Hampton Selectboard Member Faces Calls For Ouster Over Offensive Social Media Posts
A member of the Hampton selectboard is facing calls for her resignation over racist and transphobic social media posts.
The posts by Regina Barnes, vice chair of Hampton's selectboard, attacked Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and television personality Caitlyn Jenner, and also included a message against the wearing of face masks.
"If you can pretend Bruce Jenner is a woman & Kamala Harris is black, then you can definitely pretend I'm wearing a mask," reads a recent post on Barnes' campaign Facebook page. Barnes was a Republican candidate for state Senate, but lost last week’s primary election.
In an interview, Barnes said she's not racist and her posts are not meant to be taken seriously. She said she has no plans to resign.
Jennifer Glynn, one of the residents demanding Barnes step down, said Barnes has a history of hateful social media messages.
“There’s no room, especially in small-town politics, for someone who is not going to be willing to represent all of the people in the town,” Glynn said. “If you’re not willing to acknowledge the existence of trans lives or Black lives or give those value, then you don’t deserve to be in office.”
Barnes' posts were raised at Monday night's meeting of the Hampton selectboard. Several members of the public spoke against Barnes, and the board adopted a resolution stating that members' statements should not to be seen as representing the opinion of the board as a whole.
At one point during the meeting, Barnes interrupted board Chairman James Waddell as he urged fellow board members to avoid bigoted remarks.
"This is slander, and it's taken out of proportion," Barnes said. "We have real business to talk about, and this is what we're spending our time on?"
"You're the one that caused it," Waddell responded.
"First Amendent rights," Barnes said. "Read the Constitution, and read it good, because not enough people are reading it now."