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Republican official calls for Chambers' expulsion
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Republican official calls for Chambers' expulsion

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The Nebraska Republican Party on Tuesday called for the expulsion of Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers for remarks he made during a debate Monday about Sen. Julie Slama of Peru.

Republican Party Executive Director Ryan Hamilton said the statements by Chambers were disgusting and clearly out of bounds.

"He owes Senator Slama an apology, as does every senator who yielded time so he could continue his vile, misogynistic rant against Senator Slama. He should be censured and expelled immediately — there ought to be no place in Nebraska’s Legislature for this abhorrent language and mistreatment.”

In addition to responding to Chambers on the floor Monday, Slama posted about it on Facebook, saying his comments were vile and disgusting. 

Former state Sen. Theresa Thibodeau, a Republican, sent a news release saying "Chambers' attack on one of the most prominent female members of the Legislature shows how far our politics has fallen. To suggest that women can only be successful based on performing sexual behaviors is sexist and an insult to women everywhere."

The Nebraska Federation of Young Republicans said in a news release Chambers' "attacks were baseless, cowardly and cannot be tolerated in civil discourse.

"Senator Julie Slama is not only a great representative for her district," the organization said, "but she is also a beacon of leadership to our members, particularly young women, across this state. Julie embodies that no matter a person’s age or previous political experience, they can get involved, effectuate change, and be a true conservative leader for our state." 

Chambers, in his speeches Monday, was responding to a flyer sent out in District 1 on Slama's behalf that said her opponent, Janet Palmtag, also a Republican, "sides with Lincoln liberals, atheists and radical extremists." There are photos of Chambers and Palmtag on the flyer put side by side.

Chambers and others have said they believe the flyer to be racist. Some senators on Monday said Slama should have apologized for the flyer, which Gov. Pete Ricketts has said was appropriate. But Chambers said it was Palmtag who deserved the apology from Slama.   

"Am I looking for an apology? Certainly not," Chambers said. "I'm a grown man. I've had worse things than that done toward and said to me."

Palmtag did not respond to calls for comment. 

This is the full context of the Monday statements in question: 

Chambers: "I feel sorry for that lady down there (Palmtag) among those cowardly racists. ... I had read nothing, heard nothing, about a scandalizing woman down there who's suddenly running for office. And then these low-down people that I've named, Senator Slama, Governor Ricketts, and all the Republicans have decided to try to destroy that woman's reputation, destroy her by using my name.

"I feel an obligation, how they will take to show how she and I are in league with each other, to lift her up in the minds of the people who live down there with her, who have known her, who have never, to my way of thinking and understanding, since we're playing dirty, said that she was given favors because favors of a fleshy nature were expected in return. 

"Now I don't know if Senator Slama has heard what they are saying about her and why the governor picked a very young person with no life experiences. I didn't know they had traveled together. How would I know that if white people didn't tell me? They want to play dirty; well, let's get dirt out here on everybody.

"I feel more protective toward my daughter than some white men feel toward theirs. My daughter could not be put in a position where certain salacious things were suggested about her because of some older white man who was supposed to symbolize power and why he's putting her in that position when she has no credentials to justify it. Only one thing. And that's what's being said about Senator Slama. She knows it. You all know it around here because some of you have told me, but I'm not going to out you."

At another point in the afternoon, Chambers was talking about how Andrew Jackson was a slaveholder and treacherous toward "Black men who saved his bacon at the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812." Jackson promised Black men that if they would fight on the side of America they would be free, he said. 

"Ha. Ha. Ha," Chambers said. "The lying, sniveling cowardly treacherous rat.

"You all see him as a hero. I don't. Suppose I had raped white women. Suppose I enslaved Senator Slama and used her the way that I wanted to? You think Thomas Jefferson was a great man? Do you realize he had a room in Monticello for Sally Hemings? And he had six children by that woman, in the house where his wife lived?

"He was a mere man, and he was not a good man. How can a man be good if he's a rapist? A child molester? A pedophile? And you all deify him and I'm supposed to go along with it?" 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSLegislature

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