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Idaho lawmaker apologizes for 'sexist' remarks: 'I failed miserably'

"After hearing my remarks played back, I recognize how my remarks sounded derogatory or offensive and even sexist towards the mothers of this state."

BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho state representative issued an apology on the House floor of the statehouse Wednesday following statements that he made during debate on an education bill.

On Tuesday, while debating House Bill 226, Rep. Charlie Shepherd (R-Pollock) said "I don't think anybody does a better job than mothers in the home, and any bill that makes it easier or more convenient for mothers to come out of the home and let others raise their child, I don't think that's a good direction for us to be going."

House Bill 226 would allow Idaho to use $6 million in federal grants that would have made kindergarten more available and accessible for Idaho's children. The bill failed on a 34-36 vote.

On the House floor Wednesday morning, Shepherd apologized for his remarks.

"I have learned the hard way that misguided statements do not help solve anything," Shepherd said. "I sincerely apologize to any and all that I have offended and I will work hard to write any wrongs that I have done."

During his apology, Rep. Shepherd said he tried to compliment mothers "for being the best people at early childhood development."

He added that the intent of his statements was "to compliment mothers in every way possible."

"I stand before you now to admit that I failed miserably," he continued. "After hearing my remarks played back, I recognize how my remarks sounded derogatory or offensive and even sexist towards the mothers of this state. In no way, I in no way meant to insult, in no way meant to insinuate that mothers that work outside the home were at any fault in any way."

After watching himself make his remarks on The 208 on Tuesday night, Rep. Shepherd told KTVB that he blew it.

"My point was I was trying to give mothers as much credit as I could and I just completely and totally blew it," he said.

"I don't want to give the impression that I'm trying to defend what I said yesterday in any way. That being said, when you get up to speak on the floor of the house, it's very nerve racking and sometimes what you think you're saying and your mind is telling you to say, it comes out completely different," he said. "The point I was trying to make was lost."

Rep. Shepherd said he believes that early childhood education has value and he voted against the bill over concerns other legislators brought up about what kind of curriculum would be taught with the grant money.

"I would definitely correct that mistake and i owe it to the working mothers out there that I've offended and hurt with my careless statement," he added.

Read the full transcript of Rep. Shepherd's apology from the House floor below:

"Yesterday while debating a bill in front of this body, I attempted to compliment mothers of this state for being the best people at early childhood development. My intent was to compliment mothers in every way possible. I stand before you now to admit that I failed miserably. After hearing my remarks played back, I recognize how my remarks sounded derogatory or offensive and even sexist towards the mothers of this state. In no way, I in no way meant to insult, in no way meant to insinuate that mothers that work outside the home were at any fault in any way. I in no way think to fathers, the father has any less responsibility, or should play any less role than the mother in raising their children. Single working mothers are the strongest and most courageous people that I know. I witnessed the extraordinary abilities of professional mothers, every day. Just like the mothers in this body. I have the utmost respect and admiration for every one of them and the mothers in this state. Yesterday, I also made a statement that was narrow-minded and idealistic about how to solve the problem of childcare in our state. I have learned the hard way that misguided statements do not help solve anything. I sincerely apologize to any and all that I have offended and I will work hard to write any wrongs that I have done. I thank the body for yielding me this time, Mr. Speaker, I yield back."