Latina Lista reports:
Another Latino quits the GOP
If anyone ever thought New Mexican politics was boring, they haven't been keeping up. Aside from the ongoing investigation that cost Gov. Bill Richardson a return trip to DC as part of the president's administration, there's what happened recently with the state's GOP party and their Latino deputy executive director. It seems Sergio Garcia, who was hired only three months ago by the New Mexico GOP as its political director and deputy executive director, to: develop party strategy, expand the party's fundraising base, and coordinate the party's Hispanic outreach, has quit.
His reason? Well, it's all in his resignation letter:
...It has become evident that my hiring was to placate national GOP
leadership, local Republican activists / donors and the media. From the moment
of my official hiring, an operation began to undermine my professional
credibility and integrity such as attempting to tarnish my name within
Washington, DC circles.
In addition, a whisper campaign throughout the state
that insinuates that I will never really handle the day-to-day operations long
after the current Executive Director leaves is offensive. Did you think that
this quiet campaign would not come back to me just like the operation undertaken
in Washington, DC? Again trust is a two-way street and last night in Santa Fe
was the final straw.
I have come to the realization that the current
environment is no longer conducive for moving forward with any strategic plan of
positioning the Party for the future. I can no longer justify earning a paycheck
from our donors for leading a Party that in truth will always be a two man - and
at times - three man show.
I sincerely appreciate the genuine trust
placed upon me by Congressman Pearce, Congresswoman Wilson, Jim Manatt and a
handful of county chairpersons. The Republican Party of New Mexico supposedly
hired me as a symbol of a new day for a Party that has been plagued with deep
divisions that led to historic political loses on 2008. I was looking forward to
re-building a stronger, broader Party but due to unforeseen circumstances, this
will not be the case...
Needless to say the New Mexican GOP leadership has gone on the defensive but no matter how this is looked at, one thing remains clear -- some members of the GOP didn't get the memo that Latinos are no longer puppets whose strings can be pulled at will. Garcia's resignation letter was the politically correct version of reasons for his decision to (literally) pack up a U-Haul and leave but he's not shy telling New Mexican journalists/bloggers why he left.
Garcia also cited as a frustration a lack of understanding among party leaders about how to reach Hispanics, which he said is critical to making the GOP relevant in New Mexico....Also, it is especially disappointing that this happened in New Mexico. In a state where 45% of the population is Hispanic, the highest of any state, it is beyond unbelievable that the state's GOP hasn't yet learned how to message/connect with Latino voters.
"What bothers me is that most of our party leadership at a state level does not understand what Hispanic outreach means... It does not mean pandering to Hispanics. It does not mean trying to buy their votes," He said. "It's about messaging to Hispanics. It's about trying to bring Hispanics home because this is where Hispanics started, in the Republican Party."
"They didn't get it," he said, adding that the resulting disconnect created a climate of suspicion about him.
Why? Of all the states in the Union, they should be ahead of the game, and they aren't? If they were, Garcia wouldn't have been asked to create a Hispanic Outreach Strategy but instead asked to strengthen the one they should have formulated years ago.
Garcia's resignation doesn't just highlight the GOP's resistance to including Latinos in a full and meaningful way in party leadership positions, at all levels, but his resignation also shows that there still exist GOP members who refuse to see that Latinos are developing into an electoral force that can't be dictated to, contained or duped into being used only as political pawns for the purpose of image damage control.