By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, known for his colorful language, said he got a phone call from a journalist from Mexico inquiring why he had filed legislation to rename the Gulf of Mexico the Gulf of America.
Holland said after explaining the satirical point he was trying to make, the journalist said, “You’re my friend.”
As of late Thursday afternoon, Holland’s satire was still lost on many throughout the nation. A Google search of Holland’s name, for instance, revealed a Fox News account citing many Latino groups as being critical of Holland.
Holland said he had received phone calls from several national news outlets, and had stopped taking them.
“It was something I did to show in my way of thinking how silly some of the issues the new majority is pushing, such as illegal immigration, drug testing of the poor and disabled and the assault of public education.
“It was my Spamalot bill of 2012,” Holland said referring to the satirical musical.
Holland was chair of the powerful Public Health Committee when Democrats held a majority. With Republicans now in the majority, he is not a committee chair and was removed from the Public Health Committee where he had served since coming to the Legislature in 1984.
According to the Fox website, Bob Quasius, president of a Republican Latino organization, sent Holland a letter saying, “If this bill passes the Legislature and is signed into law, perhaps it is time to rename the Mississippi River. After all, sharing a name with a state that wants to rewrite maps out of disdain for Mexicans would be a disgrace to the rest of the nation.”
Quasius said the Lincoln River would be a suitable alternative.
Holland was among a handful of House members in 2011 to oppose legislation similar to what is known as the Arizona law that forces local law enforcement to check the immigration status of people they suspect are in the country illegally.