Colorado Legislator Brings Chicken To Poverty Hearing After Colleague’s Racist Chicken Comments

CREDIT: Eli Stokols, KDVR

Rep. Lori Saine (R-CO)

Rep. Lori Saine (R-CO)

Two weeks after Colorado State Senator Vicki Marble (R) came under fire for racially charged comments suggesting that the reason for poverty among certain minority groups was that they eat too much chicken and barbecue, a second Republican on the panel brought a box of Popeye’s chicken to the most recent Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force. After criticism from the state party chairman and communications director, Rep. Lori Saine (R) denied Thursday that the action was a “silent protest,” as had been widely reported.

On August 21, Marble claimed that those in the “black race” are more likely to have diabetes, but that African Americans in the South can’t help it because she has “never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south.” She also said that Mexicans gain weight when they come to the U.S. because “they change their diet” and stop eating fresh vegetables, ignoring recent data showing that Mexico has higher obesity rates than the United States.

Last week, Saine placed her open box of chicken on the table on the dais, in full view of the audience at the first hearing since the flap. A KDVR report cited an unnamed witness claiming Saine told Marble that the chicken was a “silent protest” of the flap that followed her earlier comments.

Asked by a reporter about the gesture and the “silent protest” comments, Saine snickered, said she was “having chicken for dinner,” and refused to make any other statement. Later that evening, she tweeted a photo of the chicken she claimed she and her daughter would be eating for dinner.

Colorado Republican Chairman Ryan Call blasted Saine’s actions as “insensitive and hurtful,” on Thursday evening and said they “do not represent the Colorado Republican party.” He demanded she apologize.

Instead, Saine responded Thursday that the reports were an “embellishment” and claimed “nobody could have possibly overheard” her making such a comment to Marble. Noting that she does “like chicken a lot,” Saine asked a reporter, “What should I be eating at the next session?”