MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A black lawmaker didn't break any legislative rules when writing an email referring to a white constituent's ancestors as incestuous slave owners, the Alabama House leader said Tuesday.
Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn said Thursday that neither he nor most other legislators share the views that Democratic Rep. Joseph Mitchell of Mobile expressed in the email to a Jefferson County man. He said the response from most legislators was, "I can't believe he would put out something like that."
But Hubbard said Mitchell has free speech rights.
"There is nothing in our rules that prevents someone from sending an email that has his personal opinions in it," Hubbard said.
Like the Republican leader, Mitchell's fellow Democrats quickly distanced themselves from the 19-year veteran of the Legislature.
Mitchell and many other members of the Legislature got an email from Eddie Maxwell of Jefferson County asking them not to pass gun control laws and saying that he would consider any legislation a violation of the state's constitution.
Mitchell sent back an email, referring to the man's "slave-holding, murdering, adulterous, baby-raping, incestuous ... kin folk."
Mitchell has missed much of this year's legislative session due to illness, but he confirmed the email. "That does sounds like me," he said in an interview.