LEAVENWORTH, KS (Meredith/KCTV) -- Officials in Leavenworth County, Kansas, are calling for appointed county commissioner Louis Klemp to step down after making controversial comments.
His remarks were directed to an African American woman at a public commissioner meeting. Commissioner Louis Klemp told the woman, “I don’t want to think I’m picking on you because we’re part of the master race, OK.”
Klemp is a white man that was not elected but rather appointed to his seat by the Republican committee.
Some are calling his comments “insensitive” and “racist”.
“You know you got a gap in your teeth, you’re the master race," Klemp said. “Don’t ever forget that.”
KCTV reports the woman who asked not be a part of the story, was at the meeting to present on behalf of a landscape and architectural firm.
Commissioner Bob Holland said the bizarre observations had nothing to do with the agenda.
“What’s this master race,” Bob Holland said. “None of us are master race. We’re all American and we’re all human beings.”
Holland condemned Klemp last year after he made comments that some say were bigoted as the commission voted to approve county holidays.
“Not everybody does them all because you know we have Robert E Lee,” Klemp said in November 2017. “Oh, God Robert E Lee wonderful part of history.”
He also made a comment about his family history and slaves.
“I’m going to be honest with you," Klemp said, “my great-great grandfather had a slave.”
He also said, some black people didn’t like former President Abe Lincoln because he didn’t go through with the emancipation.
“I think Martin Luther did some good things,” Klemp said.
Holland demanded his resignation.
“I think he is a racist myself. I do,” Holland said. “I think he owes an apology to that woman. I think he owes and apology to the whole commission and the county.
Leavenworth Mayor Mark Preisinger and city commissioners rebuked controversial remarks on Thursday at a special meeting.
“Such behavior and treatment has no place in the Leavenworth community, Preisinger said. “It is never justified and should never be allowed.”
More than a dozen concerned citizens, were at the special session including Leavenworth resident Troy Smith.
“I don’t want to judge his character I just say we can’t ignore what has been said,” Smith said. “It’s very much not appropriate for the atmosphere he serves in.”
Ken Bower, former mayor, told reporters that he doesn’t think Klemp is a racist, but the timing and place of the comment didn’t line up.
“I don’t really think that he’s deep down a racist. I don’t believe that,” Bower said.
Klemp was appointed to his seat by the republican committee after a former commissioner fell ill.
The City of Leavenworth has no authority to force Klemp out of office but they are calling for his resignation.
Commissioner Bob Holland has also called for Klemp’s resignation. His colleague, Commissioner Doug Smith did not return our call Thursday.