In his own words

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

Congratulations to our news editor Dennis Myers going all viral with his news story about Ira Hansen. Myers basically went back and read all of Hansen's columns in the Sparks Daily Tribune and published some of the Speaker-elect's racist, homophobic, sexist and inflammatory comments.

I was one of the many recipients of Hansen's sorry-not-sorry apology.

“I am deeply sorry that comments I have made in the past have offended many Nevadans. It is unfortunate that these comments, made almost 20 years ago as a newspaper columnist and talk radio host, have been taken out of context and are being portrayed as intentionally hurtful and disrespectful. These comments were meant to be purposely provocative in various political, cultural and religious views. I have the utmost respect for all people without regard to race, gender, religious or political beliefs.”

Let me ask a question. When the context is, “These are some comments Ira Hansen made in years past,” how the hell was anything written “out of context”? And if those comments weren't “intentionally hurtful and disrespectful,” just what were they?

So, I'll be honest. I thought it was a great story, a classic Dennis Myers story from start to finish, but I had no idea anyone outside of our community would care. I've known of Ira and his family for more than 20 years, and I just kind of thought of him as a part of the Nevada woodwork. I thought of him as crazy—in that detestable but familiar Mississippi of the West way—but principled. In other words, I thought he'd double down on his statements, not back away. His sorry-not-sorry chicken walk shows me that I didn't really understand him at all.

I wrote all that before he stepped down as Speaker-designate. And now I'm going to double down: I don't think he should step down as Speaker-designate. He's a duly elected representative and a duly nominated “designate.” He should serve in the capacity he's asked to serve.