Jon Jordan, News9.com
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Representative Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) is sparking outrage tonight over comments she made on the house floor Wednesday evening. The remarks came as the house debated to end affirmative action in state government.
Several of Kern's remarks were directed at minorities, particularly African Americans, saying the reason they don't make as much money is because many of them don't work as hard as whites.
"Is it just because they are black they are in prison or could it be they didn't want to work hard in school…I taught school for 20 years and I saw a lot of people of color who didn't want to work as hard, they wanted it given to them," Kern said.
Representative Mike Shelton (D-Oklahoma City) who is black took offense to Kern's comments saying they were racist and uncalled for.
Shelton said, "It was no place for that. At no time is it a place to put down any type of gender or race and that's what she did."
Shelton said the comments don't only make Kern and Republicans look bad but all Oklahomans. "I see Oklahoma trying to step up and be competitive with the rest of the nation, but I see the state legislature holding the state back."
After her comments referencing African Americans, Kern took issue with women. Kern said women don't make as much money as men because they choose not to work as hard. Kern stated, "women tend to think more about their family, wanting to be at home more, wanting to have a little more leisure time." She added, "Women like to be willing to have a moderate work life with plenty of time for spouse and children and other things like that."
Representative Emily Virgin (D-Norman) called Kern's comments shocking. Virgin says, "It took a lot of time for it to set in, I was shocked, I was really shocked."
When asked if Virgin thought Kern, who issued a statement of public apology saying, "I want to humbly apologize for my statements," was truly sorry, Virgin stated, "I can't get in her head. I hope she's sorry and I hope she realizes she was just plain wrong."
Shelton says if Kern was really sorry she would have clarified her comments when she made them. "I think it is damage control, I think she is receiving information from her leadership."
Now the Democratic Party along with several democrat lawmakers and the NAACP are asking for Kern to step down.
"On behalf of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, I ask Sally Kern to step down as a legislator. Yes, I believe her comments do not represent most of her constituents. And yes, I believe her comments are bad for business in Oklahoma. But mostly, her comments are outright bigoted and sexist, and someone with that mentality does not belong in our representative body," says Tom Goodman, the Chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.
Kern who has already issued an apology for her remarks says she will be making an additional apology on her website and Facebook.