POLITICS
09/06/2013 07:01 pm ET

Rep. Lori Saine, Colorado Republican, Reportedly Eats Fried Chicken In 'Protest' At Poverty Hearing

A Colorado lawmaker found herself in hot water after allegations that she brought fried chicken to a hearing on poverty as a "silent protest" against the proceedings.

State Rep. Lori Saine (R) sparked the controversy Wednesday after she positioned a Popeyes box in front of her during a meeting of the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force at the capitol building in Denver. The fast-food box had a symbolic purpose, some allege, in the context of a colleague's comments made at an Aug. 21 hearing, reports Talking Points Memo.

During the earlier hearing, a meeting of a Colorado legislative task force, state Sen. Vicki Marble (R) listed both barbecue and fried chicken in controversial comments regarding "problems in the black race."

“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race: sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up, diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup and you just can’t help it,” Marble said, according to TPM. “Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better barbeque and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south and you -- I love it.”

Denver Fox affiliate KDVR reporter Eli Stokols, who was at the hearing this week, reported than an unnamed witness claimed to have overheard Saine telling Marble the chicken was part of a "silent protest" in solidarity with her colleague.

When confronted by the KDVR reporter, Saine laughed and said she was simply "having chicken for dinner. ... Would you like a [press conference] at my house?”

In a later interview with the Longmont Times-Call, Saine doubled down on her denial. She insisted no one could have heard her say she would silently protest.

"I was simply having lunch," she told the Times-Call.

It appears not everyone is buying her explanation, however. GOP party chairman Ryan Call says Saine should apologize, reports local NBC affiliate KUSA. "Rep. Saine's actions on Wednesday do not represent the Colorado Republican Party," Call said in a written statement. "They were insensitive and hurtful, and she must apologize for them."

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