Despite a call for his resignation by the head of the NAACP's Salt Lake Branch because of a statement seen as racist, Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, said Thursday "this issue is done as far as I'm concerned."
Buttars told the Deseret Morning News that, "I stand by my statement." Asked if that meant he was not going to consider resigning, he said, "I stand by my apology. That's it. This issue is done as far as I'm concerned."
He apologized for the statement, made Tuesday during Senate debate on a bill dealing with school districts sharing revenues. Buttars used the word black to negatively describe the "baby" being divided, saying, "This baby is black, I'll tell you. This is a dark and ugly thing."
Buttars' first said he was sorry for the statement after Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem, announced later Tuesday that there had been a breach of decorum and the senator involved wanted to apologize.
Valentine on Thursday said it was up to Buttars to decide whether to resign and declined to discuss his own opinion on the issue. "There is no futher action under the rules that can be taken," Valentine said.
On Wednesday, Buttars was absent from the Senate floor but posted a written statement to the Senate majority's Web site, www.senatesite.com/blog, calling what he'd said "a dreadful choice of words and I recognize that my words were damaging."
Jeanetta Williams, president of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Wednesday the organization was calling on Buttars to resign.
Williams said she was "appalled by his language" and that he had made comments seen as racist in the past. In August 2006, Buttars called the landmark decision that desegregated public schools, Brown v. Board of Education, "wrong to begin with" in a radio interview.