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SMITHFIELD (AP) -- An Isle of Wight County official says he won't resign after coming under fire for sending emails that critics have called racially offensive.

County school board member Herbert DeGroft apologized again Tuesday for the emails that targeted first lady Michelle Obama. One claimed National Geographic offered the first lady $50 to pose nude.

DeGroft and county Board of Supervisors member Byron Bailey, who are white, had forwarded the emails but didn't create them.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the state NAACP and other community leaders had called for the men to resign.

Both had previously apologized. Bailey had already said he wouldn't resign. DeGroft had previously considered resigning.

In an email statement Tuesday, DeGroft said stupidity does not excuse his thoughtlessness in forwarding the emails and has asked for forgiveness.

He made a similar statement in an email to 13News anchor Janet Roach.

Email to Janet:
Janet,
Leaders at all levels make mistakes.....good leaders learn from their mistakes......become better leaders.......my objective. Stupidity in the fwdg of fwd'd inappropriate e-mails does not excuse the thoughtlessness in doing so. I have publically sincerely apologized and humbly asked for forgiveness in our community......I think from the responses it has been accepted and forgiveness given.
As an officeholder I have not violated the statute for which an elected official can be removed from office. I am not resigning for being stupid. If 'stupid' was grounds for removal from public office as someone said last week, then there would be no public officeholders.
I've enjoyed working with my fellow citizens and government bd members. I will continue to do as I have over the past 30 yrs, working to help folks w/out regard to race, sex, creed, etc., get justice (a fair shake) when they need that help. Folks in our community know the 'real' Herb.
I've made and will continue to make decisions based on the facts as they are made known on any issue that comes to our Bd for a decision.
Best wishes to you, LaSalle, Sandra and the rest of the morning crew.
Yours, Herb

AP-WF-06-04-13 1906GMT

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