Ex-Lawmaker ‘Sorry’ After Suggesting Siberia For ‘Retarded’
A 91-year-old former New Hampshire state legislator who made national headlines for suggesting the state send people with disabilities to Siberia is apologizing, at least to one resident.
Martin Harty resigned from the New Hampshire House of Representatives earlier this month after he drew fire for comments he made to a constituent that became public.
“I wish we had a Siberia so we could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the population,” Harty said, according to the constituent’s account. He specified that he was referring to “the mentally ill, the retarded, people with physical disabilities and drug addictions.”
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When questioned about the comments, an unapologetic Harty told the Concord Monitor that he was “just kidding.”
But now it seems that Harty may have had a change of heart after hearing from a Dover, N.H. resident with Asperger’s syndrome. Megan Miller, 29, told the Foster’s Daily Democrat that she wrote to Harty to explain that cuts to mental health services would threaten her ability to access transportation and medical services.
“I read your letter and I do feel sorry for you,” Harty wrote in a handwritten reply to Miller in which he says that despite his comments he would not have voted to take away mental health funding. “I know full well that doing away with people like the papers brought out is not even remotely possible in this day and age.”