A southeast Colorado Republican appointed to the state legislature this week has apologized for Facebook posts that were critical of African Americans and Muslims and which drew concerns from top state party officials.

Judy Reyher (Photo courtesy of Judy Reyher)
Judy Reyher (Photo courtesy of Judy Reyher)

“I would like to apologize for the comments or posts on Facebook that have been found offensive and racist,” Judy Reyher said in a statement emailed to The Denver Post. “However, the fact of the matter is, I am not a racist. This country was founded by immigrants, and I embrace all Americans, no matter their walk of life. Diversity is what makes America, America.”

Reyher, appointed Monday night to the vacated seat of state Rep. Clarice Navarro, said diversity “in fact … makes my family,” referring to a photograph from her son’s wedding in China that she included with her statement.

“These claims of racism by the Denver Post are absolutely deplorable, and I will not be distracted by them,” the statement reads. “My attention is instead focused on ensuring that the children of my district and the children of this great state receive a quality education; that the people of House District 47 have meaningful and long-lasting employment, and to continue the fight for our farmers and ranchers, who are the very heart and soul of this state.”

The Denver Post did not call Reyher a racist.

Jeff Hays, chair of the Colorado GOP, called Reyher and “expressed his displeasure and disagreement in no uncertain terms” following Denver Post questions about her Facebook posts critical of African Americans and Muslims, according to a party spokesman.

In an interview with the newspaper, Reyher also questioned whether former President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. (an idea that has been debunked), and said that “the black community and the Democrats are the most racist group of people that exist,” and that black people “hate white people with a passion.”

Assistant House Minority Leader Cole Wist, a Centennial Republican, noted that neither he nor other lawmakers are involved in vacancy appointments such as Reyher’s, but said that “racism and bigotry are absolutely wrong.”

A local vacancy committee voted 6-5 on Monday night to have Reyher fill Navarro’s seat. Reyher bested Tamra Axworthy of Pueblo, who is appealing.

House District 47 spans Otero, Pueblo and Fremont counties.

Reyher, from Swink, is set to serve out the rest of Navarro’s term, which expires in about a year. Navarro took a job with the Trump administration.

More in Colorado Legislature

  • 220715981 2018-01-21
  • 337462980 2018-01-21
  • 792654979 2018-01-21
  • 527332978 2018-01-21
  • 44640977 2018-01-21
  • 102446976 2018-01-21
  • 302103975 2018-01-21
  • 224875974 2018-01-21
  • 248145973 2018-01-21
  • 924860972 2018-01-21
  • 236348971 2018-01-21
  • 195532970 2018-01-21
  • 714609969 2018-01-21
  • 926567968 2018-01-21
  • 967299967 2018-01-21
  • 383260966 2018-01-20
  • 353293965 2018-01-20
  • 674753964 2018-01-20
  • 337326963 2018-01-20
  • 39312962 2018-01-20