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GOP State Rep under fire for alleged racist, homophobic comments

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Amy Grant (R-Wheaton) was recorded talking disparagingly about her LGBTQ opponent, Ken Mejia-Beal.

State Representative Amy Grant (Photo from Facebook)

WHEATON — State Rep. Amy Grant (R-Wheaton) is defending herself against accusations of racist and homophobic statements following a press conference by statehouse Democrats.

The DuPage County Republican is running for re-election to the General Assembly against Democrat Ken Mejia-Beal, an out Black gay man.

According to the Capitol Fax political newsletter, the remarks were released by State Reps. Will Davis, Camille Lilly, Greg Harris and Emanuel Chris Welch during a virtual press conference on Monday.

The reps released excerpts from a recorded phone call where Grant made comments about “another person in the Black Caucus” and Mejia-Beal talking about LGBTQ issues.

I mean he’s just another one of the Cook County people. That’s all you’re gonna vote for is Cook County, another, ya know, Black Caucus, that’s all we need is another person in the Black Caucus. Yeah, so anyhow. And I’m all for, ya know, I work across the aisle and Will Davis is a buddy of mine and he’s in leadership and I am a friend of his and he respects me.

State Rep. Amy Grant – Audio file available through Capitol Fax

Grant also reportedly told the unknown caller that Mejia-Beal was afraid to come into the district.

I just think that maybe he’s afraid of the reaction that people might give him. Not because he’s Black, but because of the way he talks. He’s all LGBTQ. He wants to work for the chronically ill. He just gives us like crazy, and every week it’s a different reason for why he wants to get into the race.

State Rep. Amy Grant – Audio file available through Capitol Fax

Grant released a two sentence statement on Monday after the remarks were released.

“I deeply regret the comments I made about Ken Mejia-Beal and reached out to apologize to him this morning,” she said in a statement posted to her campaign Facebook page. “These comments do not reflect my heart or my faith.”

Mejia-Beal has released a statement slamming Grant’s comments and minimal apology.

Equality Illinois condemned Grant’s remarks.

“We at Equality Illinois and in the LGBTQ community recognize this age-old homophobic attack against gay men,” the organization said in an emailed statement. “Grant also made a pointed racist remark by saying ‘all we need is another person in the Black Caucus.’

“Even in the age of Trump, Illinoisans expect their elected officials to act with integrity and in accordance with Illinois values of equality and inclusion. Amy Grant fails even that basic test.  She is clearly unable to represent all of her constituents with equal care and respect. Her apology is insufficient for an elected official in 2020.”

Equality Illinois has called for Grant to drop out of the race and for 42nd district voters to kick her out if she doesn’t drop out.

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