Senate President Rebukes Huffman's Comments, Calls For Bias Training

Jun 15, 2020

The top leader of the Ohio Senate, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina), has rebuked the racist comments made by Sen. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) during a committee hearing.

Huffman drew sharp criticism after using the term "colored population" during a committee hearing on a resolution, SCR14, that would declare racism as a public health crisis.

Huffman used the term while asking about the disproportionate number of black people among the confirmed cases of COVID-19.

"Couldn't it just be that African Americans or the colored population do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear masks? Or do not socially distance themselves?" asked Huffman during a Senate committee hearing.

Watch: Sen. Steve Huffman's exchange with Angela Dawson, Ohio Commission on Minority Health executive director, during Senate committee

Obhof said Huffman's language was "not appropriate" and "hurtful."

"I have spoken to him and made clear that it has no place in our discourse. He has apologized and has begun the process of seeking and earning the forgiveness of those hurt by his remarks," Obhof said in a written statement. "The Senate is committed to learning from this moment."

Obhof says the Senate will begin training members and staff on diversity, inclusion, and implicit bias.

Huffman, who later apologized on his Facebook page, has been fired from his job as an ER doctor in the Miami Valley region.

TeamHealth, the hospital network Huffman worked for, issued a statement saying, "Dr. Huffman’s comments are wholly inconsistent with our values and commitment to creating a tolerant and diverse workplace. TeamHealth has terminated Dr. Huffman’s employment.”