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The Latest: Senator clarifies comments about sexism, racism

June 26, 2019

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Latest on a senators accusations of racism and sexism in the Senate (all times local):

12:50 p.m.

Senator Mona Das says that her fellow Democrats in the chamber have never said anything overtly sexist or racist, and she says that her recent comments to a chamber of commerce audience were referencing coded language that she hears everywhere, including the caucus room.

“The caucus room doesn’t close and horrible hate speech doesn’t come out of folks’ mouths,” she said Wednesday. She said she was talking directly about the use of terms like “those people” and other phrases that distance those in diverse groups.

Das’ comments, first reported by The Kent Reporter, came during a legislative forum before a Kent Chamber of Commerce audience last week. Das, whose family moved to the U.S. from India when she was an infant, told the crowd that that she experienced “hate, sexism, racism and misogyny” when the caucus room door closed.

12:00 p.m.

Sen. Mona Das accused fellow Democratic senators of sexism and racism in closed-door caucus meetings during this year’s legislative session.

Das’ comments, first reported by The Kent Reporter, came during a legislative forum before a Kent Chamber of Commerce audience last week. Das, whose family moved to the U.S. from India when she was an infant, told the crowd that that she experienced “hate, sexism, racism and misogyny” when the caucus room door closed.

In a Facebook post responding to the article, Das accused the newspaper of mischaracterizing her words and wrote that she was not singling out the Senate when discussing her concerns about structural issues and implied bias.

But video of her comments, posted on the chamber’s Facebook page, shows she was not misquoted. Senate Democratic leadership and Das did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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