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Kansas county commissioner tells black woman he's part of 'master race' during meeting

Officials urge him to resign
Posted: 8:05 PM, Nov 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-16 14:53:12Z

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —  Multiple officials in Leavenworth County, Kansas are urging a county commissioner to resign after the white commissioner told a black woman at a meeting that he was part of "the master race."

Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp made the comments at a meeting about a land-use study on Tuesday.

"I don’t want you to think I am picking on you because we are part of the master race. You have a gap in your teeth. We are part of the master race, don’t you forget that," Klemp said.  

“It affects all of Leavenworth. This has been such negative publicity. It affects us. It affects the city,” Leavenworth mayor Mark Preisinger said. “It’s a stain on our community and it has to be removed.” 

"I was shocked. I was in disbelief," fellow commissioner Robert Holland said. "He should resign. I don't care if he's got two days left, he should resign." 

Klemp did not respond to a formal request for an interview, though he implied off-camera that he meant the comment as a joke

This is not the first time the commissioner's remarks have sparked controversy. 

Last year, while discussing the county's holiday schedule, Klemp made controversial remarks about Robert E. Lee and George Washington.

"Not everybody does them all because we have Robert E. Lee...Oh God Robert E. Lee...wonderful part of history," Klemp said. 

"It bothers me that if we're going to have Martin Luther King Day, why don't we have a George Washington? I think George was a pretty important guy," he later added. 

Klemp was appointed as commissioner after Clyde Graeber resigned for health reasons.

Klemp's last day as commissioner is Jan. 15. 

"I'm ashamed of one of our commissioners and what he has done. We shouldn't be labeled as Leavenworth County, the racist county. That's the way I feel we are being labeled," Holland said.