Iowa Democratic Chairman Ross Wilburn talks about recent violent threats received
OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - Iowa’s first black Democratic Chairman Ross Wilburn says police are still trying to identify the individuals responsible for racist threats he’s received following an opinion piece he provided to a news publication.
On October 8, Chair Wilburn released an article to the Des Moines Register titled Iowa Republicans put loyalty to Trump over helping Iowans. In the article, he talks about former President Donald Trump returning to Iowa for a rally. He goes on to criticize Republicans, claiming that they are not focused on things they should be.
Since then he has received threats both through email and voicemail to his legislative office. In a recent press conference over zoom, Wilburn addressed the situation saying that he has received an outpour of support from people across the country for stepping forward. On the other hand, he says there are individuals that are questioning his claims.
”Some friends of mine have had people commenting about me about whether or not I’d make it up. Am I lying? What kind of threat was it? I go to the bottom line, it doesn’t matter what kind of threat it was. It was racially motivated because of the “n” word and other stereotypes. Expletive items as well as a lynching reference and it’s something that can’t go on any longer,” he shares.
James A. Piazza, Liberal Arts Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania has done his research on the increase in violence towards politicians. He says in order for things like this to be prevented, it all starts with the tone of the leader.
“Politicians that adopt a more conciliatory tone, that try to get their supporters to not necessarily agree with the other party, but to see the other party as human, or loving America as much as they do then there really is an opportunity for politicians to turn down the rhetoric and therefore make violence and disorder less likely.”
Members of the Republican Party are trying to do just that, like Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann who released a statement following the threats saying “I strongly condemn the racist threats made towards chairman Wilburn. we can have a spirited debate on candidates without threats of violence.”
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds even took to Twitter to say “This type of hate must never be tolerated. Whoever is responsible should be held accountable. Racism of any kind is unacceptable and not who we are as Iowans.”
Chairman Wilburn shares that he is thankful for law enforcement to take his complaint seriously and if identified he is looking to press charges.
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