Idaho board candidate called racist
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.' " ''