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Richard Piatt reporting Utah's chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) says Sen. Chris Buttars should resign. The group's executive committee reached that conclusion after investigating a comment Buttars made on the Senate floor two days ago.
According to the NAACP, Tuesday's comment was simply the final straw. For years, they say, Buttars has been making what they call "bigoted" statements about African-Americans, gays and lesbians, and others and getting away with it.
Tuesday's comment was quick in length, yet explosive with impact. "Senator Stevenson, this baby is black, I'll tell ya. It's a dark, ugly thing," Buttars said on Tuesday.
Many people found that comment alone offensive, racist or bigoted. But Buttars has a history of such comments: referring to fellow Sen. Scott McCoy as "The Gay" one year, saying that Brown versus the Board of Education was "wrong to begin with" another time.
Now, a lot of people are saying enough is enough from this state senator. "It's come to a point where, how many times can someone apologize for making racist comments?" Utah resident Steve Calvert said.
Buttars did apologize Tuesday, and he is letting that apology continue to speak for itself today, refusing to talk to reporters.
"I apologize to anyone who took offense. I in no way meant that to be degrading in any way. I just got my mouth a little bit ahead of my brain in expressing how I felt. I apologize," Buttars told his fellow senators on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Jeanetta Williams, president of the local branch of the NAACP, said Buttars' comments were unacceptable, that she found his apology insincere and that he should stop serving as a public representative.
"We are not accepting your apology, we are not accepting your language and the things that you do and that you say. It's about time we, as a civil rights organization, in lieu of his past record, that we call for his resignation," Williams said.
That apology is generating bad feelings among others as well. "It was kind of like, oh you know, yeah right! ‘I'm so sorry, I think I've offended some people here,'" Calvert said.
Now, many people are looking to Senate leadership for action, but the Senate president says the power is really in the hands of those who put Buttars in office. "I really believe it's up to the individual senator and the people who elected him, and it's not my legal ability to do anything other than let the senator make his own decision," President John Valentine said.
There are a lot of people on Capitol Hill watching to see if this situation escalates, and that will depend in large part on how the public responds.