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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

July 16, 2012 at 4:44 PM

McKenna decries staffer’s old tweets about Asians, the elderly

Gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna said Monday afternoon that a pair of  months-old tweets sent by one of his staffers, appearing  to mock Asians and the elderly, were “insensitive and wrong.”

The tweets, sent by Kathlyn Ehl before she joined the McKenna campaign in April, gained attention earlier Monday after The Stranger published them. They were quickly deleted, but remained accessible as archived website copies.

One tweet, sent in January, said “shut up and speak english #asians.” The other, from November, read, “If it takes you an entire green light to walk in front of my car GET A WHEELCHAIR #toooldtowalk.”

“The tweets sent by a member of my campaign staff, Kathlyn Ehl, were offensive and inappropriate,” McKenna, the state’s attorney general, said in a statement that was set to be released to the media Monday evening. ” They were insensitive and wrong regardless of the context.”

Ehl, a policy assistant for McKenna, will remain a part of the campaign, said campaign manager Randy Pepple.

In an email message to The Seattle Times, Ehl also apologized.

“These insensitive comments were harmful not just to those groups which I mentioned in the tweets, but also to my family, friends and my co-workers,” she wrote. “For causing that pain, I am sorry.”

Ehl, who graduated from the University of Washington last month, started volunteering for the campaign in April before becoming a paid staffer last month.

She frequently tweets about the McKenna campaign and other political issues.

“My actions were not just unfortunate, they were offensive,” she wrote in the email. “It is a lesson to others that social media comments made in frustration not only can hurt others, but they exist long after the moment has passed.”

0 Comments | More in Governor, homepage | Topics: governor's race, Kathlyn Ehl, Rob McKenna

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