Colorado state lawmaker says three-fifths compromise didn’t ‘impugn anyone’s humanity’

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — A Colorado lawmaker is receiving pushback for statements made on the House floor Thursday regarding the original intent of the three-fifths compromise.

State Rep. Ron Hanks was speaking on a bill to strengthen civics education. He was mistakenly referred to as Rep. Mike Lynch, a fellow lawmaker, before taking the stand. He began remarks by stating, “Being called Mr. Lynch might be a good thing for what I’m about to say. Just kidding.”

Hanks called the American system of government “the best system of government in the world” before getting into a counterpoint on the founders.

“I don’t think this is contentious but going back to the founding and going back to the three-fifths, I heard the comments and I appreciate them and respect them,” Hanks said. “But the three-fifths compromise of course was an effort by non-slave states to try to reduce the amount of representation that the slave states had. It was not impugning anyone’s humanity.”

After hearing pushback in the chamber, Hanks pushed forward.

“Is this really racist to be talking about what the three-fifths compromise was? I don’t think so,” Hanks said. “I think it’s important. It’s part of the civics lesson here. It was brought up and it merits discussion.”

This isn’t the first time Hanks has come under fire. Earlier this year, he drew criticism for being the sole Colorado lawmaker to participate in the march on the Capitol on Jan. 6, before a riot broke out.

You can watch the full debate on the house floor here.

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