Texas lawmaker under fire for comment

April 10, 2009 3:08:28 PM PDT
A Texas state representative is under fire after suggesting earlier this week that voters of Asian descent should adopt names that are "easier for Americans to deal with" in order to help with identification problems. Now some Asian-American community leaders are calling on Representative Betty Brown to apologize. They hear an apology coming, but have yet to see or hear it.

And they're not the only ones who want that apology. New York city Councilman John C. Liu is also demanding one from Brown. He's said Brown should apologize or resign.

At issue are the statements Brown made Tuesday during a House elections committee hearing on proposed voter ID legislation, in which Brown told a representative of the organization of Chinese-Americans that he and his "citizens" should adopt names that would be more readily dealt with here.

"The statements that she made treat us as if were not part of this community, as if we're not American citizens, like we're second class," said Victoria Ma with the Organization of Chinese Americans. "The entire Asian-American community is highly offended and we expect that her office, she personally, as well as her office will issue a formal apology publicly to the entire Asian-American community."

Brown, a Republican from Terrell, says her statements were not racially motivated, but she admits she did not choose her words very well. She says she called Ramey Ko, the representative from the Organization of Chinese-Americans, to apologize personally, but claims she hasn't been able to get hold of him.

Eyewitness News has learned the apology is expected to come through Representative Martha Wong's office. When we contacted Representative Wong's office, the person who answered had no comment.

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