Governor Martinez’s recorded candid remarks have made big news across the country today. The audio clips (hear them here) capture Martinez candidly discussing her distaste for teachers, and belittling then-Speaker Ben Ray Lujan.
Speaker Lujan passed away in late 2012. He left behind a large family, including his son, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, and wife Carmen.
Ms. Carmen Lujan offered this statement today on word of Governor Martinez’s remarks against her late husband:
Carmen Lujan Statement on Offensive remarks by Governor Susana Martinez’s Staff
“When I read and heard the audio from Governor Martinez’s staff this morning it crushed my heart. I called my family in tears and felt sick to my stomach.
Why would someone be so cruel and disrespectful? Ben committed his life to helping people, even while fighting cancer – people always came first. He had an incredible mind and heart. This makes me so sad.
He was a life long champion of working people, he used his voice and his words to make a difference.
But these cruel words by Matt, are not just about Ben, they hurt and attack the people of our State. Anyone who speaks with an accent, anyone who speaks Spanglish and uses both English and Spanish to communicate was attacked by the governor’s staff.
It was not easy to speak up and put this together, but someone has to.”
UPDATE (5:15pm): Congressman Ben Ray Lujan offers this statement as well:
Rep. Luján Statement on Offensive Comments by Gov. Martinez and Her Staff
Santa Fe, NM – After visiting with his family today, Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District released the following statement after a news story by Mother Jones reported on offensive comments made by Governor Martinez and her staff about Speaker Ben Luján and other New Mexican elected officials.
“These disrespectful comments about Speaker Luján and my fellow New Mexicans are appalling and disgraceful. It is sad that a Martinez official believes that New Mexicans who speak with a Spanish accent have a disability or that they use such disparaging terms. It is troubling that Governor Martinez has allowed a culture in which these comments and other offensive remarks by her staff are deemed acceptable.
“It is deeply disappointing that instead of speaking out against this offensive language, Governor Martinez has tolerated it and even rewarded this type of behavior by making this individual a spokesman in her administration.
“The decision by Governor Martinez to surround herself with staff like this speaks volumes about her leadership and character. It sends a message that this behavior is acceptable. Using such derogatory terms for women or those who interchange English and Spanish when they speak should not be tolerated.
“As I, like so many across New Mexico, prepare to celebrate Easter – a time to be with family and loved ones – it is personally disappointing and sad to hear these comments about Dad. My mother and family are genuinely hurt and offended by what was said. My father was a proud New Mexican who embraced his culture, his language, and his community. As a blue collar worker his whole life, Dad’s hardwork, determination, and intelligence enabled him to rise to the highest ranks in New Mexico’s government. I hope his example will inspire others who have faced this kind of disparaging rhetoric across New Mexico and across the country.”
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