"Any bill that makes it easier or more convenient for mothers to come out of the home and let others raise their child, I don't think that's a good direction for us to be going," he said.
An Idaho state representative made an apology for the brazenly sexist statements he made during a debate on an education bill. Rep. Charlie Shepherd (R-Pollock) on Tuesday said he was against accepting federal funds for Kindergarten preparation programs as it would make it easier for moms to take a break from their parenting duties and step out of the house now and again. "I don't think anybody does a better job than mothers in the home, and any bill that makes it easier or more convenient for mothers to come out of the home and let others raise their child, I don't think that's a good direction for us to be going," he said.
According to KTVB, if passed, House Bill 226 would have allowed Idaho to use $6 million in federal grants to increase early childhood education in the Gem State by making it more available and accessible. The bill failed on a 34-36 vote. "This vote was such a disappointment and a slap in the face to the working families of Idaho," House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, said in a press release after the vote, reports Idaho Statesman. "This money was a lifeline to communities around our state where children could have the opportunity to get a boost toward literacy and school readiness."
"Idaho is one of only four states that offer no public early childhood education options, and this was a golden opportunity to expand offerings without expending state funds. Our children are the future of this state, and we should be doing everything we can to invest in their educational development. We must do better," she added. Meanwhile, Shepherd, on Wednesday morning issued an apology for his remarks on the House floor. "I have learned the hard way that misguided statements do not help solve anything," he said. "I sincerely apologize to any and all that I have offended and I will work hard to right any wrongs that I have done."
It is our sincere hope, along with that of the majority of Idahoans, that the Idaho Legislature reconsider accepting the federal early childhood grant. This is the kind of investment in Idaho’s future, and support for Idaho’s families, that we need. #idpol #idleg pic.twitter.com/9bSz8xDLeB— theidaho97 (@theidaho97) March 3, 2021
However, Shepherd also claimed that the intent of his statements was "to compliment mothers in every way possible" and that he had merely tried to compliment mothers "for being the best people at early childhood development." He added: "I stand before you now to admit that I failed miserably. After hearing my remarks played back, I recognize how my remarks sounded derogatory or offensive and even sexist towards the mothers of this state. In no way, I in no way meant to insult, in no way meant to insinuate that mothers that work outside the home were at any fault in any way."
Idaho state Rep. Rep. Charlie Shepherd voted against accepting federal grants to help kids get ready for kindergarten because it "makes it easier or more convenient for mothers to come out of the home."https://t.co/8no2l3QY7b— Mike Brest (@MikeBrestDC) March 3, 2021
After watching himself make the sexist remarks on Tuesday, Shepherd admitted to KTVB that he blew it. "My point was I was trying to give mothers as much credit as I could and I just completely and totally blew it," he said. "I don't want to give the impression that I'm trying to defend what I said yesterday in any way. That being said, when you get up to speak on the floor of the house, it's very nerve-racking, and sometimes what you think you're saying and your mind is telling you to say, it comes out completely different. The point I was trying to make was lost."
The state representative also appeared to back-pedal his stance on the education bill, stating that he believes early childhood education has value and that he voted against the bill over concerns other legislators had brought up about what kind of curriculum would be taught with the grant money. "I would definitely correct that mistake and I owe it to the working mothers out there that I've offended and hurt with my careless statement," he said.