A growing number of Maryland lawmakers are calling this week for the resignation of a white Democrat delegate for using a racist insult at a meeting after regular working hours with her colleagues.
Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti, who represents southern Harford County, Maryland, near Baltimore, apologized on Tuesday for using a "insensitive and hurtful word" several weeks ago. but refused to say what that word was.
According to the Washington Post, Ms. Lisanti, 51, told another white lawmaker that when he had been campaigning for a candidate in Prince George County in the fall, he had knocked on the door in a "negro district". in the mail by delegate Jay Walker, the legislator who represents the district in question in Prince George's. The country has about 63% of African-Americans, according to the latest census data. Mr. Walker has not responded to requests for comments this week.
The rally was held late January in a cigar bar in Annapolis, the state capital. Several lawmakers who were there told Darryl Barnes, president of the Maryland Black Legislative Caucus, that she had used this insult, he said in an interview Wednesday. The 57-member caucus is asking for his resignation, he added.
Ms. Lisanti's language was "totally offensive," Barnes said, adding that it was "simply unachievable" for her to remain in office.
Legislative leaders have already removed the committee title. She promised to take awareness training. But a growing number of leaders in both parties say that is not enough.
The President of the Maryland Democratic Party, the Maryland Republican Party, the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, all asked Ms. Lisanti, a second term delegate headquartered in 2022, to resign as well.
Ms. Lisanti met with the Maryland Black Legislative Caucus on Monday to explain. "We did not feel that his excuses were remorseful," Barnes said, adding that she sometimes seemed "somewhat arrogant".
In a statement Tuesday, Michael E. Busch, Democratic Speaker of the House of Delegates, told Lisanti that she would no longer chair the Subcommittee on Unemployment Insurance, adding that "the House leaders must be able to bring people together – do not tear them apart. "
Ms. Lisanti apologized saying that she was ashamed, that she would not repeat the word she had used and that she had agreed to leave her management and post to participate in awareness training. She is on the Economic Affairs Committee and has served on the Harford County Council.
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When the post originally questioned Ms. Lisanti about the episode, she stated that she did not remember having used this insult. But she also said that she was "sure" to have used it in the past. "I'm sure everyone has used it," she told The Post in an article on Monday. "I used the word F. I used the name of the Lord in vain.
In her Tuesday statement, Ms. Lisanti stated that she was "sick that this word came out of my mouth."
"It's not in my vocabulary, and it does not represent my belief system, the work of my life or what I have in my heart," she said. She did not respond to interview requests this week.
Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat, refrained from calling for resignation, but said in a statement that Ms. Lisanti "must be held accountable for her words" and "must carefully consider whether she can still effectively defend her voters. "
Representatives of Senator Christopher J. Van Hollen did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
The president of the Democratic Party of that state, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, In a statement issued Wednesday, Ms. Lisanti apologized: "Some of her African-American voters have provided further clarification on the kind of political positions and actions she took that correspond to the Feelings expressed by his poor choice, these words emphasize that the excuses and the promise to attend a training on diversity are not enough. "
According to Dr. Cummings, about one-third of Ms. Lisanti's district constituents in southern Harford County are African-Americans. They deserve to be represented by a person "respectful and grateful for the diversity of the population". is mostly white.
"For this reason, I support calls for Lisanti to quit her position," said Dr. Cummings.
Prince George County, which surrounds eastern Washington, has several affluent African-American neighborhoods: its median family income of $ 78,607 is similar to Maryland's.
With more than 900,000 residents, Prince George's is much more populated than Harford County, which has approximately 252,000 residents. Both areas are highly educated: most residents have completed high school and more than 30% in each county have at least a bachelor's degree.
Prince George's County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks described Ms. Lisanti as "unenlightened and ignorant" at a press conference on Wednesday and said she should resign.
"His opinions mean nothing," said Ms. Alsobrooks. "We know who we are in Prince George's."
Harford County Executive, Barry Glassman, Republican, also echoed the widespread calls for the resignation of Ms. Lisanti Wednesday, claiming in a tweet that he was "deeply disappointed" in it.
The reaction in Maryland followed a series of revelations that Virginia politicians, including the governor and attorney general, had appeared in black in the past.