CHICAGO — Illinois House Democrats are taking aim at Republican lawmaker Amy Grant, accusing her of “racist and homophobic” statements Monday.
In audio recorded during a political fundraising call, Grant discusses her Democratic opponent Ken Mejia-Beal, and appears to say: “he’s just another one of the Cook County people – that’s all you’re going to vote for is a Cook County, another Black Caucus.”
Apparently speaking about Mejia-Beal in another clip, Grant says: “I kind of feel that he’s afraid of the reaction that people might give him not because he’s black but because of the way he talks. He’s all LGBTQ.”
“Let’s just be real clear about a couple of things, that no one should be immediately discounted to represent their district simply based on the color of their skin or who they love,” Rep. Will Davis (D-Hazel Crest) said after the clips were released.
Grant, who represents suburban Wheaton, posted a response to social media Monday morning saying: “I deeply regret the comments I made about Ken Mejia-Beal, and reached out to apologize to him this morning. These comments do not reflect my heart or my faith.”
Mejia-Beal said he does not accept Grant’s apology, and addressed her statement:
“Representative Grant makes it clear that she sees only the color of my skin and my sexual orientation, and that in her mind disqualifies me as a leader and even disqualifies me as a member of our community,” Mejia-Beal said.
Mejia-Beal said Grant’s statement did not address the comments as insulting to every member of the community.
In releasing the audio clips, Democratic lawmakers said they don’t know exactly when the call was recorded and did not release the entire unedited conversation. Another clip suggests Grant knew she was being recorded.
“We have a sitting Senator using racist and homophobic pitch to raise money to help her get elected,” said Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch (D-Westchester).
The attack by Democrats comes as the party’s state leader House Speaker Michael Madigan remains under suspicion for his role in the ComEd scandal.
A special House committee investigating the matter requested testimony from ComEd executives and Madigan himself, with the next hearing scheduled for September 29.
Democrats insist this recording is not an effort to divert attention.
“It has absolutely nothing to do with the other issue,” Welch said.
The group of Democrats pushing this issue wants House GOP leaders to weigh in on the clip as well.