Speed Reads

Pen > Sword

Nevada speaker-elect steps aside after racist, homophobic writings revealed

On Nov. 4, Republicans won control of the Nevada Assembly for the first time since 1985, and three days later they selected two-term backbencher Ira Hansen as their speaker-designate.

On Sunday, after almost a week of revelations from his 13 years as a columnist for the Sparks Tribune and turns as talk radio host, Hansen said that he is withdrawing from the position, blaming a "carefully orchestrated attack to remove a conservative Republican from a major leadership role in state government," according to a letter obtained by Nevada journalist Jon Ralston.

Among other things, Hansen proudly keeps a confederate flag above his writing desk, recently asked why public health advocates don't seemed concerned that male "homosexual conduct shortens lives by 15 to 20 years," and seems to argue that the Clinton administration is responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. You can read about Hansen's paper trail at the Reno News & Review, Reno Gazette-Journal, and Las Vegas Review Journal. Ralston concludes that despite charges of political witch-hunting, "Hansen's own pen was mightier than any of the swords unsheathed by those who never wanted him there":

At some point, a story about man who used the words "simple-minded darkies," even just in an analogy, a man who equates homosexuality with bestiality and pederasty, a man who essentially thinks women should have babies and cook dinner, a man who believes there is no science to back up evolution.... at some point, that story transcends politics. [Ralston Reports]

Nevada Republicans haven't yet picked a new speaker-designate.