CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – A State Delegate and his business are under fire after a Facebook post made after a Vigil in Huntington.
Del. John Mandt Jr, (R-Cabell) wrote in the Facebook post in part “Anything Muslim is going to be associated with Democrats. It’s better to stay away than be associated with them.” Mandt was talking about a vigil held in Huntington to honor the lives lost in a mass shooting in New Zealand.
“No matter your beliefs but to come out so publically and disparagingly in the face of a vigil that was literally meant for no other reason than to give remembrance to those who were massacred,” said Community Activist and former political candidate Dakota Nelson.
Mandt says he was never against the vigil itself but worried about one organization he believed would attend.
“I wasn’t against the vigil at all, I was worried about who may show up,” said Mandt.
An organizer for the event, Barbara Garnett said in a statement to 13 News, “His lies about me and our event were attempts to defame and discredit. Nothing more, nothing less. Attempts to label me as a terrorist are nothing short of ridiculous. As a member of the state government, my belief is that Mr. Mandt should be held to a higher standard. At the very least he should not be involved in spreading lies or creating division in our community. Our event was amazing and exactly what this country needs – bringing diverse groups together in unity. Mr. Mandt seems to believe that we should be divided, not united. I reject that belief.”
Now, over 700 people have signed an online petition calling for Marshall University to cut ties with Stewart’s Original Hot Dogs, Del. Mandt’s business.
“What we’re looking for is a statement from Marshall and or Sodexo that there will not be a renewal of this contract,” said Nelson.
Del. Mandt says he has not heard from Marshall University or Sodexo. Marshall University did confirm the petition was sent to Sodexo.
Del. Mandt told 13 News he plans to run for reelection in 2020 and this situation has fueled his decision to do so.