(This story updated at 1:33 p.m.)
A white state senator who made a racially-charged comment last week emailed an apology to his colleagues this morning and spoke publicly about the incident early this afternoon.
Senator Jack Hatch, who is white, used the "N" word to describe how he thought he was being treated by legislative leaders. Hatch made the comment to Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, who is black.
Hatch suggested he and Abdul-Samad were being treated as "slaves" by the "masters" at the statehouse. Hatch, who is a Democrat from Des Moines, has sent an email to not only his fellow legislators, but to all staff members in the Iowa House and Senate.
In the email, Hatch told his colleagues he had made "an inappropriate reference" that was "wrong and inexcusable." He promised it would not happen again. Hatch’s racially-charged statements were made in reference to a bill which would expand the state program that provides health care coverage to kids who aren’t currently covered.
Hatch had shepherded the bill through the senate and he was expressing outrage over changes a House committee is making to the bill.
Shortly after the senate convened today, Hatch spoke publicly about the incident. You may listen to his remarks by clicking on the audio link at the bottom of the page.
Read Hatch’s email below.
Dear colleagues and legislative staff,
I am writing to apologize for a comment I made last week. As legislators, our comments reflect on everyone, and last Wednesday I made an inappropriate reference. It was wrong and inexcusable. We are to reflect Iowa values, and Iowans are a tolerant group. Our values embrace diversity and legislators need to reflect our highest standards. Last Wednesday, I failed that standard and for that, I am sorry. It will never happen again.
If you want to discuss this with me, please seek me out.