‘Chicken-gate’ racial flap continues in Colorado poverty committee

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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A Colorado state lawmaker brought a box of Popeye’s fried chicken into a committee meeting in “silent protest” of the uproar caused by another committee member who blamed poverty in the “black race” in part on genetics and diet.

Republican Sen. Vicki Marble drew strong rebukes and condemnation for stereotyping the eating habits of blacks and Mexicans during a meeting about poverty two weeks ago.

“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race,” Marble said during a meeting of the state’s Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force. “Sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up, diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup and you just can’t help it.”

“Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south,” she said. “I love it.”

She went on to say that Mexicans get fat when they come to the United States because they stop eating fresh vegetables.

Other lawmakers were quick to distance themselves from Marble, but Republican Rep. Lori Saine delivered the Popeye’s to Marble during Wednesday’s meeting and was overheard telling her it was in “silent protest” of the outrage, according to Denver’s Fox31.

Reporter Justin Joseph then tried to get a comment from Saine, who laughed and said, “I’m having chicken for dinner. Would you like a [press conference] at my house?”

Undeterred, Joseph and a Fox31 cameraman followed Saine throughout the state capitol building as she walked in circles, got in an elevator and eventually left the building.

“I’ve made my statement,” she said several times.

Marble told the Joseph she had “no idea” what he was talking about when asked to comment.

Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields, a black lawmaker who blasted Marble’s original comments soon after she made them, told the station she wasn’t surprised by Saine’s actions.

“It’s just the same people showing their true character,” she said.

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