Rapid City businessman, Piedmont resident, and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Lowe submits this letter to the editor speaking directly to Rep. Betty Olson about her "sense of humor" about Muslims. He's not joking.

Representative Betty Olson’s remarks are racist and disgusting. Now that it has created a media storm, she claims it was only a joke. Face the facts: you are a racist. You are unfit to represent the people of South Dakota.

Your “jokes” focus around Muslims filling jobs like cab drivers, motel clerks, and other menial paying jobs. According to a Pew 2007 study, Muslim Americans generally mirror the U.S. public in education and income. In fact, 24% of all Muslim Americans and 29% of immigrant Muslims have college degrees, compared to 25% for the U.S. population. 41% of all Muslim Americans and 45% of immigrant Americans report annual incomes of $50,000 or higher. This compares to the national average of 44%. Immigrant Muslims are well represented among higher wage earners in this country. 19% of immigrant Americans claim annual household incomes of $100,000. This is due to the many Muslim professionals in this country. You must have not known this.

Your comments also offend the millions of Muslims in our country and act as a great recruiting tool for the enemy—ISIS. Do the citizens of the state a favor and step down from office.

Joe Lowe
Piedmont

[links added; Joe Lowe, letter to the editor, 2014.10.08]

It's good to hear a prominent West River voice raised against Rep. Olson's racist remarks. I doubt we'll hear any Republicans call for Olson's resignation, but could we at least hear some due criticism? Governor Dennis Daugaard wasn't afraid to step out and call GOP Senator Phil Jensen's comments about the Ku Klux Klan and the free market "completely out of line with South Dakota values." Rep. Bett Olson's comments are at least as insensitive and politically wrong-headed, and deserve similar disdain.