Chinese organizations file complaint against Kuderer, alleging racism

The complaint alleges Kuderer used a racist term and lacks respect for Chinese Americans.

By Leona Vaughn

and Jake Berg

Washington Asians for Equality and the American Coalition for Equality filed a complaint to the Secretary of Senate and Senate Counsels against Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, demanding an apology for her use of what they considered racist language.

The complaint, filed Jan. 20, was over something she said during a hearing before the Senate Housing and Affordability Committee on Jan. 17. Kuderer used the term “Chinese fire drill” to refer to a brief moment of confusion during the hearing.

“Chinese fire drill is a racist term,” Linda Yang, head of Washington Asians for Equality, said in an email. “We are deeply offended. There are many Chinese Americans living in Sen. Kuderer’s 48th District. Her senseless use of this offensive racist term demonstrated her racist attitude towards Chinese Americans that we have experienced over and over.”

Kuderer apologized for her remarks in her opening statement to the committee on Jan. 20.

“I actually want to apologize for an insensitive remark I made in committee last week,” Kuderer said. “I will certainly endeavor to be more mindful. In all the confusion that was happening on [Jan. 17] — calling of witnesses — it was an attempt to be lighthearted but sometimes, we don’t say things the way we really intend them to be.”

According to Andy McVicar, communications specialist for the senator, Kuderer’s apology during the committee meeting on Jan. 20, was given about 12 hours prior to an official complaint being filed with the Secretary of Senate and Senate Counsels.

In a Jan. 20 letter to the Secretary of Senate and Senate Counsels, the two organizations demanded an official apology from Kuderer to the Chinese American community.

“We will follow through and make sure that proper investigations and actions will be taken,” Yang said in an email. “Our community deserves to be treated respectfully.”

On Feb. 3 Kuderer gave an additional statement regarding her remarks used on Jan. 17.

“I made an insensitive comment during a confusing moment in a committee meeting. It was brought to my attention by a colleague and I immediately recognized the need for an apology, which I did at the very next committee meeting. I did not intend to insult anyone. My apology was heartfelt and is to everyone, including Chinese Americans,” Kuderer said. “I’ve spent my 30-year legal career fighting on behalf of minorities and women against racism and sexism. I regret the mistake I made. And I look forward to continuing my work fighting discrimination and racism.”

More in News

Shots fired during freeway chase from Everett to Redmond

A Redmond man was arrested around 4 a.m. Saturday after fleeing state troopers by car and on foot.

PNW plant-based foods could help in climate fight

Animal products create a lot of emissions, but veggie alternatives are coming from King County.

The Colstrip Power Plant in Montana. Puget Sound Energy owns 25 percent of the remaining two units. File photo
PSE files to sell part of Colstrip coal plant

The utility owns two units at the Montana power plant.

Fentanyl (Courtesy photo)
Fentanyl overdoses keep increasing in King County

Meth overdoses are on the rise as well, continuing a trend reported on last year.

Charter review could overhaul King County Sheriff’s Office

Several changes to the King County Sheriff’s Office were proposed.

Conceptual designs from Emerald Heights for a new assisted living facility along 176th Ave NE showing both the building, top, and what it will look like with tree cover. Graphic courtesy of Emerald Heights
Proposed Emerald Heights expansion raises concerns on Education Hill

Emerald Heights and the Abbey Road community have both filed appeals to the appellate court.

House passes bill to expand court-ordered gun confiscation

Would apply to people who have threatened to use a firearm against a vulnerable adult

The city of Redmond has been referred to as the Bicycle Capital of the Northwest for over the last 40 years. Jake Berg/staff photo
Washington’s new safe passing law for bikes

Under new law, motorists must give at least three feet of space to cyclists using the roadway.

Jake Berg/staff photo 
                                The main trailhead for Smith Woods park.
Redmond neighborhood at risk of losing walkable access to Smith Woods

Residents are reaching out to the city of Redmond for other access options.

Most Read