted his apology. Although many are calling for Peck’s resignation, Gonzalez doesn’t believe he should step down.
“We do have to understand that to err is human and to forgive divine,” Gonzalez said about his reason for standing behind Peck.
Gonzalez said Peck told him that he wasn’t thinking at the time he made the joke and that he was sorry that it was taken the way that it was.
“He apologized to me personally,” he said. “I think he’s learned that he is a state representative and he has to be careful with his remarks.”
Gonzalez said it’s unfortunate that the state has been put in a bad spotlight as well. He said immigration is an important and sensitive issue that needs to be dealt with seriousness.
“This is not a way to get attention,” he said. “It doesn’t do anything for our state especially with all of the immigration issues going on. Remarks like this are not helping our cause.”
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