Gutierrez raised concerns that St. Joseph served both as a voting location and as the church wherein Hernandez is a member.
“It could be nothing,” Gutierrez told EverythingLubbock.com on May 11.
But he made more forceful statements subsequently in other media that raised the question of possible influence by St. Joseph.
Here is the full statement by St. Joseph:
"In reference to recent allegations made by one Frank Gutierrez, the loosing candidate in the District 1 City Council race, the parish council and members of Saint Joseph's Church, located in Lubbock, TX, would like to express our immense disenchantment of his accusations.
We have been adversely affected by his allegations against our Church, which only serves as a voting site because it is located in the center of the Guadalupe neighborhood. His disturbing claim and implication that a church influenced a voting site in our Conference Room, is outrageous and unacceptable!
To suggest the voting site at St. Joseph Church is "less credible" because it is located in a Catholic building is outright bigotry! Gutierrez needs to be reminded that there are other voting places located in other churches in and around Lubbock.
The Church is a Holy place, and it is unfortunate that this individual has used his poor judgment and personal politics against a church community who he sought to serve, and was unsuccessful - is unfair to those who voted, to the trained voting workers, as well as a church trying to offer accessibility to the local residents.
It is dishonorable and shocking that a man who has been rejected three times by the voters of District 1, would blame St. Joseph Church.
Daily, we extend our Christian ministry to adults, youth, and children. And, our central location makes us the hub of the neighborhood serving not only as a worship facility, but our adjoining buildings often serve as a community center, meeting location, neighborhood meeting host, and a voting site.
And while, we do not wish to create a dichotomous environment between our faithful and any politician, he and other politicians need to realize that they are creating disenchantment in voting, as well as disrespecting our community with shameful allegations. While we never tell our members who to vote for, we do encourage them to hold accountable such disgraces."
Reverend Martin Piña
St. Joseph's Catholic Church