Sen. Mitch Holmes, R-St. John and chairman of the Kansas Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, has had a change of heart.
It was necessary. As noted in an editorial earlier this week, Holmes was the state lawmaker who issued guidelines regarding what women should wear when addressing his committee. In particular, the dress code stated: “For ladies, low-cut necklines and mini-skirts are inappropriate.” Nothing comparable was offered for men.
On Tuesday, Holmes took it all back.
“I apologize and meant no offense,” the Topeka Capital-Journal quoted Holmes as saying. “I have decided to retract the conferee guidelines.”
Whether the apology was prompted by the national spotlight the sexist guidelines attracted, the pummeling he took from newspaper publishers throughout the state, the unanimous disapproval expressed by female colleagues in the Statehouse, the barrage of posts on his own social media site, or perhaps even a personal epiphany he experienced regarding equality of the sexes — we’ll likely never know for sure. Holmes even attempted to deflect attention from himself by questioning the motives and then the patriotism of the reporter who authored the original story.
And then Tuesday arrived. By then, the senator had recognized the error of his ways, apologized, and took corrective action. What a breath of fresh air.
Too often in today’s political climate, elected officials at the state and federal level appear indifferent to accepting responsibility for mistakes made either in word or deed. Generally, most politicians dig in their heels and refuse to acknowledge evidence contrary to the “facts” they believe. Even when it is plain as day.
We have a newfound appreciation for Sen. Holmes. As this media company helped lead the chorus of criticism when Holmes presented the controversial guidelines, it is only right we offer praise now that they’ve been rescinded.
Perhaps others in Topeka could learn from Holmes’ example. Any number of gaffes, misguided policy decisions and experiments have the state in economic chaos, which is being borne by the education system, poor people, the mental health community, law enforcement, the arts, economic development, LGBT individuals, health care, transportation, rural areas, women, children and minorities. The list could go on and on. Future generations already are saddled with debt incurred to afford tax cuts for corporations and middle- and upper-class individuals.
The state is careening toward bankruptcy — and the governor and a solid majority of legislators appear incapable of admitting their mistakes, much less apologizing for them and taking corrective action.
We salute Holmes for his abrupt maturation. Could more common sense soon be emanating from Topeka? We’ll laud each and every move.
Editorial by Patrick Lowry