You are hereColumbia Tribune: Criticism lingers over Rex Sinquefield's KKK remark

Columbia Tribune: Criticism lingers over Rex Sinquefield's KKK remark


-By Rudi Keller

February 13, 2012- Opponents of conservative education proposals want politicians who took Rex Sinquefield’s campaign donations to return the money after a lecture in which Sinquefield seemed to embrace the idea that public schools were created by the Ku Klux Klan.

Sinquefield apologized for his remarks but not before foes jumped on the statement.

Rep. Mary Still, D-Columbia, called on Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, to return a $5,001 contribution he received from Sinquefield in 2010. Still intends to challenge Schaefer for the 19th District Senate seat.

Sinquefield “represents a right-wing agenda that does not recognize the value of our public schools,” Still said. “I believe Kurt Schaefer, by aligning himself with that right-wing agenda, is ignoring and not being respectful of the challenges of the outstanding work of our public school teachers.”

Schaefer said the contribution was unsolicited and that he does not intend to return it.

“I think that is ridiculous,” he said. “If Mary would focus on passing legislation instead of gotcha politics, she would get her first bill passed in her time in the General Assembly.”

At Lindenwood College, Sinquefield paraphrased a column from the Linn Unterrified Democrat newspaper that “starts off, something like this, he said a long time ago, decades ago, the Ku Klux Klan got together and said how can we really hurt the African-American children permanently? How can we ruin their lives? And what they designed was the public school system.”

Sinquefield issued his apology Friday. “I apologize for my reference to a quote from Ralph Voss of the Unterrified Democrat. … It is my sincere hope that this does not distract us from the important mission of helping all children access a high-quality education.”

Since Jan. 1, 2008, Sinquefield has contributed almost $5 million to candidates or political committees that support candidates. He has spent another $13.5 million on ballot issues. For education, Sinquefield pushes expanded use of charter schools and vouchers to allow students to attend private schools. He also advocates for the repeal of laws giving teachers a form of tenure in their districts.

The Missouri School Boards’ Association issued a called for politicians who took donations from Sinquefield to return them.

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