CONCORD, N.H. — A 91-year-old freshman Republican state lawmaker suggested New Hampshire's mentally disabled should be shipped to Siberia and said he is unapologetic about the comment.
State Rep. Martin Harty of Barrington said he was kidding around with an unidentified woman caller who supported funding for the homeless when he raised the issue of eugenics and the world's population growth.
"I was kidding with her and it kind of got away from me," he said of the conversation. "It was a girl that wanted money for the crazy people, the people ... a good percentage of the homeless people are mentally disturbed."
He said he didn't know what to do with them.
"I said maybe they can rent a spot in Siberia off of Russia," he said. "She called me an Adolf Hitler and hung up on me. I never mentioned Hitler."
The comment came to light during a hearing Thursday on the state budget. It's not clear when the woman spoke to Harty.
Laurie McCray, a Portsmouth mother of a boy with medical needs who was testifying, told the House Finance Committee she was shocked when a friend told her a state representative from Barrington espoused shipping "defective people to Siberia to freeze." She did not name the friend or the lawmaker, who was later identified as Harty.
Harty did not deny making the comment or apologize later in a meeting with reporters.
Republican House Speaker William O'Brien said he hopes Harty considers his comments more carefully in the future. O'Brien said that at Harty's age, he has earned the right to say what he thinks, but "he needs to appreciate that as a representative, he will be held to a higher standard."