A Kansas lawmaker who made racist statements about blacks and marijuana over the weekend and then apologized resigned his leadership positions in the Legislature on Tuesday.
Rep. Steve Alford, a Ulysses Republican, said in a statement that he was immediately resigning from his chairmanship of the House Children and Seniors Committee and as vice chair of the Child Welfare Task Force.
His announcement came after his remarks, made at a legislative coffee event on Saturday, drew widespread condemnation on Monday.
At the event he said African-Americans were predisposed to react worse to marijuana and that had played a role in the drug’s prohibition in the 1930s.
“One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, the African-Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off those drugs just because (of) their character makeup, their genetics, and that,” Alford said.
He apologized in a written statement Monday after initially defending himself and saying he was “about as far from being a racist as I can get.”
“I was wrong, I regret my comments, and I sincerely apologize to anyone I have hurt,” Alford said in his statement Monday.
Alford’s decision to give up his leadership positions followed questions to House Speaker Ron Ryckman and House Majority Leader Don Hineman over whether he would lose his positions. They didn’t answer that question on Monday but did disavow his comments.