Custer remark causes a stir, Sandra Jeff weighs in saying, “we need to focus on the real issues”
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A failed attempt at humor from a lobbyist and active member of the Republican National Committee caused a stir over the weekend when the e-mail was published that featured a remark about Gov. Susana Martinez attending a tribal-state summit in Mescalero earlier this summer and how George Armstrong Custer might have reacted.
Rep. Sandra Jeff (D-Crownpoint), who is a member of the Navajo Nation, said that while she was offended by Rogers’ comment, “We need to focus on the real issues before us, [such as] jobs and the economy” and gave her support to Gov. Martinez.
The Rogers e-mail was acquired by the liberal political and anti-Martinez group Independent Source PAC, which has managed to obtain a number of embarrassing e-mails from Rogers addressed to apparently inactive e-mail accounts of members of the governor’s staff and has leaked them to the media in the past few months.
The e-mail released Friday was sent in June of this year and referred to an Associated Press story recounting how Martinez took part in an annual meeting with tribal leaders in the state. Rogers wrote, “The state is going to hell. Col. Weh would not have dishonored Col. Custer in his manner. I hope whoever recommended this is required to read the entire redist transcript and sit through the entire meeting with the Gov.”
Col. Weh is in reference to Allen Weh, whom Martinez defeated in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary and “the entire redist transcript” presumably refers to the lengthy legal fight that accompanied the state’s redistricting battle to redraw boundaries for elections for the next 10 years.
“I made a poor attempt at humor in a private email, and it’s being twisted by a partisan group,” Rogers told the Albuquerque Journal on Saturday (Aug. 25). “I certainly intended no offense, but I do apologize.”
Rep. Jeff wrote to Capitol Report New Mexico on Saturday afternoon (Aug. 25), weighing in on the matter:
Governor Martinez understands diversity and the need to help all people in New Mexico. Recently, her administration heard the pleas of three Navajo communities to save their schools and we are thankful to her. She traveled to our neighborhood many times to hear us and to encourage good life among all New Mexicans, including the Native Americans.
With regard to the e-mail in question, I was personally offended by that e-mail, but the fact is the administration is no more responsible for the content of e-mail received from someone outside the administration than a legislator is responsible for the content of e-mail received from constituents or lobbyists.
In the final analysis, I am focused on things that cause permanent damage to Native Americans’ future. We are in the 21st century, yet we are still dealing with insensitivity. We need to focus on the real issues before us, jobs and the economy. I will continue to advocate working in a bipartisan matter in all issues related to my constituents and the state of New Mexico.
Chandler Sanchez, the chairman of New Mexico’s All Indian Pueblo Council, meanwhile, has called for Rogers to be removed from his Republican National Committeeman post. Sanchez told the Journal that Rogers’ line was “racist in tone.”
But Pojoaque Pueblo Gov. George Rivera reacted in much the same way as Rep. Jeff. “To put it in a nutshell, Pat Rogers deserves whatever he gets for writing something like that, but others [like the governor and her staff] should not be categorized as being accomplices in the writing of that,” Rivera told the Journal.
Posted under Capitol Report.
Tags: Albuquerque Journal, All Indian Pueblo Council, Allen Weh, Capitol Report New Mexico, George Armstrong Custer, George Rivera, Independent Source PAC, Pat Rogers, Pojoaque Pueblo, Sandra Jeff, Susana Martinez