Mississippi State Rep. Gene Alday, a Republican, apologized Tuesday for racist comments he made about blacks in his town during a recent interview with the Clarion Ledger.
The former mayor of Walls said he was "deeply sorry" for offensive comments he made in Sunday's Clarion Ledger to reporter Jerry Mitchell when asked about educational funding. He also insisted that he was not racist, despite saying that all blacks in his town are on welfare.
"But I am deeply sorry for my recent statements and I was wrong to say what I did, and there is no excuse for my behavior," said Representative Alday on the House Floor yesterday. "The statements may have hurt people, but I'm so sorry; I made a great mistake and I appreciate each and every one of you."
The lawmaker told The Clarion-Ledger that he was against increased public funding for education and while attempting to explain his stance, he said he came "from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call 'welfare crazy checks.' They don't work."
Mitchell told MS News Now, "He said all blacks in his town, as he put it, were getting welfare crazy checks."
Alday said that his comments were supposed to be off-the-record and accused Mitchell of taking him out of context.
"The interview, he just took me out of context," Alday said. "He asked for one thing and started asking another thing."
In addition to the bizarre welfare remarks, Alday recalled once having to go to the emergency room for pain and claimed he "laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots," according to the Jackson newspaper.
"I am definitely not a racist, at all," Alday insisted. "Because, I mean, I get along with everybody. And I've spent a lot of time helping people."
Both Democrats and Republicans wasted no time condemning Alday's comments.
"The Republican leadership should take responsibility for the philosophical and ideological platform of its members, including messages that are reprehensible and divisive," said state Rep. Chuck Espy, D-Clarksdale. "We should lambaste Alday and also check those whom allow him the opportunity to speak."
"I condemn the comments recently made by Rep. Gene Alday," Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn told AP. "They do not reflect the views of the Republican Party, nor of the leadership of the House of Representatives."
Alday ignored calls for his resignation and plans to seek re-election in November.
"I'm not a bad person, and that makes me look like an evil person," Alday said Monday. "I didn't do anything wrong. The guy made me look like a fool."