Idaho board candidate called racist

Published August 25, 2006 12:47 am
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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.' " ''

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