Colorado lawmaker calls Mexican workers ‘illiterate peasants’
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER ” Rep. Douglas Bruce was ordered to leave the podium of the Colorado House of Representatives on Monday after calling Mexican workers “illiterate peasants.”
Bruce, a Republican with a history of provoking controversy with his statements and actions, made the comment during a debate on a bill designed to ease a farmworker shortage in Colorado.
It drew an audible gasp from the House.
“How dare you,” said Rep. Kathleen Curry, a Democrat who was serving as chairwoman during the debate. She told Bruce he was no longer recognized to speak.
The bill under discussion would allow the state to help immigrant workers get temporary visas.
“I would like to have the opportunity to state at the microphone why I don’t think we need 5,000 more illiterate peasants in Colorado,” Bruce said.
Rep. Mike May of Parker, the House minority leader and head of the GOP caucus, said legislative leaders were trying to determine what action to take against Bruce.
Rep. Terrance Carroll, a Democrat from Denver, said the remark could result in a formal ethics complaint that would require a hearing and possible suspension, censure or expulsion.
“There’s no room for bigotry on the floor of the House,” Carroll said.
Bruce was still on the House floor Monday afternoon and was unavailable for comment.
Bruce, of Colorado Springs, has had had other run-ins since arriving at the Capitol in January as a midterm appointee to fill a vacancy.
He became the first Colorado lawmaker censured by the House after he kicked a newspaper photographer for taking his picture during a prayer. Republicans later removed him the powerful State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee because he refused to co-sponsor a resolution honoring military veterans.
Bruce said he believed resolutions were a waste of time because they have no legal impact.
Before becoming a state lawmaker, Bruce was best known as the author of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution that limits taxes and government spending.
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