Lawmaker needs to offer apology to citizen, state

Published 12:25 am Tuesday, March 22, 2016

If you find yourself trying to understand the nation’s collective intense disgust for establishment politicians in the world, look no further than the snarky response from Mississippi Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona.

In responding to a citizen — albeit not one living in his district — who had shared her concerns over a tax cut under consideration in the Legislature, the freshman representative wrote to her that he “could care less” about her opinion.

Then he suggested that since she was originally from a different state that there were “a rather large number of like-minded citizens in Illinois that would love to see you return.”

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Clearly Rep. Oliver would fail the Southern charm test and wasn’t paying attention in state mandated Mississippi history classes when the teacher discussed the state’s moniker as being the “Hospitality State.”

Oliver’s small-minded response is exactly the kind of arrogant, ethnocentric belief — that native Mississippians’ values are better than transplants — that keeps our state down.

Mississippi’s lawmakers should be held to a higher standard of behavior. Clearly Mr. Oliver and his ilk firmly believe they’re better than the lowly Mississippians they represent.

We hope Oliver will see the error of his ways and offer an apology not only to the citizen who wrote him in the first place, but also to all Mississippians.

Such blind ignorance does harm to the state’s reputation and is a poor reflection on our representative leaders.