BOISE -- Idaho congressman and gubernatorial hopeful Raul Labrador has weighed in on the deadly violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., three days after a woman was killed and more than a dozen injured when a car plowed into a group of protestors.
"I have not issued a statement or made a comment about the events in Charlottesville because it’s not my style on these issues — and my constituents know that," Labrador said. "Moreover, I do not make it a habit to insert myself into national tragedies because I do not feel these moments should be about me or about politics."
“But since some seem intent on pulling me into their discussion, I will say this: I do not discuss these issues publicly because they are very personal for me. I suspect I am the only member of the delegation or statewide political figure who knows what it is like to be judged, to be overlooked, to be pushed aside solely due to how I look, how I sound or what I believe. It is one of the main reasons I entered public service. I want to make sure every Idahoan has what I had: an opportunity to succeed regardless of their station in life at birth."
"I detest white supremacy as much as I detest black nationalism and other forms of identity politics. As a public servant, as a man of faith and as an American I abhor and condemn the violence, racism and bigotry we saw in Charlottesville. Racism and bigotry in all of their forms are abhorrent. In fact, I don’t know of an Idahoan who thinks otherwise. I also don’t know any Idahoans who believe that trite media statements will solve this nation’s problems or solve Idaho’s problems."
“The people of Idaho know me for my work and my actions. I am proud to say that the vast majority of Idahoans have always judged me by the content of my character rather than the color of my skin. That is a testament to the people of Idaho and the values we hold dear. We must stop dividing our nation and our people along ethnic, racial, social and political lines.”
Idaho representatives Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Mike Simpson both issued statements Sunday, the day after the attack, condemning white supremacy. Sen. Jim Risch followed suit Monday.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter also spoke out against the violence, pointing to Idaho's own history of expelling white supremacists from the former Aryan Nations headquarters in North Idaho.
"Idaho joins Charlottesville and the world in condemning white-supremacist violence," he wrote. "We’ve experienced those problems in Idaho, but we dealt with them in the right way and we’re not going to tolerate it again. Hate groups just aren’t welcome here."
Labrador's statement came after Otter urged him to speak out in comments to the Spokesman-Review, and praised other members of the delegation for doing so.
The car attack killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injures 19 others. James Alex Fields Jr. is facing charges of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and hit and run.