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Brent Crane, Idaho Legislator, Says Rosa Parks Favored States' Rights

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The Idaho state Capitol in Boise.
The Idaho state Capitol in Boise.

A Republican lawmaker in Idaho compared his fight against Obamacare to civil rights leader Rosa Parks, saying that both of them are examples of championing states' rights.

Idaho State Rep. Brent Crane (R-Nampa) used a Wednesday debate on a proposal for a state-run health care exchange to invoke the civil rights icon. Crane said Parks was also championing states' rights, the Idaho Statesman reported Friday. Parks was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., to a white passenger in protest of Alabama's segregation laws. Her arrest help launch the civil rights movement and federal intervention on the issue.

"One little lady got tired of the federal government telling her what to do," Crane said in the debate. "I've reached that point, Mr. Speaker, that I'm tired of giving in to the federal government."

In fact, opponents used the concept of states' rights to defend segregation laws.

Crane, the assistant majority leader, explained to the Idaho Statesman that he made a "slight mistake" and that Parks not being a states' rights leader was "a little fact." He also explained that he was trying to say "enough is enough" -- the message he said Parks was trying to get across with her bus protest.

In 2011, Crane used the debate over an abortion bill that did not allow exceptions for rape and incest to say that the "hand of the Almighty" was at work in those situations. God can turn pregnancy from rape into "wonderful examples," he said.

Crane is not the first state politician in recent months to invoke Parks in comparison to their own work. In October, Mike Connolly, an independent candidate for the Massachusetts House of Representatives, called Parks' refusal to change seats a "gimmick" and compared it to his decision to not accept campaign contributions. He later said he meant to imply that he and Parks were both trying to make a point -- not that he thought the civil rights icon's actions were a gimmick.

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