Election 2014 News: Arizona GOP Candidates Distance Themselves From Sterilization Comments by Former State Senator Russell Pearce
Backlash has caused former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce to resign as the Arizona Republican Party's first vice chair on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 14, after he made controversial remarks on his weekly radio show, shaming those who receive Medicaid assistance.
Saturday, the evening prior, Pearce stated, "You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I'd do is get [for female recipients] Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations. Then, we'll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job."
Declarations that women receiving government assistance should be sterilized were directly followed by the suggestion that people who need help or assistance should ask that of their churches, families and communities but not the government, evidently seeing them as a strain on the nation's resources.
"I know there's people out there [who] need help, and my heart goes out to them, too. But you know what? That should never be a government role. That's a role for family, church, and community," Pearce said. "No cash for Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, you'd only get money for 15-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese and powdered milk -- all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want a steak or frozen pizza, then you'd have to get a job."
According to the Washington Post, Pearce claimed that those comments had been written by someone else, he simply "failed to attribute them to the author," and that mistake was taken and twisted by the media in order to hurt Republican candidates.
Nonetheless, numerous Republicans in Arizona criticized Pearce for his remarks, including nominees for secretary of state, governor and attorney general. Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Ducey tweeted, "I couldn't disagree more with Russell Pearce's deplorable comments. They have no place in our discourse."
Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director DJ Quinlan encouraged condemnation via a news release and later told The Huffington Post that Pearce's resignation was a "good thing" and that it was unfortunate that it took an embarrassment for Republican candidates to distance themselves from an individual who has a "whole history" of controversial statements.
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