LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Political leaders and advocates for the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Nevada have condemned a Nye County commissioner’s comments directed at Gov. Steve Sisolak and his wife, first lady Kathy Sisolak.
Commissioner Donna Cox’s remarks during last week’s county commission meeting implied that the governor was motivated to reinstate a mask mandate because his wife’s family would profit.
A social media backlash has followed after the comments were publicized on Monday.
Sisolak called on state Republican leaders to act by “calling out this bigotry,” and Senate Republicans responded in a tweet that called the comments “hurtful and misleading,” calling for Cox to apologize immediately.
Cox has remained silent since Gov. Sisolak called her out on Monday.
Nevada ACLU Director Athar Haseebullah tweeted Tuesday morning, “Donna is why mandates exist.”
Cox, speaking during the Aug. 3 Nye County Commission meeting, said, “Now how long he’d known her I have no idea, but she is Chinese. And you put two and two together, they actually said that her family in China own a company that’s making a lot of money off of this issue. That she’s here in the United States promoting and selling all these masks and emergency equipment and everything, and they’re all being shipped over from China.”
Kathy Sisolak was born in Ely, Nevada. Her father was the first Chinese dealer on Fremont Street.
The AAPI Democratic Caucus of Southern Nevada said, “Hate is the virus we don’t have a vaccine for. We demand accountability for these racist remarks and we call on all leaders, regardless of party affiliation, to condemn these remarks and recommit to working together to combat all forms of hate and violence.”
The social media accounts for One APIA Nevada carried a message of support for Sisolak and his wife, and condemning the “vile racist attack” by Cox.
The Nevada Assembly Republican Caucus added its voice “in support of our native Nevadan First Lady Kathy Sisolak.”
“Hate has no home in Nevada,” the caucus said on Twitter. “Assembly Republicans denounce in the strongest sense of the term, any prejudice against our Asian American community. They are our friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors.”
Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones added: “I stand with Kathy and @GovSisolak in condemning this racism.”
Clark County Commissioner William McCurdy II added, “The disgusting, racist comments aimed at our First Lady Kathy Sisolak have no place in our state. Home Means Nevada for everyone, in all of our communities. This kind of racism, bigotry, and intolerance is simply unacceptable, especially from an elected official.”
Some posts called for Cox to resign. Others demanded a recall.
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) said, “Shameful, racist, and disgusting words by Nye County Commissioner Donna Cox against our wonderful First Lady Kathy Sisolak.