WILMINGTON — Rep. Gerald Brady, D-Wilmington, announced Monday that he will not seek reelection when his term ends in November 2022.
This comes after Rep. Brady used a racial slur for Asian women in reference to sex work in an email sent from his government address last month. The email was an inadvertent reply to an advocate, who had forwarded Rep. Brady a Princeton University study that suggested that strip clubs can lead to a decrease in sex crimes.
The study did not mention Asian women but did contain a single reference citation to a 2018 analysis of sex crimes and sex work in South Korea.
“I cannot in good conscience ask the voters to put their faith in me again after I betrayed theirs,” Rep. Brady’s Monday statement read. “I can only humbly and unequivocally apologize again for my actions, for which I am solely responsible.”
Sam Chick, chairperson of the Delaware Young Republicans, again called for Rep. Brady’s resignation Monday, despite his announcement not to seek another term in the office he has held since 2007.
“Gerald Brady’s continued presence in the General Assembly is unacceptable; he must resign for his sexist and racist remarks,” Mr. Chick wrote in an email Monday.
Rep. Brady also will complete sensitivity training and “work to make amends with the Asian American community,” his statement read. Both of those actions were requested by House Democratic leadership.
“I will use this as an opportunity to heal the wounds that my words have created,” Rep. Brady’s statement said. “I will continue to work tirelessly to address the issues impacting my constituents as well as the citizens of Delaware.”
House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach; Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear; and Majority Whip Larry Mitchell, D-Elsmere, also issued a joint statement Monday, in which the House leaders were supportive of the decisions outlined in Rep. Brady’s letter, noting that they come after “several very frank conversations with him these past few days.”
“We know that it cannot absolve his actions, but we hope it is a first step toward healing and addressing this situation,” the statement read.
“We want to be clear about something we have heard from residents this past week: As a duly elected official, only Rep. Brady can make a decision about his political future. House leadership cannot unilaterally take action,” it added.
That’s not true, however.
According to The Associated Press, Rep. Schwartzkopf, Rep. Longhurst and Rep. Mitchell are members of the House Ethics Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Longhurst and includes Republican Minority Leader Danny Short of Seaford and Minority Whip Tim Dukes of Laurel. House rules authorize the committee to investigate complaints that a lawmaker has violated the rules of legislative conduct.
Among the rules of legislative conduct: “A member shall not engage in conduct which the House determines (i) brings the House into disrepute or (ii) reflects adversely on the member’s fitness to hold legislative office.”
Committee rules state that any House member, including any member of the committee, can file a complaint. If a majority of the committee decides that the complaint has been proven, the committee can then, again by majority vote, recommend that the House take “appropriate action,” up to and including expulsion of the offending lawmaker.
Mr. Chick, however, called the Democratic Party’s “failure to demand” Rep. Brady’s resignation another example of the party failing to hold its members accountable. He referenced Sen. Darius Brown, D-Wilmington, and Rep. Andria Bennett, D-Dover. Sen. Brown was arrested on two misdemeanor charges related to an alleged domestic dispute in late May. Rep. Bennett was charged with third-degree assault in 2020; however, the charge was dropped by the victim two months ago.
Both Sen. Brown and Rep. Bennett continue to hold their respective offices.
The House leadership’s statement also addressed Delaware’s Asian American community.
“We truly apologize for the hurt, anger and mistrust this past week has caused you,” the statement read. “We are keenly aware of the growth in anti-Asian hatred during this past year, and the last thing anyone should have to experience on top of that is one of their elected representatives dehumanizing them as a joke. It’s appalling, and we must expect better.”
Despite describing Rep. Brady’s remarks as “reprehensible, racist, sexist and indefensible,” Democratic leaders indicated that, instead of an Ethics Committee investigation, they would make sensitivity training available to all members of the House.
“While we do not believe our colleagues harbor such views, (sensitivity training) would be beneficial for them to learn of any microaggressions or other attitudes or actions that negatively impact the Asian American community, and how we all can take steps to improve our relationships with the community,” the statement from House leadership read.
The statement also noted that House leadership is “committed to making amends” and to show by its actions that “we are better than the words of one member.”
“We hope that over time, we can regain the trust of the community and work together to ensure a better and brighter future for all Delawareans.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.