FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky State Representative Savannah Maddox says she's been singled out by Democrats because her voice has resonated with Kentuckians who are struggling and upset with the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, Kentucky House Democratic leadership held a news conference to call for Rep. Maddox to be formally censured by House Republicans. They stood next to posters that featured tweets written by Representative Maddox in 2014 and 2015, where she made comments about Muslims, Jews, and President Obama.
"Since Sunday night, tweets from Representative Maddox have been circulating on social media that are racist, homophobic, antisemitic, and generally hateful toward any group that doesn't look like her," Rep. Jenkins said.
In speaking at a previous rally where members of the 3 Percenters were present, Rep. Jenkins said Rep. Maddox also played a role in the Sunday rally where members of the right-wing group hanged Governor Beshear in effigy.
"Enough is enough. I call on Representative Maddox to renounce her harmful words of hate and to apologize for her role in this disgraceful display of intolerance that has been broadcast across the nation," Rep. Jenkins said.
A censure would be a formal reprimand of Rep. Maddox's comments, Rep. Jenkins said, and allow her to apologize.
The Kentucky Democratic Party has called for Rep. Maddox to resign.
Rep. Maddox called this absurd and said Democrats are attempting to deflect criticism from themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think that the press conference itself and everything that they're trying to endeavor is part of a concerted effort to shift blame onto myself and other legislators who have stood behind Kentuckians who are hurting."
In a statement, she said Kentuckians are upset with the state of the economy after Governor Beshear's orders temporarily closed many businesses.
"Kentucky ranks #1 in unemployment in the nation- with 40% of our workforce out of a job." the statement reads.
Rep. Maddox said she did not attend Sunday's rally, and she stands "in unison with the House Majority Caucus in condemning all acts of hatred in the context of political discourse."
When asked if she was apologetic for the tweets shown at the news conference, Maddox said, "I think that there is always room for personal growth and in reflecting in some of the tweets that I made as a private citizen, although I understand that they are protected by our first amendment right to free speech, they're not reflective of the standards that I've sought to uphold as a public servant and I certainly never intended to cause any type of hard feelings for any member of a community that they might affect."
A censure of Rep. Maddox, Rep. Jenkins said, would help to restore a feeling of respect between House Republicans and Democrats.
"Messages like these posted on social media make it difficult for our caucus to feel respected, and respect is necessary for us to work together."
Rep. Maddox said it would be important for the two parties to work together to help the commonwealth recover from the pandemic.