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Rep. Ingram issues statement on Senate Health Committee Chair Appointment

Says Sen. Steve Huffman is unfit to serve as Senate Health Committee Chair after racist Jim-Crowe era comments
January 20, 2021
Democratic Newsroom

State Rep. Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati) today expressed concern and disdain for the recent appointment of state Sen. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) to serve as committee chair for the Senate Health committee. 

“The racist and problematic remarks from Sen. Huffman during a Senate hearing to declare racism a public health crisis last summer illustrates he is unfit to chair such an important committee that directly affects the lives of Black Ohioans, especially at a time when COVID-19 is disproportionately hospitalizing and killing the Black community.

On June 9, 2020, during an Ohio Senate Health and Human Services committee hearing concerning racism as a public health crisis, Sen. Huffman asked, ‘Could it be that the African American, or the colored community, does not wash their hands as much as other groups?’ in regards to COVID-19 disproportionately affecting Black individuals. The comment garnered national media attention for its overt racism.

The word ‘colored’ is associated with segregation and Jim Crow laws and is almost universally considered offensive. Additionally, the unfounded idea that ‘Black people are dirty’ has long been used as a racist stereotype in the United States to justify centuries of white superiority and Black oppression.

Sen. Huffman has shown he is unable to view the health concerns of Black Ohioans in an unbiased and fact-based manner, therefore leaving him unqualified to serve as committee chair. The senator was fired from his job as an emergency room physician due to these racist comments. Serving as chair would give the senator the ability to decide which bills make it to the floor and potentially codify racial prejudice into law. We cannot allow this to happen, and this appointment should be rescinded immediately.”