A Mississippi lawmaker says racist comments recently attributed to him were taken out of context and supposed to be off the record.
State Rep. Gene Alday, a Republican, told The Clarion-Ledger he was against increased funding for education, in particular funding to improve literacy. During his explanation, Alday said he comes "from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call 'welfare crazy checks.' They don't work."
Alday also told the newspaper about a time he visited an emergency room.
“I liked to died. I laid in there for hours because they (black people) were in there being treated for gunshots," Alday was quoted as saying.
Alday didn't deny the comments attributed to him. However, he said he was not a racist.
"I am definitely not a racist, at all," Alday told Mississippi News Now. "Because, I mean, I get along with everybody. And I've spent a lot of time helping people."
Alday blamed Clarion-Ledger reporter Jerry Mitchell for quoting his remarks out of context.
"The interview, he just took me out of context," Alday said. "He asked for one thing and started asking another thing."
Alday elaborated in a followup story with the Clarion-Ledger.
"[Mitchell] asked me a question back to when I was in law enforcement," Alday said. "I have a way of talking and saying, 'take this off the record.'"
Alday also said he had no problem with African-Americans.
"Yes, it's true that most of the blacks in my hometown are on welfare," Alday told the newspaper. "But they're good people. I don't have anything against anybody. I'm a straight-up guy. In my little town they had little civil rights walks and I was with them. I'm with everybody."
State Republicans are distancing themselves from Alday.
“Rep. Alday is solely responsible for his remarks,” Gov. Phil Bryant told The Associated Press. “I strongly reject his comments condemning any Mississippian because of their race. Those days are long past.”
“I condemn the comments recently made by Rep. Gene Alday,” House Speaker Philip Gunn told AP. "They do not reflect the views of the Republican Party, nor of the leadership of the House of Representatives.”
(h/t Raw Story)