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Illinois State Senator Won’t Apologize for Racial Remark

October 11, 1994

CHICAGO (AP) _ State Senate President James Philip said he won’t apologize for remarks he made last week that some minority state employees have a lesser work ethic than whites.

″I don’t think there is a need to apologize,″ the Republican senator from suburban Chicago said Monday. ″I reported what people who worked in the department said. I reported it as how it was told to me by employees.″

During a meeting last week with the editorial board of the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Philip spoke of minority workers at the Department of Children and Family Services.

″It’s probably a terrible thing to say, but I’ll say it,″ he said. ″Some of them do not have the work ethics that we have.″

Philip, a member of the state Senate since 1975 who is running for re- election in a staunchly Republican district, had cited a highly publicized case of 19 children found living earlier this year in a roach-infested apartment. He noted that a caseworker had been to the home twice but had done nothing after being refused entry. She was eventually fired.

″Of course, she was a minority,″ Philip said at the meeting. ″Her boss was a minority. ... They don’t tend to squeal on their fellow minorities.″

Other Republicans distanced themselves from Philip’s remarks. Democrats demanded he apologize. The union representing the department’s workers immediately called for Philip’s resignation.

Philip responded, ″If we had as much heat on this caseworker as they have had on me, then maybe something would have been done about those poor kids.″

Democrats have also called on Republican Gov. Jim Edgar to apologize for Philip’s remarks.

″I’ve said that I think it’s totally out of place what he said. I can’t apologize for Senator Philip,″ Edgar said Monday. He has said that he asked Philip to apologize.

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