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

July 18, 2012 at 12:07 PM

McKenna staffer resigns after “insensitive” tweets

A policy assistant for Rob McKenna’s gubernatorial campaign has resigned after coming under fire earlier this week for some old tweets she posted on Twitter, a campaign spokesman said.

The tweets, which appeared to mock Asians and the elderly, were sent by Kathlyn Ehl before she started volunteering for the campaign in April. She became a paid staffer last month after graduating from  the University of Washington.

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

Ehl apologized for the tweets after The Stranger newspaper published them Monday. McKenna, a Republican and the attorney general, called them “insensitive and wrong.”

But that was not enough for some, who called for McKenna to fire Ehl. Members of an Asian and Pacific Islander organization said they were planning to protest outside of the campaign headquarters Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement released late Wednesday morning, McKenna campaign manager Randy Pepple expressed regret at how the incident ended.

“As the father of two young women, it pains me to accept the resignation of a young woman for a mistake which occurred before she had even begun her career,” he said. “However, as we have said, and Kathlyn readily acknowledges, her tweets were offensive and insensitive. Kathlyn suggested, and I agreed after consultation with some of our campaign’s grassroots leaders, that her ongoing involvement on the campaign would be a constant reminder of her lapse in judgment.

“Life teaches us difficult lessons, and sometimes at a very young age,” he added. “My hope is that she will find some benefit from having learned this lesson now, as it will undoubtedly be a long-lasting one.”

0 Comments | More in Governor, homepage | Topics: Kathlyn Ehl, Randy Pepple, resignation

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