Friday, March 6, 2015

Democratic Party calls for Justin Harris resignation

Posted By on Fri, Mar 6, 2015 at 1:30 PM

RESIGNATION CALL: From Democratic Chair Vince Insalaco.
  • RESIGNATION CALL: From Democratic Chair Vince Insalaco.
The Arkansas Democratic Party today issued a statement saying Republican Rep. Justin Harris should resign.

The statement:

In advance of Rep. Justin Harris’s (R-West Fork) press conference today regarding his unilateral decision to move two of his adopted daughters into another family’s home, Democratic Party of Arkansas chair Vince Insalaco released the following statement:

“As a parent and grandparent, like many Arkansans, I am shocked to learn of Rep. Justin Harris's egregious action of placing two girls he adopted through DHS directly into harm’s way by sending them to stay with another family without approval from the adoption agency. This action directly lead to the rape of the six-year-old girl who Rep. Harris is responsible for and even received government funding to care for through the foster care system.

There are also other issues that need to be raised here. First, the children. The idea that someone could use the foster care system to treat their adopted children like basketballs, tossing them from family to family is horrible. Then, you have an elected leader who represents an antigovernment agenda; yet, he makes his living off of government funding. This is hypocrisy at its highest level.

This is a continuation of an alarming pattern that continues with several Arkansas legislators. We believe that if Arkansas families were aware of this; they would be as appalled as well. While his resignation certainly would not change these atrocities, Justin Harris has proven that he is not fit to hold the responsibility of writing our laws, and we hope that Gov. Hutchinson and Speaker Gillam will agree that Harris's resignation is necessary.

Rep. Greg Leding has filed legislation which would make this practice of rehoming adopted children a felony, and we urge the legislature to pass this legislation in order to protect our most vulnerable citizens - our children in foster care."

I say as 1) an Arkansas Times employee who thinks Benji Hardy did an excellent job of reporting what's known so far about this sad episode and what it says about a need for a review of state adoption procedures  and 2) never a political admirer of Justin Harris:

I'd have been inclined to let events unfold further. Public outrage is already high. There's more to come. This smacks of political opportunism. A Republican legislator, David Meeks, has also introduced a bill on rehoming. The Republican governor has reacted carefully, but positively. Nobody's more kneejerk than me as a rule. But let's hear the rest.

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