Republican County Commissioner Who Used Racist Expression 'Nigger-Rigging' During Official Meeting Says He Isn't a Racist Because He Has a Black Friend

Another day, another Republican official uses a racist term "from their youth" that hasn't been in use for decades.

County Commissioner Jim Gile, 68, of Saline County, Kansas, was in a study session with his fellow commissioners when the subject of hiring an architect to design the repairs for the county's Road and Bridge Department building came up.

Gile, a first-term commissioner who started serving in January, told the county that he preferred to hire an architect over having someone "nigger-rigging it."

The Salina Journal reports on what happened next:

His comment brought laughter from others in the room. Salinan Ray Hruska, who attends most commission meetings and study sessions, asked Gile what he said.

"Afro-Americanized," Gile replied.

"He's like that congressman from Alaska," Commission Chairman Randy Duncan can be heard to say of Gile's comment.

Duncan was referring to Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, who in a recent radio interview called Latino ranch workers at his father's farm "wetbacks."

And just like Rep. Young, Gile too later blamed his "bad choice of words" on having "grown up" around the term.

"I am not a prejudiced person," Gile said in his apology. "I have built Habitat homes for colored people."

He added that he has a close black friend "whom he regards as a sister."

Gile's bumbling attempt at setting the record straight might not be enough to keep calls for his resignation at bay.

Reached for comment by the Huffington Post, State Rep. J.R. Claeys, a Republican who represents Salina (Saline County's county seat), called out the County Commissioners for allowing the use of a term that is obviously discriminatory.

I think every citizen in our county should take a long, hard look at every individual in that room who allowed those comments to slide without immediately correcting and repudiating, not one, but multiple comments that are absolutely unacceptable in private, let alone a public meeting.

[photo via SalinaTV]