Maryland Rep. Andy Harris became the center of controversy on Tuesday when he voted with eight of his Republican colleagues against naming a post office after poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.
Because post office naming votes are usually routine matters in the House, the split vote picked up national attention for Harris, the only Republican representing Maryland in Congress. First elected in 2010, Harris is the son of immigrants who fled communist Eastern Europe immediately after World War II.
"She supported the Communist revolution in Cuba, and my parents escaped a communist country," Harris said of Angelou in an interview on Tuesday. "I'm not voting for someone who supported the communists."
The vote was 307 to 9 in supporting of renaming the post office, which is located in North Carolina. Angelou called Winston-Salem home for decades and is buried there.