Archive for Monday, January 8, 2018

White Kansas lawmaker says blacks ‘responded worst’ to drugs

Rep. Stephen Alford, R-Ulysses talks with colleagues before the legislative session begins at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kan., Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Rep. Stephen Alford, R-Ulysses talks with colleagues before the legislative session begins at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kan., Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

January 8, 2018, 2:53 p.m. Updated January 8, 2018, 6:26 p.m.


— A white Kansas state lawmaker arguing against the legalization of marijuana suggested that it and other drugs were originally outlawed in part because blacks were predisposed to abusing drugs because of their “character makeup — their genetics and that.”

State Rep. Steve Alford, a 75-year-old Republican from Ulysses in the state’s southwestern corner, apologized Monday for remarks he made Saturday during a public meeting at a hospital in Garden City. One NAACP leader called Alford “an idiot” over the remarks.

At the meeting, Alford referenced a time in the 1930s when marijuana was prohibited. The Garden City Telegram first reported on the statement Monday and posted a video of it to YouTube.

“What was the reason they did that?” he asked a crowd of about 60 people, none of whom were black. “One of the reasons why — I hate to say it — is the African-Americans, they were basically users and they responded the worst off to those drugs. It’s because of their character makeup — their genetics and that. And so basically what we’re trying to do, is we’re trying to do a complete reverse of the people not remembering what’s happened in the past.”

Kansas is one of the few remaining states that haven’t legalized some form of medical marijuana, including low-THC marijuana derivatives that can’t get a user high. But the legalization question has been percolating in Kansas in recent years.

In a written apology he released Monday, Alford said he views substance abuse as a “blight” and he thinks legalizing marijuana would open the door to harder drugs.

“As an aside, I also remarked that one of the original reasons behind the criminalization of the drug in the 1930s was its negative effects on society and more specifically the damaging consequences on the African American community,” Alford’s statement said. “I was wrong, I regret my comments, and I sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have hurt.”

Before Alford issued his apology, Darrell Pope, the president of the NAACP’s chapter in Hutchinson, said: “He is an idiot and that shows how oblivious Kansans are to selecting representatives to put someone like that in there to represent them.”

Rep. Valdenia Winn, a black Democrat from Kansas City, Kan., said before Alford’s statement that he should apologize to people of color in his district.

And, she added of his remarks, “It’s bizarre.”

Alford issued his apology after meeting with the Republican-controlled House’s top GOP leaders, Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. and Majority Leader Don Hineman. They said they were “completely taken aback” and disappointed by Alford’s remarks.

Alford was first elected to the House in 2010 and is chairman of its Children and Seniors Committee as well as a legislative task force on child welfare issues. As speaker, Ryckman has the power to strip members of committee chairmanships.

If another lawmaker files a formal complaint over Alford’s remarks, Ryckman would be required under the House’s rules to appoint a special investigating committee that would make recommendations on whether the chamber should take formal action, such as a censure. It wasn’t clear Monday whether any other lawmaker would push for such a review.

Ryckman said GOP leaders would consult with other lawmakers and their staff on how to respond.

Asked about his remarks Monday by The Associated Press, before his apology, Alford said: “I’m not going make any more remarks about that. To me, that’s neutral. Basically, I got called a racist, which I’m really not, and it’s just the way people — the interpretation of people. To me, I’m trying to look at what’s really the best for Kansas.”

­— Associated Press writers Roxana Hegeman in Wichita and Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.


Michael Joseph Walsh 2 months, 1 week ago

If you cite a 1930's (the "good ol' days" according to Alford) racist law that was put forth by racists with no supporting documentation or scientific studies, then, yeah, you are a racist. Alford is an example of the intelligence deficit in the Kansas legislature. His constituents must be so proud.

Steve King 2 months, 1 week ago

Racist? Probably. A backward idiot? Definately. Out of the loop. Truly.

Bob Summers 2 months, 1 week ago

The "White Kansas lawmaker" comment sounds like an easy enough claim to scientifically prove or disprove.

Charlie Dominguez 2 months, 1 week ago

What a moron! Only in Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama...Yep, that's where we stand folks....

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 1 week ago

I can't find any info on his education. Did he even graduate high school? He sounds pretty backwards, but it also says a lot of the people who elected him.

Barbara Johnston 2 months, 1 week ago

Says he's not a racist but his words are decisively racist.. Hope the people of Ulysses read about this scoundrel and oust him ASAP. Ought to be ashamed of himself but probably doesn't have the sense to recognize his inadequacy.

Bob Forer 2 months, 1 week ago

Racist? My ass!!!! This maggot's rationale is straight from the playbook of the Nazi eugenetics movement born in the thirties which formed the ideological basis for the THird Reich, the Final Solution of over 6 million murdered Jews and countless other minorities. Not to mention the destruction of Europe and the loss of 50 to 80 million lives in WWII including half a million GIs. This ain't no garden variety bigot. He is a damn neo-nazi.

Where is the outrage?

I ask the leaders of both major parties. Have you no courage. Have you no decency?

Get this scoundrel and traitor out of our Statehouse. Now.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

Wow, we can say "My ass!!!" now without getting disappeareded? I suppose it depends on whose ox is getting gored. BTW, watching Forer channeling Joseph Welch is rather amusing.

Bob Forer 2 months, 1 week ago

Well bob. Do You. Do you have any decency?

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

My fundament contains more decency that your whole carcass.

Bob Summers 2 months, 1 week ago

Dear Forer,

Without getting emotionally hypersensitive, which is genetically impossible for the Liberal, prove "White Kansas lawmaker" wrong.


Bob Forer 2 months, 1 week ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

The more often I see little Forer veer into the weeds and go to name-calling, the better I think the Kansas judicial system is better off without him.

Bob Summers 2 months, 1 week ago

Dear Forer,

Here you have it.

This subject and those under the influence of the Liberal gene cannot behave civilly without being emotionally hypersensitive, resorting to violence and name calling.

See Berkeley riots. Ferguson. etc etc etc for further examples of these types of folk that are under the influence.

btw. Genetic testing is used for your coveted abortions.

Will New Genetic Tests Lead to More and Earlier Abortions?

Does your support of abortions qualify you for your code word "NAZI eugenics"?

Kevin Elliott 2 months, 1 week ago

In all fairness, Racism is an act of violence and a mental illness, not a point of view and thus, you are by definition, sick, not legitimate. So you are right, you deserve much more pity than has been shown you.

Bob Summers 2 months, 1 week ago

Violence like in Berkeley and Ferguson etc etc etc


The condition has been an issue since Cain, in a fit of jealousy, killed his brother Abel.

Bob Forer 2 months, 1 week ago

What kind of person demands proof that Nazi eugenetics has no basis in fact.

Are you a white Nationalist?

Josh Berg 2 months, 1 week ago

Bob, there is no such thing as eugenetics. It is called Eugenics. Just thought if you are going to use big words you may want some help.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 1 week ago

Here some facts for you, Bob. Also, then as now, Blacks are just arrested more for smoking pot, and getting jail time, than whites. Not because they smoke it more, or act differently on it. And the whole propaganda film, Reefer Madness was made up, not based in fact. And I'm sure this guy is old enough to have been show that thing in school, and since it fits right into his small, racist mind, he still believes it. And he has probably lived in the sticks all his life and has never been exposed to many Blacks, but that's no excuse for being a bigot.

Gary Stussie 2 months, 1 week ago

Drug Policy Alliance reports ... Black people comprise 13 percent of the U.S. population, and are consistently documented by the U.S. government to use drugs at similar rates to people of other races.

Aged legislator strongly against legalization of pot badly blows rationale ... may be time to pass the baton!

Perhaps that 75 year old maggot, bigot, neo-nazi, scoundle, traitor was trying to point out that people of color are disproportionately impacted by drugs and just fell back on his Nazi eugenics movement upbringing!

People of color are, most definitely, disproportionately impacted by drugs

Black people comprise 31 percent of those arrested for drug law violations, and nearly 40 percent of those incarcerated in state or federal prison for drug law violations. Similarly, Latinos make up 17 percent of the U.S. population, but comprise 20 percent of people in state prisons for drug offenses and 37 percent of people incarcerated in federal prisons for drug offenses.

In 2013, Latinos comprised almost half (47 percent) of all cases in federal courts for drug offenses.

What's more shocking ... as recently as 2014 nearly 80 percent of people in federal prison and almost 60 percent of people in state prison for drug offences are black or Latino.

Not sure, myself, that legalization is the solution ... but damn sure rants like yours add nothing to the discussion. Take a pill!

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 1 week ago

Blacks are impacted, because they are more likely to be arrested and go to prison than a white person. A Black guy gets caught with a joint, he's going jail. A white guy gets caught, he gets a slap on the wrist and told to flush it. I live in the real world. Blacks and whites both do drugs.

But all the things they have said about pot just aren't true. You can't make a case against it if you make that case with lies. Have you ever seen Reefer Madness. It's a bunch of BS. And do you know about the medicinal value of pot? You don't even have to take any with THC in it. CBD works just as well. And why is industrial hemp illegal to grow?

It's all about the money. And how about dealing with the opioid problem where people are dying? Pot only leads to harder drugs, because when it's illegal, you buy from a dealer who is selling the harder stuff. The opioids that are prescribed as a "miracle drug" that leads to addiction, then when they can't get it anymore they turn to heroin are the real problem. I wonder if big Pharma is getting kickbacks from drug cartels?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 1 week ago

And we can argue all day about the pros and cons of marijuana, but that is not what this racist said. He acted like Blacks responded worse to the drugs. Not that they were more likely to be arrested for drugs. He thinks that drugs affect Blacks differently than Whites. It is not true. It is racist.

Armen Kurdian 2 months ago

it's a lot more than that. More blacks are in the inner cities, low income neighborhoods, where they are subject to living in areas with higher gang violence, drug trafficking and other illegal activity. So it is safe to say that drugs probably impact the black population more severely due to their circumstances.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

But that's not what this guy was saying, and you know it.

Armen Kurdian 2 months ago

Yes, and that's not what I was implying and YOU know it.

Armen Kurdian 2 months ago

@Bob F, I don't know if he's actually racist, though the comment even if not intended to be racist was certainly 'undelicate.' :-P Yeah, it was kind of stupid. Though seriously, I might ask if he intended the comment in the similar vein of, "Native Americans are more susceptible to alcohol and get drunk." Something else that some people take as fact but I don't believe was ever proven.

Drugs do affect the inner cities more, and probably do affect blacks more, though I seriously doubt as you would agree it's due to a genetic pre-disposition.

William Cummings 2 months ago

Armen: According to the Garden City Telegram, Representative Alford commented that black people were “users” and responded worst to the drugs because of their “character makeup” and “genetics.”

It appears that Alford concluded that the "black people" are somehow inferior to other races because of some perceived predisposition to abusing drugs, and that that this perceived predisposition justifies current drug policy.

The fact that he alluded that African Americans are somehow inferior to others meets the definition of an act of "racism" on his part. A racist is: "a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another." [Source: English Oxford Dictionary]

Given a fair reading of the terms "racism" and "racist," it appears that Representative Alford fits within the definition of "racist."

Michael Dennis 2 months, 1 week ago

Alford: "genetics" Summers: "genetically"

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

So LJW does have some standards for what gets posted here after all.

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