Controversy continues over McKenna staffer's tweet

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 17, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 17 at 5:21 PM

Rob McKenna's campaign says there is no decision yet on the fate of a staff member who sent out offensive comments on her personal twitter account.

They say she's still employed and before a decision is made, the staff member will meet face-to-face with members of the Asian American community.

Some Asian Pacific Islander groups say an apology isn't enough.

The controversy started Monday, when The Stranger newspaper dug up the personal twitter account for Kathlyn Ehl, an assistant policy advisor to McKenna.

"If it takes you an entire green light to walk in front of my car, GET A WHEELCHAIR," she writes.

Another tweet: “shut up and speak english #asians.”

The story of Ehl's 33-character tweet hit many of the national political web sites. Wire stories got picked up on sites across the country, from Yakima to Rockford, Illinois.

Assunta Ng, Publisher of The Seattle Chinese Post and Northwest Asian Weekly, says she's hearing a lot of angry feedback in the community, but, she said "I remember those days when I was immature once, not thoughtful enough, so I tend to give younger people a second chance.  Now if this person was 60 years old, I'd say fire this person."

It's a key moment for McKenna: does he quickly distance himself from the tweet by letting to the staffer or does he take into account her age that she tweeted this six months ago, before joining the campaign?

"As the father of daughters, would I want my daughters judged by a mistake they make at 22?” said McKenna Campaign Manager, Randy Pepple.

Pepple says the decision hasn't been made.

"It will depend on how our coalitions, how some of our committees that work in our grassroots activities, their  response to the outreach that I'm doing and she'll be doing as well, to discuss her mistake, and to determine whether or not this was an isolated incident, or whether this is something they simply cannot overlook,” he said.

We all know sometimes young people make mistakes, they say things they shouldn't, but, says Benjamin Sung Henry of Asian Pac. Islanders Civic Empowerment, “It’s a different ballgame when you're working for someone who's trying to become the leader of the state."

KING 5's Robert Mak and Susan Wyatt contributed to this report.

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