TOPEKA — The lieutenant colonel of the 77th Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol in Emporia has resigned after comments he made on social media sparked controversy this week.
“Jonathan Holder, commander of a Civil Air Patrol squadron in Emporia, Kansas, resigned from his command following recent public comments he made about a state legislator,” read a statement issued by the Civil Air Patrol. “Holder has since been suspended from his Civil Air Patrol membership, pending further investigation, as is standard procedure in such situations. CAP does not condone such behavior from its members, especially one in a leadership position.”
Holder wrote in a Facebook post: “This bitch needs to swing from a tree for violating her oath” referring to a state lawmaker. The comment was in reaction to her introducing a bill that would undo a law allowing concealed weapons on college campuses starting in July.
Reached at his workplace, Holder affirmed he was the person who posted the message earlier this month, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports. Holder said in the initial post, which has since been removed, that he was offended that Republican Rep. Stephanie Clayton, of Overland Park — a graduate of Emporia State University — proposed legislation that would undermine his constitutional rights.
Overland Park Police Officer John Lacy told the AP the case remains under investigation. No charges have been filed.
Holder didn’t immediately respond to an email or phone message from the Associated Press. But he reasserted his position Monday in a Facebook message, saying “I stand by what I said and frankly don’t care who doesn’t like it.”
As the commander of a squadron based at a Kansas National Guard Armory in Emporia, Holder is among the adult mentors responsible for promoting integrity and self-discipline among cadets as young as 12.
Kansas Adjutant General’s Department spokeswoman Katie Horner said the agency “does not condone the statements.” The department oversees the Air Patrol’s budget but not its operations. Col. Linette Lahan of the Civil Air Patrol didn’t immediately respond to an email from the AP.
Clayton’s bill faces an uncertain future given enthusiasm among many legislators and Gov. Sam Brownback for legislation that affirms the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Brownback signed the conceal-carry law that Clayton seeks to modify. An opponent of Clayton’s bill, Rep. John Whitmer, R-Wichita, said the measure was “dead on arrival.”
Holder served as commander of the 77th Composite Squadron, which meets at the Kansas National Guard Armory in Emporia. He has been a member of CAP since Sept. 19, 2001.
The 77th Composite Squadron consists of 15 members — 10 senior officers and five cadets. There are more than 450 Civil Air Patrol members in the Kansas Wing at 13 locations across the state. The wing was credited with four search and rescue finds in 2016 and participated in three other state support missions.