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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington State Senator Apologizes After 'Colored' Remark

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Washington Legislature
Washington state Senator Jim Honeyford of Yakima

Washington state Senator Jim Honeyford of Yakima has apologized after using the term “colored” to refer to people of color.

In a statement Thursday, the Republican lawmaker said he is “deeply sorry for the hurt” he has caused. The longtime senator made the comment during a committee hearing last week. He was defending a statement he’d made a few minutes earlier about the linkage between criminal activity and poverty and race.

“Poor more likely to commit crimes and colored most likely to be poor,” he said. “I didn’t say anything else on that. And I believe that’s an accepted fact if you check any of your sociology books or anything else you’ll find that’s an accepted fact in our society.”

Honeyford said he’s a 76-year-old man who “doesn’t always use language that is appropriate in 2015.” He’s served in the Washington Senate since 1998 and represents a mostly Latino district in central Washington.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."