Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has called on a Leavenworth County commissioner to resign after he told a black woman at a public meeting that he belongs to a “master race.”
Colyer issued a statement in response to Commissioner Louis Klemp’s comments made during a county commission meeting earlier this week.
“Racial and discriminative language have no place in our society, and most especially when spoken by someone holding a public office,” Colyer said in his statement Saturday afternoon. “The inappropriate remarks made by Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp are unacceptable and do not reflect the values of the county which he represents. As such, I call on him to step down as county commissioner.”
Klemp made the comment that many are calling racist on Nov. 13, in response to a presentation by Triveece Penelton on road development options in Tonganoxie.
Klemp wasn’t happy with the options Penelton and a colleague presented at the meeting.
“I don’t want you to think I’m picking on you because we’re part of the master race,” Klemp told Penelton. “You know you got a gap in your teeth. You’re the masters. Don’t ever forget that.”
The Leavenworth City Commission released a statement, in part saying it “unequivocally denounces the use of ‘master race’ or any other language that has historic ties to racism, division and bigotry in any setting at any time.”
The Leavenworth City Commission also held a brief 10-minute special session Thursday where the mayor read the city’s full statement.
The mayor said it was important to take a stance because Klemp’s comments brought negative attention to the entire community.
The city’s statement said it has no authority to remove Klemp from office but urged the county commissioner to apologize and resign immediately. Klemp’s two fellow county commissioners also called for him to resign.
Klemp, who once ran for governor, has come under criticism in the past for making racist comments. At this time last year, Klemp also drew fire for comments during another public meeting about holidays in which he admired Confederate General Robert E. Lee.