In a recently surfaced audio recording of Westover officials from last fall, city attorney Tim Stranko is heard referring to Delegate Danielle Walker, the state’s only Black woman legislator, in misogynistic and racist terms.

Stranko was speaking with two law enforcement officers and a city councilperson in the recording. It’s the latest in a series of incidents where government officials in West Virginia are caught engaging in bigotry when they think no one else is listening.

Two years ago, it was prison guard trainees giving a Nazi salute. Last year it was Delegate John Mandt using overtly homophobic language in a group message. Now it’s the Westover city attorney calling Delegate Walker a b**** and making light of the violent systemic racism she was protesting.

This speaks volumes about the culture among so many of our decision-makers and law enforcement officials. How can public servants actually serve people they call derisive names? How can they address systemic racism when they can’t even accept its existence?

It’s past time for West Virginia voters to wake up and vote bigots out of office. The status quo will remain in place until we do.