Republican State Representative David Stringer — currently facing calls for his resignation over racist comments — once allegedly made an anti-Semitic remark during an argument with an education professor, according to a Facebook post by the professor.
Alison Conant described the alleged incident in a Facebook post on July 8, 2017, about a month before she started working as an assistant clinical professor of education at Northern Arizona University.
That day, Conant alleged, Stringer pointed at a Star of David necklace she was wearing in a demeaning manner.
“It was the first time I felt someone trying to belittle me for who I am. It took me back,” Conant said in a phone interview. “I don’t want to see the worst in everybody, but this man is dangerous.”
Former New Times reporter Antonia Noori Farzan previously mentioned Conant’s social media post in a rundown of Stringer’s history with racism.
The alleged incident gained renewed relevance on Tuesday when Prescott City Councilmember Alexa Scholl referred to it before voting on a resolution calling for Stringer’s resignation over racist comments he made last month. The resolution passed 6 to 1.
Stringer did not respond to request for comment.
Stringer allegedly made the comments that day during a picnic at Watson Lake hosted by the Yavapai County Bar Association. Stringer, a Prescott Republican, showed up to the picnic with then-Prescott mayoral candidate Mary Hrin, multiple attendees confirmed to Phoenix New Times.
The State Representative allegedly approached a table seating six people, including Conant. Because of her background as a national board certified teacher, Conant said she engaged Stringer in a conversation about public education. (Stringer previously drew controversy for telling a group of teachers that their jobs don’t require a special skill set.) The conversation grew heated, according to Conant’s Facebook group.
Another person at the table at one point told Stringer, “You really don’t know who you are speaking to,” referring to Conant.
That’s when Stringer allegedly pointed at Conant’s Star of David necklace and said, “I know exactly who I am speaking to. I see the San Francisco t-shirt with the peace sign and that…. that…. that…Star of David. Oh, I know exactly who I am speaking to. She’s advertising it!”
Conant’s husband, Jonathan Conant, subsequently confronted Stringer.
“I said, ‘What did you just say?'” Conant told New Times in a phone interview. “He repeated it, and that’s when I had to pull him aside.”
Precott councilmember Scholl, then attending picnic as a candidate, said Conant and Stringer engaged in an altercation in which they were “pretty close to each other, face-to-face with raised voices, going back and forth.” Scholl said they did not get physical.
Scholl was among the six Prescott officials, including city councilmembers and the mayor, who voted on Tuesday for a resolution to call for Stringer’s resignation over racist remarks. Before voting for the resolution, Scholl cited a “personal experience” with Stringer expressing bigoted views. She later told New Times that she was referring to the incident between Stringer and Conant.
Stringer is currently facing a drumbeat of calls for his resignation over racist comments he made that were published by New Times on Friday. In an audio recording, Stringer can be heard telling Arizona State University students that African Americans “don’t blend in,” among other racist remarks.
The comments have prompted multiple Republican and Democratic leaders to call for his resignation. On Tuesday, Republican House Speaker-elect Rusty Bowers removed Stringer from two committee assignments, after already removing him as chair of the now-dissolved House Sentencing and Recidivism Reform Committee.
Here’s a recap of the controversy:
In Latest Racist Remarks, Rep. David Stringer Says Black People Don’t ‘Blend In’
Rep. David Stringer Wrote White Nationalist Column in 2017
Prescott City Council Calls on State Rep. Stringer to Resign For Racist Comments
David Stringer Stripped of Two More Committee Roles After Racist Comments
Correction: A previous version of this piece incorrectly stated that Alison Conant was a Northern Arizona University professor at the time of her argument with David Stringer. In fact, Conant did not start working at NAU until about a month later.