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Idaho board candidate called racist

Published August 25, 2006 12:47 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A civil rights group is calling a candidate for the North Idaho College Board of Trustees a racist, citing his association with a white-supremacist group.

''Someone like him should never be on a government entity,'' Heidi Beirich, a spokeswoman for the Southern Poverty Law Center that tracks hate groups, told the Spokesman-Review from the group's headquarters in Montgomery, Ala.

The candidate at issue, Stan Hess, said he's not a racist.

''I am the white Jesse Jackson,'' Hess said. ''I'm a European activist. I've also been married to a Jewish woman.''

He told the Coeur d'Alene Press that if elected he would work to develop a European American studies program at the school and have October declared ''European American Heritage Month.''

Hess, 61, said his politics changed when he was shot while working as a cab driver in 1975 in Oakland, Calif., after refusing to give a ride to a black person.

''I am a hate-crime survivor,'' he said. ''I was shot in the face by an African-American. I have bridge work and lost two teeth. I was called a 'white boy.' " ''