Disability Scoop | March 14, 2011
A New Hampshire lawmaker resigned Monday amid criticism for suggesting to a constituent that the state ship people with disabilities to Siberia.
Rep. Martin Harty, a 91-year-old first-term Republican in the state’s House of Representatives, drew fire after it became public that he told a constituent that “the world is too populated” with “too many defective people.”
“I wish we had a Siberia so we could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the population,” Harty continued, according to the constituent’s account. He specified that he was referring to “the mentally ill, the retarded, people with physical disabilities and drug addictions.”
When questioned about the comments last week, Harty was unapologetic and told the Concord Monitor that he was “just kidding.”
But on Monday Harty submitted his letter of resignation to state House Speaker William O’Brien.
“With all the slightly unfavorable publicity I’ve been getting the last few days, I’ll never be an effective lawmaker,” Harty wrote in the handwritten letter. “Sorry my big mouth caused this furor.”
Harty’s resignation will become official Tuesday when his letter of resignation is read on the House floor.