LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Nye County commissioner’s rant against Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and his wife prompted a sharp response on Monday.
Gov. Sisolak called the comments “hateful speech” in a news release that followed Commissioner Donna Cox’s Tuesday comments about first lady Kathy Sisolak and the governor’s motivation behind a mask mandate. The governor also cited his recent work to fight back against anti-Asian racism.
Biographical material on the first lady posted by the Nevada Women’s History Project describes her as, “Born of immigrant parents in Ely, Nevada on February 19, 1958, and raised in Las Vegas, Kathy Ong Sisolak is the epitome of a Native Nevadan. Kathy and her three brothers were raised in a family where education was deemed an important part of life. Her father was the first Chinese dealer on Fremont Street and her mother, a native of China, had learned English, attended classes in Las Vegas and ultimately gained employment with Clark County.”
“I am furious after hearing vile, blatantly racist comments made against my wife — a Nevadan who has dedicated her life to making our state a better place,” Gov. Sisolak said. “There is no room for this type of hateful speech from anyone, especially not from an elected official. Kathy and I, along with so many others, have worked hard to fight back against the anti-Asian racism brought on by misinformation regarding COVID-19, but comments like these only take us backward. They hurt our community, our state, and the ones we love.”
Cox’s comments came three hours into Tuesday’s Nye County Commission meeting. A link to the full video of the meeting appears below.
“I’m going to tell you all something about the governor, and I have a picture of the governor and his wife in order to prove this,” Cox begins.
“The governor was a county commissioner in Clark County for quite a while before he got elected to this. So he ran for the governor’s office, and he won. Well, a few months after he won he married his wife. Now how long he’d known her I have no idea, but she is Chinese,” Cox said. “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.”
“So that’s why I call it monetarial. Is there any better reason in the world to want to do a mask mandate than to have some … ? That’s a direct conflict of interest,” Cox said. “I think, maybe he should step aside. He shouldn’t even be involved in this. And I hope he’s listening to this today.”
Gov. Sisolak said in response, “Now is a time we should be coming together to get us through what has been one of the hardest times for our state, not attacking one another. I urge every Nevada Republican elected official and candidate to join me in calling out this bigotry.”
The Nevada Senate Republican Caucus tweeted about the issue, saying Cox “should apologize immediately:”
The Nevada Assembly Republican Caucus also spoke out, tweeting its support of First Lady Sisolak: