Wednesday, May 5, 2004

State legislator Buck draws fire for use of term "wetback"

"At the committee meeting that sparked controversy, Buck had said, 'Obviously, if they're a wetback in this country illegally, they're not going to have any identification.' He also said, 'The reason they assume the risk of being a wetback is they do really good work.'"

"He apologized later in the day when a reporter asked him about the incident."

"'I may have gotten carried away,' Buck said. 'I'm brash, but I'm not as bad as I may appear. … I didn't know that word was offensive.'"

"Buck said at the meeting yesterday that migrant workers from Mexico kept the economy going in his agricultural district."

"'You couldn't harvest a crop without Mexican help,' he said."

"Renata Soto, director of the Hispanic-serving agency Conexion Americas, was at the hearing. She said Buck's choice of the term 'was not a good word to describe the people who have come to improve their quality of life.' However, Soto applauded Buck's remarks in which he praised the contributions of Hispanic workers in his district."

The Tennessean, WATE, WKRN, WREG, WMC-TV

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