Mississippi State Rep. Steve Holland has had a busy afternoon. After we reported his introduction of H.B. 150 yesterday, a bill that aims to rename the Gulf of Mexico the very pro-'Merican, Onion-worthy title "Gulf of America," the Democrat's office has been flooded with press calls to respond to, essentially, "what the hell are you doing?"
Turns out Holland has a bit of a goof streak going on. He called Gambit to tell us the bill is his tongue-in-cheek single-finger salute to mock his Republican peers obsessed with illegal immigration.
"That's exactly what it is," he says. He's throwing the bill into session with his Republican counterparts, who he says should be focused on helping "feed, clothe and educate children, take care of older adults, provide economic development and high systems in this state, and all the hell they want to talk about is running illegal immigrants out, and drug testing welfare and Medicaid recipients — all superfluous crap as far as I'm concerned. So I thought I'd just join them with a bill to chew on, saying the Gulf of America instead of the Gulf of Mexico, since everything Mexican and Hispanic is 'so bad.' Nothing but a 'spamalot' bill is all it is. Tongue-in-cheek."
Despite his ruse, he's drawn ire from Café Con Leche, a GOP group of Minnesota Latinos who demanded Holland withdraw the bill, which the group dubs anti-Mexican. Café Con Leche suggested Holland rename the Mississippi River “Lincoln River,” while he’s at it. But his home state hasn't peeped yet.
"Nobody in Mississippi has responded, but I've been responding to phone calls all over the world," Holland says. "Maybe I didn't think about it, but hell, I've been here 29 years, I got to try and have some fun as best I can with all these jerks."
Speaking of fun, you might catch Holland at Mardi Gras.
"I'm coming into New Orleans the week after next to raise hell," he says. "Just time to have my New Orleans fix. I go once a quarter. I love it."