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Arizona Lawmaker Ruffles Feathers at Arpaio Roast


Many key Republican and tea party speakers gathered together at the Western Conservative conference in Phoenix last weekend. One of the events was a roast of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. As Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports, some think roaster and Arizona state representative John Kavanagh went a bit too far.

Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh was one of the main sponsors of the recent controversial SB 1062, which would have allowed businesses to deny services to gays based on religious beliefs. He was also one of the people to roast Sheriff Joe Arpaio last weekend. Some people feel his comments were racially insensitive.

“Going out with Sheriff Joe is always an adventure. ‘Cause usually when we walk into a restaurant, most of the cooks and wait staff dive out the back,” Kavanagh said.

Kavanagh made a lot of jokes at Arpaio’s expense, and a lot of them had to do with Hispanics, jokingly asking Arpaio, “how many Hispanics he pulled over on the way over,” and that Arpaio would now have to teach his deputies to read the Miranda rights in English as opposed to just Spanish. Kavanagh also made a crack referring to Asians as well.

“Korea? All these years I figured he was rounding up Hispanics because he had a grudge from the Spanish-American War. So if you were in the Korean War how come you’re not rounding up Asians?” Kavanagh asked.

Kavanagh also brought up SB 1062 in a joke saying he scoffed at the concept of the bill causing religious discrimination, until he saw a Muslim Waiter refusing to serve Arpaio, because he doesn’t serve swine. Certain civil rights groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center are calling Kavanagh’s remarks “disrespectful” and “racist.” When interviewed by AZ Family, Kavanagh said “it was just good-natured ribbing and jabs at Arpaio’s expense.”

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