Gov. Laura Kelly (D-KS) is being accused of political retaliation by two black lawmakers after she axed the Underground Railroad project funding from the state budget because Rep. Marvin Robinson (D-KS) crossed the aisle and sided against her on transgender and abortion votes.
One Republican and one Democrat, who are both black, took direct aim at Kelly over the allegedly partisan retaliatory move. The project was meant to restore and develop a significant portion of the Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape their owners.
The project was slated to receive $250,000 in the next state budget. The money would have been used to develop and make restorations to the Quindaro Ruins in Kansas City, Kansas, which Robinson represents. Quindaro was a town and a station on the Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape to Canada.
“As a legislator representing the concerns and aspirations of my constituents, I am deeply disheartened by Governor Kelly’s recent veto of the funding for the Quindaro Ruins. This historic site holds immense significance as an important stop on the Underground Railroad and carries great meaning for the African American Community it resides in,” Robinson told Fox News Digital.
This historic site served as a vital port of entry on the Underground Railroad, offering freedom to countless freed slaves from Missouri. It is abundantly clear that the Kelly/Toland administration is nothing more than an empty promise to the Black Community… #ksleg
— Kansas Black Republican Council (@KSBlackGOP) May 15, 2023
“To Governor Kelly, I want to emphasize that my constituents are also your constituents, and they overwhelmingly supported this funding,” Robinson asserted. “The Quindaro Ruins represent a vital part of our shared history and cultural heritage, reminding us of the struggles and triumphs of those who sought freedom and equality. Its preservation and promotion should be a priority for all.”
He called the governor’s veto “cruel.”
“To me, it was like cruel and torture, I don’t know so much about payback and all the other unfortunate terms that people used,” Robinson said showing disgust and upset that the governor would nix the project’s funding at the last moment.
Despite the “mean things that were being done during the legislative session, many by the Democrats, mostly by the Democrat-elected legislators in the House,” Robinson commented that it “wasn’t bigger than God.”
Kansas deserves leaders who take tangible action, not just hollow rhetoric.
Kansas Black Republican Council
[email protected] #ksleg
— Kansas Black Republican Council (@KSBlackGOP) May 15, 2023
For daring to vote his conscience, one Kansas Democrat branded Robinson as a “house Negro,” according to Fox News.
Kansas Republican State Rep. Patrick Penn also hammered Kelly and other Democrats in the state.
“Diversity of thought exists in the black community just like every other. No other race has the expectation placed upon them by white liberal elites that we line up and vote for Democrats like the black community does,” Penn told Fox News Digital during an interview. “Such bigoted expectations are both unfortunate relics of a small-minded past and simply unconscionable.”
“Marvin Robinson, as a new state representative, has been nothing but the most integrity-filled, the most caring and gentle, and the most passionate for his people here in the House 35th District,” he added. “He cares about their vision, their values, and he votes accordingly.”
“He understands that the Quindaro Ruins, the site and the burial grounds and everything, is a good Kansas story because it tells the story of how this state was created in 1861. It’s a free state to stand against the tyranny of racism and slavery, and that’s his passion,” Penn noted.
“Democrats owned Marvin’s great, great-grandfather down in Texas, so it’s no small idea that they think that they own his vote in the Kansas legislature, as well,” Penn scathingly remarked. “Marvin showed them standing tall that they absolutely do not.”
This is politics as usual – punishing a representative who voted his/her conscience. The Underground Railroad is a piece of American history and should be taught in our public and private schools.
— robert b mack (@robertbmack2) May 17, 2023
Penn also wanted to know why there’s “a different process for the black community and for black legislators than there is for white legislators in the white community” when it comes to funding for certain districts.
Kelly stated during her veto message that the Quindaro site is a “fundamental piece of Kansas history.” She went on to claim that Republicans added the money to the budget during their final days in session this year. The governor absurdly asserted that the idea had not been vetted, and her veto will stand because lawmakers have adjourned for the year.
“Advocates should work through the proper channels to seek funding for this measure and ensure that it receives the recognition it deserves,” Kelly wrote, making no coherent sense on the issue whatsoever while indicating that since the project didn’t get her blessing it deserved to be axed. She also claimed that her administration “recognizes the importance of this culturally significant site” and that she “will support efforts to elevate this fundamental piece of Kansas history and honor the surrounding community.”
Isn’t this something that Rep Marvin Robinson wanted and is in his district? This reeks of political retaliation against him.
— Andrew Carlson (@AndrewC17015223) May 16, 2023
Robinson hasn’t spoken with the governor since she issued the veto, but he did say she “had the right to do what she did.”
“I feel kind of sorry for her because what it reflected was a very mean-spirited, almost unbelievable depth of misunderstanding” concerning the importance and significance of the Quindaro Ruins, Robinson concluded.
“It’s unfortunate the Kelly/Toland administration has put politics before protecting this historical site that’s so important to the African American community in Kansas City,” Rep. Dan Hawkins (R-KS) said in a statement. “Preserving the archaeological integrity and educational importance of the Quindaro Ruins should be a bipartisan priority and excluded from the wrath of political punishments.”
important to the African American community in Kansas City. Preserving the archeological integrity and educational importance of the Quindaro Ruins should be a bi-partisan priority and excluded from the wrath of political punishments.” #ksleg pic.twitter.com/sIDpeE3Wmj
— Dan Hawkins (@DanHawkinsKS) May 15, 2023
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