A white state senator says he was overcome by the moment when he used the "n" word last week in a conversation with another legislator who is black. Senator Jack Hatch, a Democrat from Des Moines, publicly apologized this afternoon during remarks on the senate floor.
"It was an unfortunate incident and one in which I am terribly sorry for," Hatch said. "It was a comment that was started out of my great belief and dedication in finding health care for all and the moment overcame me."
Hatch shepherded a bill through the senate that expands the number of Iowa children who are covered by health care insurance and he was angry about changes a House Committee made to the legislation. During his three-minute-long speech this afternoon, Hatch listed some of the programs he’s worked on in the past to aid minorities.
"I’m a senator and legislator that has spent many years, my whole adult life, looking for ways to achieve racial and economic justice for all," Hatch said. "…In my commitment to try and eliminate the disparity between health care for African Americans and other minorities propelled me to get too emotional. I made a not only an inappropriate but a despicable comment…I realized immediately that I was wrong and I apologized to the legislator that I was speaking to."
Hatch told his colleagues he had learned from his mistake. "No matter how well we think we are engaged, no matter how well we think we are connected, the difficult of race relations sometimes overcomes us," Hatch said.
Hatch, angry at House leaders, compared himself and Representative Ako Abdul-Samad to a "slaves" and top Democratic leaders as "masters" in the battle over the bill Hatch hopes to advance.
Earlier today Hatch sent an email to every member of the Iowa Senate and House as well as all legislative staff. Read it here .
Click on the audio link below to listen to Hatch’s remarks on the Senate floor.