Democrats call on Kansas lawmaker to resign after comments

The Chair of the Kansas Democratic Party calls on Rep. Virgil Peck (R-Tyro) to resign after his comments in the House Appropriation Committee on Monday.

Peck said illegal immigrants should be shot like feral swine. On Tuesday, he issued a short apology.

In response to Peck’s comments, KDP Chair Joan Wagnon issued the following statement: “Rep. Peck has become a source of embarrassment for all Kansans.  His comments are racist and inexcusable. They erode public confidence in our state’s highest legislative body.”

Other groups, including the Somos Republicans and LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), have called on Peck to step down.

“Rep. Peck’s so called apology, came only after his own party leaders demanded it," said Wagnon. "He still doesn't understand why his comment offends so many people. With continued calls for his resignation , despite his meager attempt at an apology, the right thing for Rep. Peck to do is to step down, and step down immediately. It's the only way to truly apologize to the people he represents in Southeast Kansas."

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Original Story, March 15

A Republican lawmaker in Kansas has apologized for remarks suggesting - as a joke, he said - that illegal immigrants should be shot like feral swine.

Rep. Virgil Peck (R-Tyro) said Tuesday that his remarks during a Monday meeting of the House Appropriations Committee were "regrettable."

The committee was debating whether to try to control the wild hog population by using gunmen in helicopters.

Peck said, "if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a (solution) to our illegal immigration problem."

The remark drew gasps from the audience and other lawmakers.

Peck later said he was joking and told the Lawrence Journal-World after the hearing that his constituents are upset with illegal immigration.

Peck's fellow lawmakers weighed in on the controversy.

“As a lifelong ‘southeast Kansas person,’ I was completely offended by Rep. Peck’s inappropriate comments,” said Bob Grant (D-Cherokee). “With our rich coal mining history, Southeast Kansas is the melting pot of our state. I have no intention of letting Rep. Peck brand me with his own extremist views just because I live in the same region.”
 
In response, southeast Kansas legislators signed a statement denouncing Peck’s behavior.
 
“We want to make it absolutely clear to the people of Southeast Kansas that we absolutely do not share Rep. Peck’s point of view,” said Rep. Doug Gatewood (D-Columbus).

*The Associated Press contributed to this report.