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Feb 23, 2010 9:39 AM

Activists fire back at Tom Horne for comment over Dolores Huerta

TUCSON - State Superintendent Tom Horne is under fire for a comment he made about Hispanic icon Dolores Huerta during a House Education Committee meeting.

"She was a former girlfriend of Cesar Chavez," Horne said Wednesday, referring to Huerta.

That comment made by Horne before the House Education Committee now has some activists firing back.

"As a Latina, I was extremely offended. Delores has been an icon, she has been a role model, she has been an inspiration to a lot of people like myself," said one Arizona democrat.

Dolores Huerta is best known for co-founding United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez. The Arizona Democratic party says she was his sister-in-law. Huerta came under fire in 2006 after saying, "Republicans hate Latinos," in an assembly at Tucson High School.

That comment is what Horne says sparked his support of a bill banning any public classes that promote hatred against a specific race. It passed unanimously.

"Do you defend telling kids in a mandatory high school assembly that Republicans hate Latinos? Tell me whether you defend it, yes or no," Horne argued with activist Ruben Gallego.

The two never reached an agreement. Horne says he meant no offense by the comment, but refused to apologize. It is a decision that has some still upset over what they call a degrading remark.

"This is not a political game. This is outrage because he is insulting our community. This is not about politics, this is about respect," said another activist.

This is an excerpt of the statement released by Huerta about the matter:

"Horne's sexist statement diminishes the work of all women, be they professionals, activists of homemakers like Helen Chavez who is Cesar Chavez' widow."

Republican Tom Horne has announced his campaign for Attorney General. He says Huerta should not be allowed to speak at any Arizona public school assemblies.


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