LIFESTYLE

Politician Calls New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez 'The Mexican'

In this Tuesday Nov. 1, 2011 photo, Gov. Susana Martinez speaks during the memorial service for 10 veterans at the Santa Fe National Cemetery as part of the Missing in America Project. According to the web site, the purpose of the MIA Project is to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations. The services were in memory of retired Col. John Garnett Coughlin, retired Col. Jackson Evert Shirley, retired Lt. Edward Grimm Lucius, Chief Petty Officer Donald Claire Smith, Petty Officer 2nd Class Milton Vincin Burroughs, Technician Third Class Gerald Edwin Huber, Technician Third Class Richard Landrum Thomas, Airman 1st Class Charles Thomas Stewart, Pvt. John L. Craft, and Pvt. Hanry D. Nichols. (AP Photo/The Santa Fe New Mexican, Luis Sanchez Saturno)

In this Tuesday Nov. 1, 2011 photo, Gov. Susana Martinez speaks during the memorial service for 10 veterans at the Santa Fe National Cemetery as part of the Missing in America Project. According to the web site, the purpose of the MIA Project is to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations. The services were in memory of retired Col. John Garnett Coughlin, retired Col. Jackson Evert Shirley, retired Lt. Edward Grimm Lucius, Chief Petty Officer Donald Claire Smith, Petty Officer 2nd Class Milton Vincin Burroughs, Technician Third Class Gerald Edwin Huber, Technician Third Class Richard Landrum Thomas, Airman 1st Class Charles Thomas Stewart, Pvt. John L. Craft, and Pvt. Hanry D. Nichols. (AP Photo/The Santa Fe New Mexican, Luis Sanchez Saturno)  ((AP Photo/The Santa Fe New Mexican, Luis Sanchez Saturno))

How dare she?

A politician in New Mexico has come under fire for making a tongue-and-cheek reference to the state’s governor during a heated exchange in the State Capitol.

She called Susana Martinez, a Republican who is the country’s first Latina-elected governor, “the Mexican.”

New Mexico Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, who is a Democrat, made the comment Wednesday during a State Capitol committee meeting break. She accused Rep. Nora Espinoza of "carrying the Mexican's water on the fourth floor."

“She said it three times right there" during a lunch break, Espinoza told the Albuquerque Journal.

New Mexico has a high percentage of Latinos – they are about 46 percent of the total population.

Espinoza previously had criticized Stapleton for collecting an Albuquerque school district salary while also serving in the Legislature. But Stapleton said that argument was set up by the governor's office since she opposed Martinez's education reform bills.

Stapleton later apologized for her remarks, saying she didn’t mean to offend anyone.

But she told the El Paso Times that she did not regret her remark. She told the paper she meant nothing by it.

“I am half-black and half-Spanish,” she told El Paso Times “I didn't mean for it to be inflammatory."

Martinez's office called Stapleton's comments "sad and disappointing."

Martinez was born in El Paso, Texas. Her grandparents are from Mexico.

Based on reporting from The Associated Press.

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