Triveece Penelton of the firm Vireo, which was hired to do a land use study for the Leavenworth, Kansas county commission, is shown speaking before the panel during a meeting last week. (Photo source: YouTube screenshot)
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The Leavenworth, Kansas, county commissioner is facing backlash for telling a black woman during a public meeting that he’s part of a “master race.”
The comment came after Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp indicated he wasn’t happy with land use options aired during a public meeting, WDAF-TV reported.
Klemp made the comment during the Nov. 13 meeting in response to a presentation by Triveece Penelton. She is with the firm Vireo, which was hired to do a land use study for a County Road 1 corridor, the Leavenworth Times reported.
“I don’t want you to think I am picking on you because we are part of the master race,” said Klemp, who has a gap in his teeth. “You have a gap in your teeth. We are part of the master race. Don’t you forget that.”
The ‘master race’ is also known as the Nazi Germany belief in Aryan supremacy.
Among those calling for his Klemp's resignation is Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer, a Republican.
In a statement released Saturday, Colyer wrote:
"Racial and discriminative language have no place in our society, and most especially when spoken by someone holding a public office," Colyer said in his statement Saturday afternoon. "The inappropriate remarks made by Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp are unacceptable and do not reflect the values of the county which he represents. As such, I call on him to step down as county commissioner."
Leavenworth Mayor Mark Preisinger told media he was inundated with calls and emails about the comment. He admonished Klemp for bringing negative, national attention to the community. Although the city indicated it does not have the authority to remove Klemp, his term is set to expire in January.
On Thursday, the Leavenworth City Commission issued a statement saying it "unequivocally denounces the use of 'master race' or any other language that has historic ties to racism, division and bigotry in any setting at any time."
Fellow commissioners Robert Holland and Doug Smith have also called for Klemp to leave.
“In the best interest of the county, he should resign,” Smith said.
On Saturday, the commissioner's page on the county’s website showed photos of Holland and Smith and a blank space where a photo of Kemp would have been.
Last year, Klemp was blasted for making a comment at a public meeting that he admired Confederate General Robert E. Lee, according to published reports.
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