ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says remarks by a Catholic advocate who charged that racism helped kill an early childhood education proposal were "extremely disappointing."

The Republican told reporters on Wednesday that New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops executive director Allen Sanchez was wrong to suggest opposition to the measure had to do with racism.

New Mexico's three Catholic bishops say Sanchez didn't accuse anyone of racism and only pointed out flaws in the state's educational system.

But 33 GOP state lawmakers sent Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester a letter Monday and asked him if he agreed with remarks about racism made by Sanchez.

Sanchez told The Associated Press last month that "an element of racism" killed a proposal to expand early childhood education in the state.