ROCHESTER, N.H. — A local state representative became the punchline of one of Stephen Colbert’s many political jokes recently, as the talk show host mockingly praised him as one of the GOP’s rising stars.
Rep. Kyle Jones, 20, of Rochester, was featured on a Feb. 28 episode of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” for his stance on HB 1574, which would repeal the requirement that an employer grant an employee a half-hour lunch break after five hours of work.
On the show, Colbert said Jones is “such a fiscal conservative he is as frugal as a twenty-something living with his parents,” before pointing out Jones, in fact, does live with his parents, including his mother, fellow state Rep. Laura Jones.
Colbert mocked Jones’ stance on the lunch-break bill, quoting him as saying the mandatory lunch break law is an easy one to follow and unnecessary as most employers already follow it.
“Exactly, you do not need the laws that everybody follows,” Colbert quipped during the segment. “That’s why there’s no law against cannibalism.”
Colbert also shared some big ideas for Jones if he ever makes it to the White House, suggesting he reword the United States Constitution to read, “We the people … got it, thanks.”
Local Democrats were quick to turn the joke around on the Republicans, saying the feature on The Colbert Report is another example of ridiculous lawmaking by local Tea Party and GOP legislators.
“(House Speaker) Bill O’Brien and his Tea Party minions are turning New Hampshire into a national punchline,” state Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley said in a fundraising email. “Barely a day goes by when a national cable network isn’t finding something outrageous done by the Republican Legislature to roll their eyes at.”
The state Democratic Party also tweeted about the episode soon after it aired, pointing followers to a clip of the show with the hashtag, #gopclowncar.
Despite this negative attention, however, Jones said Monday night he has been able to laugh about the ordeal.
“It doesn’t really get old seeing yourself on national television,” he said, laughing. “I thought it was pretty funny actually, at least some people got laughs out of it.”
Jones said he does not regularly watch the show, but many of his friends do, so he heard about his mention on the show very soon after it aired.
Still, while Jones said he thought the segment was humorous, he clarified his stance on the lunch break bill, which was recently amended to not eliminate the law entirely but to increase the number of hours an employee can work in order to receive a lunch break from five hours to six.
“I’m not against lunch breaks, I think they’re really important and any employer who does not give their employees breaks probably shouldn’t be in business,” he said. “But 31 other states don’t have a lunch-break law on the books. It’s common sense and I just thought it was unnecessary.”
The amended bill, which passed through a House committee recently, is expected to be heard on the state House floor this week.
© 2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services