McKenna Campaign Staffer Under Fire For Tweet: "Shut Up and Speak English"

A member of gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna's campaign staff came under fire after The Stranger discovered that she posted derogatory remarks about Asians and old people on her personal Twitter account.

Update, 2:40 p.m. July 18: Gennette Cordova, a Patch contributor who was caught up in a Twitter controversy last year involving New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, : http://patch.com/A-wkGM

Update, July 18: Kathlyn Ehl resigned Wednesday morning. The story is here: http://patch.com/A-wksD

Original story:

Gubernatorial candidate and Bellevue resident Rob McKenna issued a statement that one of his staffers apologized after The Stranger's blog "The Slog" uncovered posts on Twitter that were derogatory toward Asians and the elderly.

According to The Stranger, staffer Kathlyn Ehl posted in January: "shut up and speak english #asians" and in November: "If it takes you an entire green light to walk in front of my car GET A WHEELCHAIR #toooldtowalk" (punctuation in the original).

While Ehl, a recent graduate of the University of Washington according to her LinkedIn account, has since deleted the two tweets, as well as others from her Twitter account, The Stranger posted the history of her tweets as of Friday before her timeline was edited.

Ehl was hired by McKenna's campaign in April, and according to political blog Publicola, McKenna's campaign Twitter feed encouraged followers to follow her (the post has since been deleted). 

McKenna, the state attorney general and leading Republican in the race for governor, issued this statement through his campaign:

“The tweets sent by a member of my campaign staff, Kathlyn Ehl, which were reported today were offensive and inappropriate.  I am glad to see that she has apologized for her actions.

The fact that she made the comments before joining my campaign does not make them any less hurtful to Asian Americans and the elderly. They were insensitive and wrong regardless of their context.

She has done the right thing by apologizing.  I am hopeful that she has learned a humbling lesson that will give her greater perspective about having charity in her heart when considering the challenges faced by others.”


What do you think? Youthful indescretion or a campaign faux pas? 

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William Eib July 18, 2012 at 04:29 AM
That's the new conservative world view on display, she is the future of the GOP.
jonathan July 18, 2012 at 04:40 AM
why english?....your capitalist corp's require Chinese or Spanish/German to work for them in high capacity jobs. oh, forgot, as a rupub' your abilities are limited so you lash out ion anger, sorry. hope you remember to offer fries with my meal.
Bill Graham July 18, 2012 at 04:49 AM
I know personally some McKenna supporters who are not spoiled, but this younger person, Ehl, has done something that cannot be done. If you want to work in the public sphere, dump the ruthlessness and the arrogance. Public servants are servants. They need to be strong, caring, and unyielding when necessary, but never look like a spoiled brat. From what I hear, McKenna deserves better. Let's hope the reactionaries stay out of his campaign. I do not think of myself as conservative, but if there is character behind a position I will consider it.
Don Conner July 18, 2012 at 07:43 AM
McKenna is just another "mild-mannered" Karl Rooove... These ARE the people who support HIS POLITICS, after all...
Felicia July 18, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Her Tweets reflect the language of the Rep/TParty. These are the conversations they have between themselves.
Bony Bengwayan July 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Kathlyn Ehl, my two cents advice: take a break and enroll in social mobilization and advocacy if you really want to be a public servant.
paisleyface July 18, 2012 at 01:12 PM
McKenna's happy that Ehl apologized? Well, isn't that special? The rest of us couldn't care less about her "apology". Apologies don't make up for this hit and run behavior republicans are so fond of. It doesn't work any longer. Dump that woman now!
JetfireK July 18, 2012 at 01:16 PM
It sounds like Public Servants should have the knowledge and ability to speak more than English, perhaps job requirements are , You must fluently speak and understand a minimum of three languages. What's wrong with the ability to conquer rather than limit yourself to one language?
billy tubbins July 18, 2012 at 01:36 PM
不,我不會閉嘴,我可以說任何該死的語言,我請,偏執。 (For you, culturally-impaired Kathryn Ehi, the above translates to: No, I will not shut up and I can speak any damn language I please, bigot.)
Jason Dash July 18, 2012 at 02:12 PM
billy tubbins, why not reside in the country where that is the native language. We speak ENGLISH in The USA.
jim liberal July 18, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Jason, you might speak English, but more educated people are able to speak more than one language in the USA
Ken Edelstein July 18, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Bizarre. The statement was clearly racist, yet McKenna keeps her on staff?
Grandpamike July 18, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Oh, Jason, the truly ignorant American. People who think like you are the reason America is becoming more and more isolated in the world. Yes, they take our money, but they still hate us. Really, love it or leave it, that is so truly an "True"American Patriot response, which I am sure you believe you are.
Marc Goldberg July 18, 2012 at 04:11 PM
A person who speaks two languages is "bi-lingual"; one who speaks three languages is "tri-lingual". A person who speaks one language is "American"
Max Ward July 18, 2012 at 04:13 PM
She did this BEFORE McKenna hired her? What does that say about McKenna?
JetfireK July 18, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Venice Buhain July 18, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Just posted an update: Kathlyn Ehl resigned Wednesday morning. The story is here: http://patch.com/A-wksD
Bill Graham July 18, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Do not speak for me. We are a nation of immigrants. I speak and write several languages and, though American English is an important common language, your haughty attitude is disproportionate. Also, in interrogative sentences such as yours it is correct to terminate the sentence with a question mark rather than with a period.
Bill Graham July 18, 2012 at 07:23 PM
"What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature." -- Voltaire Or, pardonnons-nous réciproquement nos sottises.
jimmy July 19, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Kathlyn Ehl, "you shut up and speak Asian". So how do feel now?
John Law September 29, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Jason: Wake up. More than one language is spoken in the USA. Four languages are spoken in my household.


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