A Nevada lawmaker who had recently become the state assembly speaker resigned from his new position this past weekend after a public outcry over comments he made about Hispanics and other minorities.
Ira Hansen announced his resignation as speaker but stuck a defiant tone in an email to the media and his colleagues on Sunday. He claims that his was forced to resign because of his opposition to a tax increase being pushed by other assembly members.
He blamed his ousting on an “orchestrated attack” by both the media and other lawmakers looking to “remove a conservative Republican” from the speaker’s chair.
“This whole attack has very little to do with my views,” Hansen said. “The powers that be are planning a massive, more than one billion dollar, tax increase, and I stood in the way as speaker.”
Hansen’s wrote his controversial remarks during his time as a columnist for the Sparks Tribune going back to 1994. His last column ran in 2010.
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Most of Hansen’s columns are not available online but they gained traction last week after the Reno News and Review published excerpts of them.
“Locally, gangs and their associated criminal activity are obviously dominated by immigrants, especially Hispanic immigrants,” Hansen wrote in one of his columns. “You cannot read a story about criminals or watch a news report locally without noticing a grossly disproportionate amount of Hispanic involvement.”
Hansen also criticized the way Latino students allegedly flaunted the Mexican flag at a local school.
“At Spanish Springs High School, the large Hispanic population has tended to congregate amongst themselves and boldly flaunt their Mexican heritage by having the green, red and white flag of Mexico displayed in various ways,” he wrote.
Hansen also made inflammatory statements about African-Americans, gays and women. He wrote that he proudly keeps a confederate flag in his office, that women should not serve in the military and that pedophiles are overwhelmingly made up of gay men.
For the Nevada GOP, this controversy has put a dent on their recent good fortunes. They recently gained full control of both the state assembly and Senate during the midterm elections. They are now left with having to select a new speaker.
In a statement from his office, Republican Governor Brian Sandoval said that he asked Hansen to resign last Friday. “I asked him to step down specifically because of his offensive published writings and statements regarding race, sexual preference and gender," Sandoval said. "I respect Mr. Hansen's decision to step down, in his own words, 'for the greater good of Nevada.'"
Hansen is claiming that Sandoval is one of the politicians pushing for the alleged $1 billion dollar tax increase in next year’s legislature.