KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has joined the chorus of voices calling for Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp’s resignation.
“Racial and discriminative language have no place in our society, and most especially when spoken by someone holding a public office,” Colyer said in a statement from his office. “The inappropriate remarks made by Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp are unacceptable and do not reflect the values of the county which he represents. As such, I call on him to step down as County Commissioner.”
Klemp, 80, made a comment about gap-toothed people being part of “the master race” while responding to a presentation from city planning consultant Triveece Penelton, a black woman, during Tuesday’s meeting of the Leavenworth Board of County Commissioners.
[Editor's note: Remark begins around the 1-hour, 35-minute mark in the above video.]
Klemp made the comments while acknowledging the gap in his teeth after Penelton presented a land-use study to the commission.
"I don’t want you to think I am picking on you because we are part of the master race,” Klemp said. “You have a gap in your teeth. We are part of the master race. Don’t you forget that.”
Klemp, who comments praising Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee have sparked controversy in the past, was appointed to fill another resignation on the board. His last day is Jan. 15, but many — including Klemp’s fellow commissioners, Leavenworth Mayor Mark Preisinger, and now Colyer — have called for him to step down immediately.
Klemp’s family also condemned the remarks in a statement that defended his character and community service.
The commission’s next meeting is at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Leavenworth County Courthouse.