Saturday, September 04, 2010

Reactions to Gerlach's Ethnic Statement

Quoted today in the Hill ("Indian-American candidates concerned about racial intolerance," by Shane D'Aprile), Congressman Jim Gerlach's campaign spokesman had this to say about this opponent, Dr. Manan Trivedi, combat veteran of the Iraq War:

"The only one who has played the race card here is him, by going to Indian-American groups to raise money," said Campbell.

Here are some reactions:

Manan Trivedi:
"These are hardworking American who pay their taxes and contribute to society. Congressman Gerlach's campaign is saying that somehow they aren't good enough to participate in our democracy. Like many Americans I am so proud of my heritage and grateful for all of the support I've received and believe absolutely no one, for any reason, should ever feel shut out of the democratic process."

Manan Trivedi is the Democratic nominee for Congress in Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District. He is a primary care physician, a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy, and an Iraq War veteran from Berks County.

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz:
"Like many others, I was appalled at the racially insensitive comment made by the Gerlach campaign. What is worse though, is that Congressman Gerlach has remained silent, neither refuting the statement or taking appropriate action regarding his staff.

"Jim Gerlach has clearly lost touch with our area if he thinks that these racially insensitive comments are going to help him win him this election. People rightfully should expect their Representatives to encourage greater participation of all Americans in the democratic process, as voters, volunteers, and supporters. Jim Gerlach should immediately refute his campaign's racially insensitive comments towards Indian Americans and take appropriate action regarding his staff."

-DCCC Press Secretary Ryan Rudominer
“It is outrageous for Jim Gerlach to say that raising money from any particular community is akin to playing the “race card.” Jim Gerlach’s decision to use this kind of rhetoric to attack Manan Trivedi represents the worst kind of politics. Jim Gerlach needs to immediately apologize for these racially insensitive sentiments.”

US Rep. Michael Honda:
"Congressman Gerlach must apologize for suggesting that political fundraising within an ethnic community is somehow illegitimate. Our great democracy promises many fundamental freedoms, not the least of which are the freedoms of speech and association, coupled with the right to equally participate in our electoral process. American citizens -- of all ethnicities, races, and creeds -- have the freedom to support those whom we believe will best represent us in the House of Representatives, in which I proudly serve as chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Asian Americans are currently underrepresented in Congress and I am honored to support Manan Trivedi. Manan's leadership in Congress would strengthen our democracy by making our leaders and policies more reflective of our nation's true diversity."

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Congressman Gerlach's campaign's statements are offensive to everyone, these are American citizens who want to play an active part in the democratic process and they support Manan Trivedi because they believe in his candidacy. Is it playing the race card when I fundraise in the Jewish community? Would he call it "playing the race card" when Italian-Americans give to Italian-American candidates, or Irish-Americans to Irish-American candidates? If this person were on my staff I would fire him and/or Congressman Gerlach should fire this person and/or Congressman Gerlach should apologize."

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