A Wisconsin Democratic state representative announced Thursday that he plans to attend the state Republican convention this weekend to hand out Ku Klux Klan hoods, which he described as “Republican party hats.”
The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Madison’s Rep. Brett Hulsey (D) is staging the move as part of his campaign for governor.
When asked if he is concerned that some people might find the hoods offensive, Hulsey said, “What I find offensive is Gov. Walker and the Republicans’ racist record. They’re the ones considering the resolution to leave the United States.”
State Democratic officials rushed to condemn Hulsey’s inflammatory rhetoric.
“We take serious issue with the policies pursued by Republicans that disproportionately affect communities of color, but this type of behavior has no place in the public dialogue,” said state Democratic Party chair Mike Tate in a statement.
Joe Fadness of the Wisconsin GOP said, “If true, Brett Hulsey’s actions amount to nothing more than a reprehensible, vile stunt and everyone should be outraged.”
Hulsey said that he conceived of the protest when Wisconsin Republicans announced that they plan to vote at this weekend’s convention on a resolution affirming the state’s right to secede from the U.S., the issue which sparked the U.S. Civil War.
In addition, said the Journal, Hulsey “takes issue with Republicans discontinuing record-keeping on racial profiling by police agencies, scaling back the income eligibility limits for Medicaid and making changes to voting policies that critics say could suppress minority turnout.”
Two Democratic challengers are vying this year to unseat Hulsey, who has had a contentious relationship with the state party. In 2010, the Journal reported, he was accused of falsely claiming to have been endorsed by his predecessor in the state House.
At the historic 2011 protests at the state Capitol, Hulsey was accused of grandstanding and attempting to hog the spotlight. He also faced charges of disorderly conduct in 2012 for throwing a child off an inflatable raft at Spring Harbor Beach in Madison on the shore of Lake Mendota. Hulsey was also accused of taking cell phone photos of the boy without his or his family’s consent.
A police report about the July 4, 2012 incident said that one witness described Hulsey’s actions as “creepy” and said that he had made park-goers nervous and uncomfortable in the past.
[image of Rep. Brett Hulsey via Twitter.com]