KANSAS CITY, Mo (Reuters) - Petitions bearing some 55,000 signatures were delivered to the Kansas Capitol on Friday calling for the resignation of a legislator who suggested that illegal immigrants be shot like wild hogs.
People from several organizations brought signatures gathered online at Presente.org, a national Latino advocacy group that has condemned remarks made by Rep. Virgil Peck on March 14 at a House committee meeting.
The committee was discussing whether to fund the use of helicopters to locate and shoot feral hogs, which farmers said harm crops.
"Looks to me, if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a (solution) to our illegal immigration problem," Peck, a Republican from a rural district, said at the committee meeting.
Peck's remarks set off a nationwide uproar among Latino organizations. Peck later apologized in a prepared statement but said he did not plan to resign. Peck did not return a call today seeking comment.
The Presente.org website say today that 55,276 people have petitioned for the resignation.
Peck's remarks were embarrassing to the state, said Louis Goseland, lead organizer of Sunflower Community Action Group in Wichita, Kansas. Sunflower members helped deliver the petitions today.
"Representative Peck's comments don't reflect the mindset of our state," Goseland said. "They have no place in the halls of government."
Some of the petitions were delivered to the office of Gov. Sam Brownback, an aide said. Brownback, a Republican, has criticized Peck's comments but has not called for his resignation.
Goseland said Brownback should join the resignation call.
"To denounce Peck's comments is one thing," Goseland said. "But to take action is a strong stance against this kind of rhetoric."
The Kansas House Democratic Causus, which includes party leaders, has also called for his resignation.
(Writing by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Greg McCune)