Libertarian candidate sorry for remarks

2010-04-23T22:06:00Z Libertarian candidate sorry for remarks Gazette News Service The Billings Gazette
April 23, 2010 10:06 pm  • 

CHEYENNE — Casper businessman Mike Wheeler is set to become the Libertarian nominee for governor at the state party’s convention today in Lander.

But as Wheeler prepares to accept the nomination, he’s also writing a formal apology to Latinos for comments he made at a gubernatorial candidate forum last week in Cheyenne.

Asked about illegal immigration at the forum, Wheeler said growing up in southern Colorado, he knew “a couple of people that had a little water on their backs.” He also lamented that many Wyomingites are “losing a job to somebody that’s probably sending their money back to Chihuahua for tacos.”

On Friday, Wheeler said he’s writing a letter to the editor to apologize for his comments. But, he said he’s “disheartened” that some people have labeled him as a racist without bothering to ask for his thoughts.

“I’m just not a racist person. I’ve gotten into fistfights with people for dropping the big ‘N-bomb’ and for derogatory statements,” Wheeler said. “If I do have a prejudice, it is against businesses that choose to employ illegal aliens.”

Wheeler said as governor, he would work to more strictly enforce laws requiring employers to check potential employees’ residency status.

The state Libertarian convention will be held at the Best Western in Lander starting at 11 a.m.

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