Ohio GOP Senator Steve Huffman is under fire after a statement he made during a hearing on whether to declare racism a public health crisis in Ohio. Senator Huffman questioned if “the colored population” and questioned (African Americans) get COVID-19 more often because they do not wash their hands as much.
Huffman asked, “Could it just be that African Americans – the colored population – do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear a mask? Or do not socially distance themselves? Could that just be maybe the explanation of why there’s a higher incidence?”
Senator Huffman is serving his first term with the Ohio Senate and represents the 5th Senate District including Miami and Preble counties. He resides in Tiff, a city just north west of Dayton. Dayton’s Mayor Nan Whaley called Senator Huffman’s remarks “racist and inappropriate” while others like the ACLU of Ohio ( the American Civil Liberties Union) are calling for him to step down.
Since making these remarks, Senator Huffman has issued an apology, “Regrettably, I asked a question in an unintentionally awkward way that was perceived as hurtful and was exactly the opposite of what I meant. I was trying to focus on why COVID-19 affects people of color at a higher rate, since we really do not know all the reasons,”
The craziest part of this is that Senator Huffman is actually a practicing physician and graduated from University of Toledo, where he earned a medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio (now the University of Toledo School of Medicine). Senator Huffman practices at Premier Health Upper Valley Medical Center and Wayne Hospital for 18 years and served on the Board of Directors for Premier Physician Services.
Since the controversial statement a representative at Premier Health released a statement announcing that they’ve part ways with Senator Huffman, “Premier Health condemns and does not tolerate racism or any kind of discrimination, and we have long-standing mechanisms in place to address expectations and accountability,”