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HSD secretary apologizes for ‘hunger’ comment

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SQUIER: Secretary Human Services

SQUIER: Secretary Human Services

SANTA FE — State Human Services Department Secretary Sidonie Squier apologized┬áto lawmakers today for a┬árecent email seeming to deny the existence of hunger in New Mexico.

“I do agree there are hungry children in New Mexico,” Squier told members of the Legislative Finance Committee during a hearing Friday at the Capitol. “I have always thought that.”

Squier said her email was poorly worded. She said she meant to convey that anti-hunger programs should also look at obesity and malnutrition.

After today’s hearing, Squier told reporters she works at the discretion of Gov. Susana Martinez and has not been asked to resign.

Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, told the Journal after the hearing that he appreciated Squier’s apology.

However, Morales said he remained concerned the apology was merely an attempt at “damage control.”

“There were a pretty clear choice of words,” he said. “I believe when she said the words, she meant that.”

Squier, who was at the LFC hearing to discuss her agency’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year, also fielded several questions from legislators about the ongoing overhaul of the state’s behavioral health provider system.

Here is the original Journal story on the “hunger” email.

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