The political climate continues to get partisan ugly in New Mexico, as Republican governor Susana Martinez faces a re-election bid this November. A few weeks ago, her Democratic opponent Gary King used a quote from Dolores Huerta to suggest that the nation’s only Latina governor lacks a “Latino heart.”
Now a new local story pretty much steeped in politics is beginning to make the rounds in New Mexico. In essence, the state’s local LULAC chapter has gone on record to state the following (full PDF can be accessed here):
The New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens (NM LULAC) recently received a copy of Press Release and “Administrative Investigative Report” issued earlier today by the 3rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office. This investigation provided preliminary findings of apparent willful destruction of computer hard drives. It also reported that several months worth of emails (public documents) were intentionally removed or deleted during the Orlando and Martinez Administrations. However, some of the sent emails during the Orlando tenure were in fact recovered by IT technicians.
After reviewing the entire investigation report, we were particularly appalled by an email authored by the former District Attorney, Amy Orlando. This is regarding one of the documents attached in this subject report identified as Document Number 5. This is an email communication that was sent by Ms. Amy Orlando, former District Attorney and presently the General Counsel for the New Mexico Public Safety Department. It was written on November 8, 2010, at 7:08 pm. This email was in response to another email Ms. Orlando received requesting help in the planning of a victory party for Governor- Elect Susana Martinez. Orlando responded unequivocally that the Governor desired to have a black and white with a hint of Susan Coleman pink-“No Mexican Affair!!”
We believe that this communication was inappropriate. It was demeaning and inflammatory towards the Hispanic community, particularly Mexican Americans.
The statement continues:
“We are at a complete loss as to why Governor Martinez condones this type of behavior? The Governor’s staff has consistently displayed a callous and cavalier attitude towards the Hispanic community, which has been blatant and overtly disrespectful. In case and point with regards to Matt Kennicott, former senior campaign staff member was recorded making those hurtful demeaning comments against our beloved and esteemed late NM Speaker of the House, Ben R. Lujan. Kennicott made reference that the Speaker was eloquent in Spanish, but sounding like an ‘F-ing retard’ in English. Instead of apologizing for this type of behavior, Governor Martinez promoted these individuals who demean and mock us”, stated Past State Director Paul “Pablo” A. Martinez.
Accordingly to the Immediate Past State Director and President of the Hispanic Round Table (HRT), Ralph Arellanes, “this communication was evidently implied or supported by the Governor. She cries foul when others question her commitment to her community. Apparently, her ethnicity is only important to her when she is running for office. We are disturbed that this has become an accepted culture in her Administration. We are disappointed if Governor Martinez in fact implied her embarrassment or lack of desire for a ‘Mexican Affair’ ”.
An image of that email is also circulating online:
Here is one local report:
That report contains a statement from Orlando:
The email is taken grossly out-of-context. The question being discussed at the time was the theme of one particular inaugural event and whether it would be a southwestern affair, black-tie affair, Mexican-American affair, etc. The Governor-elect stated this event should be a black-tie affair, as it would follow one of the children’s balls, and I certainly wasn’t quoting her verbatim.
Gov. Martínez’s campaign also went on record:
Jessica Hernandez, Martinez’ deputy chief of staff, also said the email was taken out of context.
“The term, ‘Mexican affair’ is one you can find, a lot of professionals use it to describe a theme of a particular decor or food-theme for parties,” Hernandez said.
She said the Governor wanted the overall theme of the inaugural ball to be a black-tie event, but she also had rooms with different themes, including a Hispanic heritage room.
“She is extremely proud of her heritage, proud to be first female Hispanic governor in the United States, and I think that has come through,” Hernandez said.
In a separate blog post from the LULAC statement, Pablo Martinez does not shy away from his intense disapproval of Gov. Martinez:
Her administration treats Hispanic and Native American Tribal leaders with complete contempt and disrespect. This has nothing to do with partisanship. Our community expected more from her because she is Hispanic and should be aware of the fact that she was elected with the help of naïve Democrats and Hispanics. Both former Republican Governors Gary Johnson and Gary Carruthers displayed a cordial attitude and did reach out to our community. She has made minimal Hispanic appointments to boards and commissions. There are several qualified Hispanic Republicans in New Mexico. The only jobs that she has created are afforded to out of state contractors that employ their staff and offer little opportunity to the local work forces.
Pablo Martinez’s post ends like this:
She has not done anything for our community. We continue to be at the bottom of the barrel or totem pole in every category. She caters to the extreme right wing of her party, which totally alienates the Hispanic community, by blocking them from participating in the Republican Party. This has many Republican Party leaders concerned and excluded.
The question is will her last name, “Martinez”, make a difference in the election this November with Hispanic voters? Will there be apathy in our community, which may cause a lower voter turnout? Can Gary King depend on the Hispanic senior citizens that were fond and loyal to the King name? If there is a lower Hispanic turnout, will this help or hurt either candidate? Unfortunately, the people that complain the most are those that seldom or never vote. The Hispanic community needs to consider who best represents their interests and values. If we vote for Susana because her last name is Martinez, or just because she is Latina, will that get you and fellow New Mexicans better health care, education, jobs, public safety and better economy? Will she ever acknowledge our community by even giving us at least a crumb? Will we continue down the same path of being very last in every area in comparison to other states? Will she continue to allow outside influences to run our state? Will her cronies continue to mock and demean us and treat us like second class citizens because some of us speak with an accent? Will she continue to over look qualified native New Mexicans for positions within her government? If we give her a second change will that make her less vindictive or will it give her the fuel necessary to reign with impunity? When we talk about having a “Latino or Latina heart” this means for one to at least gives back to the people that helped them or to take care of people because they are New Mexicans, voters, constituents and because it is the right thing to do. This question first raised by Dolores Huerta was in fact questioning what has Governor Martínez done for the Latino community and just because she is Hispanic does not mean she has our interest at heart.
The latest polls have Martinez up by 12 points against King.