Chapa LaVia's Perceived Slight Overshadows Charter Debate

Apr 10, 2014

Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora)

  An Illinois lawmaker is apologizing for a racially charged remark she made Wednesday during a debate on charter schools. 

Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) was closing a long debate over charter schools. But just as she argued minority students sometimes get blocked from charters, she seemed to get frustrated with the noise in the chamber, and turned to address her fellow Democrats.

"There's starting to be a segregation of children between the haves and the have nots — listen to me, minorities! I'm over here because we're all over on this side, right?"


"What you'll also find — We have a half, we have a half."

Those were House Republicans booing. Chapa LaVia's "half" comment was apparently aimed at Rep. John Anthony (R-Plainfield), the only black Republican in the legislature.

Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst) called for an apology.

"I don't think that's very fair, representative, what you did," he said. "That's terrible."

Chapa LaVia did apologize. Twice. Her proposal, however, failed, but a parliamentary procedure will keep it alive. Chapa LaVia, though, is no longer its sponsor. A Republican is.

Calls to her and Representative Anthony's offices were not immediately returned.