To the editor:

Commissioner Louis Klemp holds an elected position on the Board of County Commissioners and therefore I have no jurisdiction over his term in office. It is not within my power or the power of the other commissioners to take any punitive action against one of the other elected commissioners. That being said, I would encourage all to watch the actual video of the exchange versus the parsed and paraphrased comments circulated by the media. 

The full video of the conversation is available on YouTube or via the home page link on the Leavenworth County website.

The conversation in question begins at about 1:02 into the clip. Watch the video and form your own opinion about the context of the conversation. 

I will not attempt to defend Commissioner Klemp as he holds an elected position and is capable of defending any of his statements or fielding any calls for his ouster. I will say though that what is being reported in the media is not an accurate representation of what was said during our meeting.

Commissioner Klemp has a gap in his front teeth and so did the person presenting to the Commission on Tuesday. On several occasions over the past year Mr. Klemp has made reference that those with a gap in their front teeth are members of the master race. At Tuesday’s meeting he stated that he and the lady presenting to the Board were both members of the master race due to the gap in their teeth. 

The use of the term “master race,” as ill-advised as it may be, was not a reference to Nazis or used in a racist manner in this instance. Leavenworth County has a zero tolerance for racism or discrimination in any form from any staff member.

I am deeply sorry that one misconstrued comment by a member of our elected governing body has caused so much grief, sorrow and hatred. Leavenworth County is a wonderful place to live and visit and I am proud to call it my home.

Editor’s note: Mark Loughry is the Leavenworth County administrator.