The congressional race in Ohio’s second district is shaping up to be an odd one. And it’s not just because one Democratic candidate is a self-described “Reagan conservative” and another starred recently on “The Apprentice.”
With the Democratic primary just days away, state and local party leaders are ripping into David Krikorian, one of the hopefuls to challenge GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt in November, for disparaging remarks he’s made recently about his chief primary opponent, Surya Yalamanchili.
According to accounts given to local politicians, Krikorian has appeared at campaign events to ridicule Yalamanchili, an American of Indian descent, by dramatically pronouncing his name to emphasize its foreign nature.
“Now do you really think that a guy with a name like that has a chance of ever being elected?” Krikorian allegedly said to members of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Clermont County.
The comments — which Krikorian denies – drew a quick response from local Democratic leaders, who shot off a letter to Krikorian Wednesday calling his behavior “deeply disturbing.”
“Your comments on Surya’s name are are best insensitive and worse appear racist,” wrote Timothy M. Burke and David Lane, the Democratic chairmen in Hamilton and Clermont counties, respectively. “It is deeply disturbing to us that you would use his name, which is obviously derived from his ethnic heritage, against him in a denigrating manner, especially considering how strongly you value and celebrate your own heritage.”
They added: “We will be voting for Surya next week, just as 18 months ago we were delighted to vote for someone else with an unusual name — Barack Obama.”
That isn’t all. Chris Redfern, chairman of Ohio’s Democratic Party, also caught wind of Krikorian’s alleged comments, and penned his own letter of disgust, calling Krikorian’s words “destructive.”
“We are a Party that proudly values diversity and inclusiveness,” Redfern wrote. “Your words fall short of these ideals.”
Yalamanchili, who recently starred on “The Apprentice,” hinted this week that he’s more concerned about what the comments say about Krikorian’s take on voter attitudes around Cincinnati than he is personally offended. “What’s most disappointing is that they seem to assume a certain level of racism on the part of the people of the 2nd district,” he told local media.
It’s not the only reason the Democrats are attacking Krikorian in the lead up to Tuesday’s primary. The Ohio businessman, while running for the same seat as an Independent in 2008, referred to himself as a “Reagan conservative,” a distinction that doesn’t exactly win points among the Democratic faithful. And during a primary debate last month, Krikorian attacked the notion that government workers should have the right to organize under unions, saying that “it puts the public at a disadvantage.”
Still, it’s the more recent charges of denigrating Yalamanchili’s heritage that are attracting most of the attention this week. And many say there’s good reason for that.
“They aren’t borderline racist remarks,” Cliff Schecter, an Ohio-based political consultant who is not involved in this race, told TWI Thursday. ”They are racist remarks.”
The episode has even attracted attention on Capitol Hill, with Schmidt herself condemning Krikorian’s remarks in an April 26 letter to the Democratic hopeful.
“Your remarks … were offensive to all that find even the hint of racism appalling,” Schmidt wrote. “You owe Mr. Yalamanchili and the Indian-American community an apology. Though I doubt one is forthcoming given your history.”
Krikorian, for his part, has denied the charges, and says he’ll be issuing a longer statement today.
EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management
At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from
E-Verify Mandate Begins Today
The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm
EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.
EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’
In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work
EPA Analysis Says Climate Bill’s Cost for Households Would Be ‘Modest’
All the attention on the energy front today is going to the BP spill, but the Environmental Protection Agency quietly released its long-anticipated analysis of
EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules
The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.
EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria
The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards
EPA: BP Has 24 Hours to Find a Less Toxic Chemical Dispersant
Thought the massive quantities of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico were the only major threat to the country’s southeast coastal waters right now? Think
EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some