Steve Gallardo Not Pleased About Pictures of Latino Kids on Republicans' Desks

Democratic State Senator Steve Gallardo noticed something he was not a fan of when he moseyed on over to the House of Representatives for the swearing in of new legislator Martin Quezada -- there were pictures of Latino kids on some Republicans' desks.

In the pictures, the kids are holding signs that say "I'm going to college in 2026," referencing the state's school-choice program.

Now Gallardo's offended, which aggravated Republican State Representative Steve Montenegro, and the word "racist" has been used.

"The fact is that [Arizona's Republican legislators] have done more to hurt the Hispanic community in last 10 years than any other group of elected officials," Gallardo tells New Times.

Gallardo described the pictures as "insulting" and "offensive," claiming that these Republican legislators are "actually exploiting these kids to push their own agenda."

Gallardo -- who calls the voucher program an "insult to Latino families across Arizona" -- claims that if Republican legislators were serious about educating Latino kids, they'd pass the DREAM Act, all-day kindergarten, and put more funding toward public education in general.

Montenegro insists the school-choice program does help the Latino youngsters.

He's also upset that Gallardo told the Arizona Republic, "These are White Republicans who have done nothing to help low-income or Hispanic kids go to college."

Now he's offended.

"It's really offensive," Montenegro tells New Times. "I'm a Republican, and I'm not White. I'm Hispanic."

Montenegro claims Gallardo doesn't understand the program, and certainly wasn't pleased about the "racist remark."

A press release from the House Republicans also defined Gallardo's statements as a "racist Democrat ranting."

When Gallardo heard about that one, he was even less pleased.

"If there was ever a legislator down here that's more out of touch with the Hispanic community, it's Montenegro," Gallardo says. "This is the same guy who stood next to Republicans every time have launched his attacks against the Hispanic community."

Gallardo says he "would highly suggest a different member of the legislature" to respond to his comments on educating Arizona's Latino kiddos.

Apparently the argument's a bit more than the pictures of the youngsters on the legislators' desks.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley