DENVER (KDVR) – A Colorado state representative under fire for referring to a colleague as “Buckwheat” issued an apology Thursday on the House floor.
Rep. Richard Holtorf, who represents a stretch of eastern Colorado from Washington to Las Animas Counties and has been scrutinized for his comments before, said he sees his colleagues as “my brothers and sisters, all created by God and all equal.”
“The institution of the Colorado House of Representatives demands the highest level of decorum,” said Holtorf, a Republican. “It is my desire to do everything in my power to elevate the discussions that matter to the people of all our districts in Colorado. I think we can all do better in understanding one another’s perspectives. And for myself, it starts with me.”
In closing, Holtorf told his colleagues, “You all have my sincerest apologies.”
The exchange in question happened during a Wednesday House session.
Holtorf was talking about military rules of engagement and the law of proportionality, when he apparently responded to another legislator and said, “I’m getting there. Don’t worry Buckwheat. I’m getting there.”
A moment later Holtorf said, “That’s an endearing term, by the way.”
Democratic House Speaker Alec Garnett followed Holtorf’s Thursday comments with a speech stressing the importance of maintaining respect among the body.
“Yesterday, the decorum of this institution was grossly breached,” Garnett said. “I’m sorry to say this was not the first time this session, but I’m speaking today in hopes of making it the last. I’m here to make it crystal clear: So long as I’m speaker, discriminatory remarks, whether intentionally launched or carelessly said, have absolutely no place in this house.”
The speaker said he had an hour-long conversation with Holtorf, who “agreed to do (his) part to reset the decorum of this institution.”
You can watch Holtorf’s and Garnett’s full remarks in the video player above.