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Mississippi GOP legislator blames his racist remarks on news reporter

In a remarkable tour-de-force of non-courage, a Mississippi GOP legislator whose racist remarks got him in hot water with his own fellow Republicans after he was quoted by a newspaper is trying to pass the buck to the reporter who wrote the story.

State Rep. Gene Alday, R-Walls, who came under fire after his racist comments appeared in a Clarion-Ledger article Sunday about public education, said today his remarks were out of context and that he’s a nice guy. “I’m not a bad person, and that makes me look like an evil person,” Alday said Monday. “I didn’t do anything wrong. The guy made me look like a fool.” 

No, he didn’t, Alday made himself look like a fool. And an idiot, too, by saying this: “It was late at night and he called me … I have a way of talking and saying, ‘take this off the record.'” What a dummy. A reporter’s job is to report. When a legislator talks to a reporter, what he says is news, and it’s on the record. That’s why the reporter is talking to him.

So, what exactly did Alday say that got him into hot water? Oh, just the usual Republican racist stereotyping:

“I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call ‘welfare crazy checks.’ They don’t work.” He had to go to the emergency room for pain, he said. “I liked to died. I laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots.”

That actually had nothing to do with the story Jerry Mitchell was writing, which concerned education funding. Alday had something to say about that, too:

State Rep. Gene Alday, R-Walls, doesn’t believe any more funding is needed. “I don’t see any schools hurting,” he said. But then he went on to say that Mississippi “has a lot of bad school districts. The people are electing superintendents that don’t know anything about education.”

It so happens that Mississippi ranks 45th in school spending per student, even though it ranks 2nd in federal education subsidies, which means legislators like Alday are providing less public support for K-12 education than almost any other legislature — which may help explain why Mississippi “has a lot of bad school districts” and ranks in the cellar on household income and has the nation’s highest poverty rate.

Unlike some of his fellow Republican legislators, the Clarion-Ledger didn’t call upon Alday to resign. It merely suggested, in an editorial, that he should not seek re-election; or, if he does, the voters of his district should send him into involuntary retirement.

By the way, Jerry Mitchell is the journalist whose investigative reporting led to convictions in several civil rights cold cases, including the murders of Medgar Evers, Vernon Dahmer, three civil rights workers in Mississippi, and the Birmingham church bombing. Alday certainly knew who was interviewing him. Maybe he has a bee up his ass because Mitchell helped put Edgar Ray Killen and other KKK killers behind bars.

Photo: GOP legislator Gene Alday apologizes for his racist remarks on the floor of the Mississippi House of Representatives.

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