Connecticut GOP Leaders Apologize for Offensive Gaff

Connecticut GOP Leaders Apologize for Offensive Gaff

Gale Courey Toensing
4/22/11

Connecticut Republicans are nothing if not polite so it didn’t take them long to apologize for an offensive racist-tinted gaff once they realized it was offensive and racist-tinted.

The leaders of the Connecticut Republican Party issued a statement Wednesday, April 20, apologizing for using an offensive and clichéd phrase their proposed Alternative Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 and 2013 – a phrase that offended members of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation council.

“The leader of the Republican Party did reach out to us and apologized for the remark and the chairman (Chairman Rodney Butler) accepted the apology,” said William Satti, the nation’s director of public affairs.

In proposing a cut of more than 1,300 state government jobs, the GOP said in its spending plan, “Organizations that are ‘top heavy’ or have ‘too many chiefs and not enough Indians,’ are rarely successful and almost never efficient. State government, in its current form, fits both descriptions and its performance in delivering government services in an effective and cost efficient way suffers as a result.”

The phrase “too many chiefs and not enough Indians” went over like a lead balloon with Mashantucket leaders, who issued a short media release late in the day on Tuesday, April 19, reporting that the Tribal Council “is taking exception to the insensitive remarks” in the Republican Party’s proposal.

"The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council was dismayed to learn that the Republican's proposed budget was published without any regard for the inappropriate reference contained therein. Though perhaps an oversight, the Council sincerely hopes that this matter will be swiftly eradicated, accompanied by appropriate amends to all those who may have been equally affronted," the statement said.

House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafaro Jr., R-Norwalk, and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, issued a statement apologizing for the gaff the next day.

"It was brought to our attention that a phrase included in the budget materials we presented today were offensive to Native Americans and should not have been used," they said. "In describing the need for reducing the number of managers in the state system `too many chiefs and not enough Indians' was used and should not have been. It was an unintentional mistake, but insensitive nonetheless and will not be repeated. We apologize to Native Americans and anyone else who rightly takes offense."

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