In no uncertain terms, Española Mayor Javier Sánchez issued a message Thursday in response to the ousted Republican Party of New Mexico official who bad-mouthed his city on the radio.
“Making disparaging remarks about any category, class or race of people belittles the offender more than it does the actual targeted group. Particularly when it comes to the people of Española. Because you don’t know who you’re messing with. We are thick skinned, resilient and self-aware enough to dismiss those kinds of comments,” Sánchez wrote about the derogatory remarks made by Taylor Locker, who served as the GOP’s vice chairman of the 1st Congressional District until he was expelled by the party’s executive committee this week.
Sánchez, a Republican in a city that has long been a Democratic stronghold, wrote he’s glad the party “acted swiftly” in removing Locker from his leadership post.
“With the growing ease in people’s tongues to disparage the city of Española, we must stay vigilant and strong to lead by example,” Sánchez wrote in a letter posted on his mayoral Facebook page and sent to The New Mexican.
Locker has been under a cloud of controversy since he made disparaging remarks about the people of Española on The Rock of Talk radio broadcast Friday.
When host Eddy Aragon introduced Locker as the “newly minted” CD1 vice chairman and asked him if he was from Ohio, Locker said he was “guilty as charged.”
“Although maybe this reference will help you,” Locker added. “We kind of think of Cleveland when we’re down in the Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton area like you think of Española. You gotta keep that fenced off, make sure those people don’t populate with the rest of the state.”
“Wow,” Aragon said before moving on with his show.
Sánchez said Española has long been the butt of mean jokes.
“It seems every time we turn around someone is ready to bash the city of Española,” Sánchez wrote, adding “it’s getting old.”
“Whenever threatened by attacks from people who don’t know any better, we pick our head up from whatever business is at hand — hoeing, caring for our elders, or chatting over a bowl of menudo and go about our routine,” the mayor wrote.
But the real threat lies in allowing such attacks to go unanswered, Sánchez wrote.
“These words from Locker don’t belong in the Republican Party or any party for that matter,” he wrote. “They certainly don’t represent the views of the hard-working men and women in our community. Locker couldn’t make it in this town. Not because his comments are racist or because he doesn’t have the wherewithal not to isolate and belittle any group of individuals — but because he doesn’t see the beauty and potential of our people and land. To be from here is to recognize that people will give you the shirts off their backs. They’ll roll down their windows to give you directions. Always with a smile. Always with love.”