Texas State Senator Jose Rodriguez could not be reached for comment but issued a statement on Facebook over the weekend standing by his interview with Texas Monthly.
KTSM and its website ElPasoProud.com reported that El Paso area leaders asked Rodriguez to apologize for using the word ‘Gringolandia.’ and accusing city council members of working for developers.
In his statement posted on Facebook, Rodriguez accused his critics of ‘misconstruing’ his comments.
He said, “Anyone who read the entire article knows exactly what I meant. Many cities have a sports arena but most cities do not have the rich cultural history that El Paso offers.”
El Paso County Commissioner Vince Perez disagreed.
He said, “I read the article multiple times because I wanted to give the senator the benefit of the doubt. I think anyone who reads the article will draw the same conclusion. The language that he uses – there’s certainly racial undertones. It’s divisive and offensive to many people.”
“I just think the language that was used is indefensible. It’s indefensible,” Perez added. “It’s inexcusable and I think the best thing to do is to say it was a mistake, apologize for it and move on.”
According to the statement, Rodriguez was in Austin at the Texas Tribune Festival participating on a panel discussing the future of energy in Texas.
Meanwhile, El Paso city councilwoman Cassandra Hernandez Brown said the senator’s comments hurt El Paso’s image.
She said, “The senator’s remarks have me very concerned about how he’s promoting the community at the statewide level.”
She also said, “Quite frankly, [the comments] hamper our community and our ability to attract economic development and Fortune 500 companies.”
(Original story from ElPasoProud.com)