Colorado Dems Condemn State Rep. Ron Hanks’ “Disgusting” Comments, Call on State GOP + House GOP Leadership to Join in Condemning

Colorado Dems Condemn State Rep. Ron Hanks’ “Disgusting” Comments, Call on State GOP + House GOP Leadership to Join in Condemning

Denver, CO – This afternoon, during a debate of a bipartisan bill to strengthen civics education in Colorado public schools, Republican State Representative Ron Hanks made shocking, flippant comments in his remarks about the 3/5s compromise.

The Colorado Democratic Party released the following statements in response:

Shenika Carter, Chair of the African Diaspora Initiative of the Colorado Democratic Party:

“To call the comments made by Mr. Hanks today disgusting and ignorant would be a gross understatement. For him to downplay the indisputable, historical fact that enslaved Black people were treated less a person’s worth both in law and in practice is offensive and beneath the dignity of our state legislature. Mr. Hanks needs to apologize immediately, and he needs to educate himself before he makes ignorant comments with such recklessness in the future.”

Halisi Vinson, Executive Director of the Colorado Democratic Party:

“I don’t know when Republicans thought it became appropriate to whitesplain the historical experience of Black people in our country, but it needs to stop. The fact that Representative Hanks thought it would be appropriate to make a ‘joke’ about lynching — especially at a time when we’re seeing a rise of racially motivated assaults on people of color across our country — is utterly despicable. The Colorado Republican Party, and Republican leadership in the State House, need to hold Representative Hanks accountable and immediately join us in condemning his disgusting comments. Condemning such blatantly racist rhetoric from our elected officials shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”

Morgan Carroll, Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party:

“From my time as a Colorado state representative to my time as Colorado Senate President, I can say these comments are inappropriate and just plain wrong. What I heard from Representative Hanks say on the floor of the State House this afternoon is an insult to the dignity of Coloradans and to the dignity of that chamber. He owes his colleagues, the people of Colorado, and all Black Americans a sincere apology for his ignorant and hurtful comments. Colorado Republicans should join us in immediately condemning these insulting comments and ‘jokes’ that Representative Hanks made today.”


Representative Hanks’ comments can be viewed here and a transcript can be read here:

Being called Mr. Lynch might be a good thing for what I’m about to say. No, just kidding.”

“Going back to the founding, and going back to the 3/5ths, and I heard the comments and I appreciate them, and I respect them, But the 3/5ths compromise of course was an effort by non-slave states to not, to try to reduce the amount of representation that the slave states had. It was not impugning anybody’s humanity. It was an effort to, uh…”

(inaudible comment) 

“Well it’s important to say. We had this conversation on one side, let’s talk about it on the other. Is this really racist to be talking about what the 3/5ths compromise was? I don’t think so, and I think it’s important. It’s part of the civics lesson here. It was brought up, and it merits discussion. That was an effort by the north to try to keep the south from having too much representation and push slavery beyond, and ultimately it worked out. It took a war to do it. It took 600,000 American lives. It took a lot of treasure. That’s the kind of thing that ought to be taught.

“We can talk, I guess, maybe this is a contentious issue it seems like. I didn’t think it was when I came up and said it but the hisses have proven me wrong.”

Representative Hanks took part in the January 6th insurrectionist mob at the U.S. Capitol. Prior to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ inauguration, Hanks sent out a fundraising email claiming that the mob was the work of “antifa” and that “foreign intelligence agencies” may prevent Biden and Harris from being sworn in.