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Democrats say they won’t tolerate lawmaker’s slur, but have not asked him to resign

From: Delaware Online 

The Delaware Democratic Party said that anti-Asian slurs and other sexual language used by state Rep. Gerald Brady in an email  “will not be tolerated,” but stopped short of demanding that he resign.

The outcry comes after a June 27 email sent by Brady was shared with Delaware Online/The News Journal. In the email, Brady referred to sex workers as “chink broads.”

“Is the dude basically saying, if we provide free [sex acts] for Uncle Pervie, there will be few rapes and few chink broads will be shipped in CONEX containers to the Port of Wilmington??” Brady wrote from his official government email account.

The email was intended to be sent to a private citizen Brady knows, said Drew Volturo, a spokesman for the House Democratic Caucus. Instead, Brady replied to a sex workers’ advocate who had originally emailed him to discuss legislation intended to protect sex workers.

“Misogynistic, anti-Asian language has no place in our Party and calls into question the integrity of any leader,” Betsy Maron, chair of the Delaware Democratic Party, said in a written statement. “No apology will rectify the fact that Representative Gerald Brady felt comfortable enough to use such hateful language behind closed doors.”

When asked if the party was calling on Brady to step down, Democratic spokeswoman Sarah Fulton said no.

“If Gerald Brady doesn’t want to resign, that’s something that he is going to have to deal with when he looks his constituents in the face next fall and tries to justify why they should vote for him,” Fulton said.

 

Brady sent a written apology Monday through a spokesman. He also posted his apology on his Facebook page Tuesday afternoon.

“There is no excuse I can offer that explains my embarrassing and shameful words that insulted, stereotyped and dehumanized an entire culture while making light of a serious human rights crisis,” Brady wrote. “My words matter, both as a state legislator and as a person, and I deeply apologize for the inexcusable language I used.”

House Democratic leaders said they were “shocked and disappointed” this week when they learned of Brady’s email, according to a letter sent to Brady on Tuesday by House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, and House Majority Whip Larry Mitchell.

Like the state Democratic party, House leadership said the language “cannot be excused and will not be tolerated” by the caucus, but did not call on Brady to resign.

“Our country has seen anti-Asian hatred grow exponentially during this past year, fueled by reckless political figures and talking heads who have spewed rhetoric and lies,” the letter reads. “While your apology was sincere and contrite, words alone are not enough to properly address this situation.”

House leadership is directing Brady to take sensitivity training to “better understand and appreciate how deeply your words affect people.” He is also being told to reach out to local Asian American organizations to “open a dialogue” and make amends and rebuild trust with the Asian American community.

Neither Schwartzkopf or Longhurst responded to further questions.

In Delaware, emails sent by lawmakers and the governor are not considered public record. Brady’s email only became known after it was shared with Delaware Online/The News Journal.

As printed communications like letters become more obsolete, the public has the right to know what legislators are emailing, said John Flaherty, of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government.

“It seems that technology is enabling more and more communication to be out of the realm of public scrutiny,” Flaherty said. “That’s one of the benefits of having emails that are made public. We get to see how our legislators are conducting business.”

Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act is a series of laws determining what governmental records the public does and doesn’t have access to. The Delaware General Assembly did not become subject to FOIA until 2009. That same year, an amendment sponsored by Schwartzkopf excluded email communications from public record.

“Constituents send us emails with all kinds of things in it, and they don’t expect their private conversations with their legislators to be public,” Schwartzkopf, a Rehoboth Beach Democrat, said in 2009. ““I really don’t think that was the intent of FOIA, for somebody who wants to be nosy, a nosy neighbor, just doing a fishing expedition.”

House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst has also defended shielding lawmaker emails, saying in 2016 she doesn’t want sensitive constituent correspondence to be under public scrutiny.

Others point out that It is common practice in responding to FOIA requests to redact sensitive information.