- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - The relatively uncontroversial step of naming a post office took an odd turn in the House as nine Republicans balked at putting Maya Angelou’s name on the building.

The House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday - 371-9 - to name a post office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for the celebrated poet, author and civil rights activist, who died in 2014.

Republican Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Ken Buck of Colorado, Michael Burgess of Texas, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin, Andy Harris of Maryland, Tom Massie of Kentucky, Alex Mooney of West Virginia and Steve Palazzo of Mississippi voted no. Rep. Don Young of Alaska voted present.

A press secretary for Harris explained that he voted against the naming because Angelou was “a communist sympathizer.”

“His parents escaped communism and he feels that he cannot vote to name a post office in the United States in honor of someone who supported the communist Castro revolution in Cuba,” said Shelby Hodgkins. “Who’s next to get a post office? Jane Fonda?”

The vote drew the ire of New York Democratic Rep. Steve Israel.

“The fact that these nine members would cast a no vote shows a blatant disrespect and only adds to the damaging actions they’ve taken this year to reverse progress from long and hard-fought civil rights battles,” Israel said in a statement.

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