EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Connie Robinson has left the Democratic Party.
She sent her resignation in a letter to the Chairman of the Vanderburgh County Democratic Party, Scott Danks. She also sent us the letter:
“I am writing to resign the affiliation that I have had for many years with the Democratic Party of Vanderburgh County. After allegations of racist activities in a Democratic primary campaign and malicious statements made against an African-American community activist during a recent Evansville City Council meeting, I came to the conclusion that the local Democratic Party has become a party of regression and racist sentiments that my conscience will no longer allow me to be a part of. The Democratic Party’s leadership which fails to take a stand or make a statement condemning these actions is in effect condoning both. I have watched in the last four years as the “Party of the People” has dissolved into a party of intolerance. I will finish out my term as an Independent who is not identified by party affiliation, but instead by the principles that guide those of us who believe that this community is for all people and not just a few backward political operatives who sit on the City Council. It seems that the Democratic Party is no longer a party that welcomes people who look like me. I can only hope that someday it will change and welcome substantive inclusion,” said Robinson in the letter.
Danks sent us a statement.
“I am deeply saddened by Councilwoman Connie Robinson’s resignation from the Vanderburgh County Democratic Party. Connie has been a Democrat icon and is a pillar of our community. Connie is a close personal friend and confidant of mine. I love and respect her greatly. I’m sure she did not make this decision lightly. I spoke with Councilwoman Robinson this morning and certainly respect her position. I have called a Central Committee meeting for this Friday, May 24, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. to discuss her concerns and what, if any, corrective actions we can take. Any further questions should be directed to Councilwoman Robinson,” said Danks.
Video from Monday’s City Council Meeting shows Robinson walking out during a vote to appoint Rev. William Payne to the Commission on Social Status of African American Males.
Robinson and Jonathan Weaver voted yes. The other six voted no.
(The discussion starts at 38:25)
In the discussion, you can hear comments made by Councilwoman Mercer. She brings up a past felony conviction.
The next day, she posted an apology.
“Last evening the nomination of Rev. William Payne for the Commission on the Social Status of African American Males was brought forth to the City Council for a vote. While I stand by my vote, I want to publicly apologize to Rev. Payne for my comments that his past actions should disqualify him for service on city boards. It is my hope that we can all move past the personal insults and focus on the people’s business,” said Mercer.
Rev. Payne posted a letter to Mercer Tuesday.
“In your Facebook post and your phone call to me today, you said that you regret the statements you made about me during the Evansville City Council meeting. I have never run from my past or denied my personal history. I have instead taken responsibility and used my life as an example for young people to guide them away from the same mistakes I made. I hope you take more time to think about your actions, which you say you wish had not occurred. I hope you ask yourself if you should serve out the rest of your term on City Council. It is my opinion that making such statements in public does not show the temperament or good judgment it takes to ‘do the people’s business’ as a city councilwoman representing all members of this community,” said Payne.