LEAVENWORTH COUNTY, KS (KCTV/AP) -- A white county official in Leavenworth has resigned under pressure after saying at a meeting that he belongs to "the master race."
Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp cited the master race — the Nazi ideology of Aryan supremacy — at a board meeting last Tuesday while responding to a presentation by a black official, Triveece Penelton, on road development options in Tonganoxie, just west of Kansas City.
Leavenworth County commissioners held a meeting Tuesday morning. Klemp was not in attendance. The county clerk read his resignation letter.
NEW: Here is a copy of the resignation letter sent by Mr. Klemp to Leavenworth County Commissioners. pic.twitter.com/RI6qVdjv4o— Caroline Sweeney (@CarolineKCTV5) November 20, 2018
For some people in Leavenworth County, Klemp’s resignation took too long.
“Some of the things he’s said in the past are worse than what he said at this time,” said Robert Holland, County Commissioner.
“I was hoping he would tender his resignation today,” said Doug Smith, County Commissioner.
Some think Klemp should have never given a resignation.
“I don’t think it was malicious on his side at all,” explained Glen Berry, Resident.
Klemp said he regretted his recent comment made during a committee meeting, and his comments were misinterpreted.
Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer, a Republican, said in a statement Saturday that the remark was unacceptable. He says: "Racial and discriminative language have no place in our society and most especially when spoken by someone holding public office."
Some members of the county commission also called on Klemp to resign.
“I think his comments could be construed as racial,” said Smith.
“To me, the words speak for themselves,” explained Holland.
Penelton issued the following statement on Tuesday:
On November 13, 2018, I presented the Leavenworth County Road 1 Land use Analysis to the Leavenworth Board of County Commissioner. The outcomes are the result of a nine-month, community planning process. In response, Commissioner Louis Klemp commented about my appearance and referenced the "master race" while doing so. His comments were unbelievably inappropriate.
According to news outlets, he has since commented that use of such phrasing was a joke. Global history and racial/ethnic concerns in the United States describe the tremendous damage use of such terminology and similar wording has caused.It is inexcusable. As a successful African American planner with 16 years of professional experience, I have been subjected to a wide range of tactless and at times covertly racist comments. However, no one's words have been more unthinking than Mr. Klemp's. In fact, his careless remarks have gone viral.
I am prayerful that our nation and the world will learn from this moment and recognize that respect for one another's history, culture, perspective, and impact is essential. Respecting one another could help us grow together rather than apart.