There's an interesting scandal right now in New Mexico right now. You see, the New Mexico constitution tries to stop corruption, a real problem in the state as the Economist recently noted, by requiring that state legislators cannot draw a salary from other sources during the legislative session. But Channel KRQE has reported that there is a set of legislators who do not abide by this constitutional requirement: teachers, and in particular teachers union members. One of the state legislators has come under particular scrutiny, Rep. Cheryl Williams Stapleton, a Democrat from Albuquerque:
The issue became salient after reports on KRQE-TV about APS paying House Majority Whip Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque, her salary while she was in Santa Fe on legislative business. According to a Journal analysis, she was paid more than $63,000 in salary during the past three years while she was away from her administrative job as coordinator of vocational education.
Stapleton’s paid leave was approved by supervisors even though it wasn’t allowed under district policy. That policy said all nonteachers who served in the Legislature should take unpaid leave while in Santa Fe.
So recently, in discussions with her fellow member of the state House's education committee, Nora Espinoza (R), Whip Stapleton decided to share her perspective on attempts to resolve and understand this complicated legal and constitutional issue. You see, she said that Espinoza was “carrying the Mexican’s water on the fourth floor." This was a reference to Governor Susanna Martinez, whose office is on the fourth floor of the Capital building. So the Democratic Whip in the most Latino state in the country is referring to the first Latina Governor in the country as "the Mexican." I wonder if the Democrats will try to hold her accountable for this kind of speech? Probably not. After all, Harry Reid said that doesn't know how any Hispanic could be a Republican.
Now, cleaning up the state is something that the teachers unions have long been opposed to. They funded a nasty attack ad against Martinez that backfired when it turned out that Martinez had convicted the husband of the woman the teachers union put in the ad to attack Martinez:
But maybe they are just trying to stop the person trying to take away their gravy train?