ADEM Director Steps Down After E-Mail

July 30, 2003 - Posted at: 3:00 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas' top emergency official has resigned after apologizing to Governor Huckabee for e-mailing a poem making fun of immigrants and welfare recipients to each of his 66 employees.

The governor's office said today that it accepted W.R. "Bud'' Harper's apology and resignation from the job of director of the state Department of Emergency Management.

Huckabee's office said it was important for all Arkansans to feel respected and to be treated with dignity. The governor said the forwarded e-mail was "neither humorous nor acceptable.''

Harper, who was appointed by the governor in 1997, wasn't immediately available for comment.

He acknowledged yesterday that he sent his employees the e-mail, saying he thought it was humorous. He said he received the poem, titled "Illegal Poem,'' from another person over the e-mail.

Among the poem's lines are "Welfare checks, they make you wealthy, Medicaid it keep you healthy.''

Another line accuses immigrants of bilking the system. It says "By and by, I got plenty of money, Thanks to you American dummy.''

The nine-stanza, 36-line poem is followed by a request for recipients to "send this to every American taxpayer you know.''

Harper has said the poem does not reflect his own beliefs.

The governor's office said Harper offered an apology and resignation last night.

Jack Dubose, who recently retired from the agency, will serve as interim director until a permanent director can be named.

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