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Gov. Martinez: Catholic advocate’s ‘racism’ charge is wrong

March 8, 2018

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2016 file photo, New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops executive director Allen Sanchez, left, and Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester talk before the start of an immigration forum at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Albuquerque, N.M. New Mexico's three Catholic bishops said the head of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops didn't accuse anyone of racism and are defending his actions in trying to push for an expansion of early childhood education programs. In an open letter Tuesday, March 6, 2018, the bishops wrote that Allen Sanchez, executive director of the group, has a deep love "for the Gospel" and is an advocate for the state's poor with an extension record. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

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.

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