Rep. Smith use of word ‘ignorant’ draws exception from Rep. Holt on House floor

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Democrat Rep. Ras Smith (D-Waterloo) spoke directly after Rep. Steve Holt (R-Denison) pointed out every Democrat in the House Judiciary Committee supported the legislation to define antisemitism in Iowa Code.

Smith’s initial comment seemed directed at Holt, who he peered at over his shoulder after finishing the sentence.

“You know, one of the true variables of growth is that when you learn better, you do better,” Smith said. “When you discover new information, you apply it.”

At that point, he glanced back over his shoulder at Holt.

“Those who voted this out of committee, I commend you for your ability to grow and not maintain an ignorant rigidity,” Smith said.

Holt called for a point of order, to which Smith offered a brief “pft.”

Holt said he doesn’t believe anyone needs to be called ignorant on the floor of the House.

Smith resumed his comments by saying that pitting religious faith groups against another faith group is dangerous and irresponsible, whether it is done intentionally or unintentionally.

“At a time when violence is high and individuals who are unstable tend to distort our words, this may create the perception that because we have not in this legislative code been inclusive, the other groups have less significance,” Smith said.

He added that the bill unknowingly and quietly places a wedge amongst the “most sacred aspects of our lives.”

Author: Jacob Hall