Vermont Lawmaker Causes Offense With Race Comments

May 2, 2014

Credit WAMC/Pat Bradley

Some Vermont lawmakers are taking offense at comments made by one of their colleagues regarding African-Americans moving into the Rutland area.

Republican Representative Doug Gage of Rutland, during a House debate on Thursday, quoted someone he said was an African-American neighbor as saying he felt he was being given a bad reputation by some of the new arrivals.

Gage quoted the man — whom he later said he couldn't name — as saying many African-Americans moving into the area were drug dealers and couch surfers.

One legislator — Democratic Representative Kate Webb of Shelburne — called the comments embarrassing to listen to. The lone black member of the House, Representative Kevin Christie of Hartford, called it frustrating to hear old biases coming out.

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