Sen. Kerry Roberts

State Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield. (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Republican Tennessee lawmaker says he was clearly joking when he called in a radio broadcast for the abolishment of higher education in order to cut off the "liberal breeding ground."

However, Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield said in a statement Tuesday that he stands behind his critique of liberal arts education in America "one hundred percent."

Roberts initially spoke in favor of eliminating higher education while speaking about attending a recent abortion legislative hearing on his conservative radio talk show on Sept. 2. The comments were floated on social media by The Tennessee Holler, a progressive-leaning organization. Roberts has since said his listeners understood it was hyperbole.

The Republican lawmaker says conservatives should demand balance in higher education institutions and that "leftist policies" are growing more aggressive.


ORIGINAL STORY:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Republican Tennessee lawmaker says he supports getting rid of higher education because he argues it would cut off the "liberal breeding ground."

Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield called for eliminating higher education while speaking about attending a recent abortion legislative hearing on his conservative radio talk show on Sept. 2.

Roberts specifically called out one activist who testified in favor of protecting abortion rights. He asserted without evidence that the woman's beliefs were a "product of higher education" and claimed that getting rid of higher education would "save America."

The senator did not immediately respond to a request for further elaboration.

Roberts also questioned funding higher education with tax dollars. He voted in favor of the state's $38.5 billion budget earlier this year, which included money for colleges and universities.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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