Saturday, June 19, 2010
Union's Anti-Martinez E-Mail Riles Republicans
By Sean Olson
Of the Journal
A mass e-mail from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is making waves in the governor's race, with Republicans complaining the group is using a "scare tactic" and state resources to influence the election.
In an e-mail sent to state employees, an AFSCME political coordinator, Josh Anderson, wrote that Republican governor candidate Susana Martinez would lay off 5,000 state employees — read: union members — if elected. That e-mail was later forwarded by Department of Health employees using state e-mail accounts.
"We can not afford to have Susana Martinez as our next governor, our members jobs literally depend on it," Anderson wrote.
Martinez has never said she would lay off a significant number of employees, although she hasn't ruled it out either. In a Journal interview in May, Martinez said she would first eliminate about 3,000 vacant positions in state government before analyzing other places the state could trim. But she also acknowledged it would not be an easy process to pick where cuts need to be made.
"Public safety is Number One. Protection of our kids is Number One. We have a lot of Number Ones," Martinez said.
Republican Party of New Mexico spokeswoman Janel Causey said the union crossed the line using state e-mail accounts to further distribute the e-mail.
"It is completely inappropriate to use taxpayer resources to perpetuate a special-interest scare tactic," Causey said.
The New Mexico political and legislative director for AFSCME, Carter Bundy, said it's perfectly reasonable for employees to be worried about a Martinez governorship, especially after she made comments to other news outlets about how government has grown by 5,000 jobs.
"There is a very good chance, based on what she has said, that there will be massive layoffs," Bundy said.
Bundy agreed with Causey on one point, that the e-mail should not have been forwarded using state accounts.
"We ask our employees not to forward anything political in nature from their state e-mails," Bundy said.
MCCAIN WAS HERE: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., made a quick trip to Albuquerque two weeks ago, headlining a fundraiser for Republican Jon Barela, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., for the state's 1st Congressional District seat.
Barela's campaign manager, Estevan Lujan, said McCain attended the fundraiser for about an hour and a half June 4 at Yanni's restaurant.
McCain's support for Barela was also included in a mailer sent out to supporters weeks ago, Lujan said.
"All in all, we're just really honored to have his support," he said.