The mayor of Grants, New Mexico reopened the small western New Mexico town Monday, despite fellow Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s statewide lockdown order amid the coronavirus pandemic that has been devastating the town’s businesses.
Local police will intervene if “Lujan Grisham and her Gestapo” try to shut down businesses that have reopened, Mayor Martin “Modey” Hicks has warned, The Associated Press reported on Thursday:
“’I’ve told businesses to call 911 if State Police show up to their place. We are going to stop Lujan Grisham and her Gestapo,’ Hicks said, referring to the secret police of Nazi Germany.
“Hicks said he is working with Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace — a Lujan Grisham critic — and will use city resources to fight the state against enforcement of any closure order. State Police can cite any of Grant’s 80 or so businesses if they violate the state’s health emergency closure order.”
Mayor Hicks has also vowed to sue if the governor tries to thwart businesses desperately in need of income and citizens desperate for jobs, according to The Albuquerque Journal:
“‘What’s she going to try to do to me?’ he asked. ‘If she tries to do something, I’ll sue her, and we’ll let the courts sort it out.’”
The mayor’s move comes in response to a petition signed by 81 business owners requesting that he and the city council approve a resolution allowing local businesses that wish to reopen to do so.
On Monday, Mayor Hicks held a rally celebrating the town’s reopening, joined by dozens of Grants’ business owners and supporters waving American flags.
“It was otherwise a quiet start to the day as State Police did not send any extra officers to Grants due to the mayor’s earlier threats of a confrontation,” The Associated Press reported, noting that citations will be issued to stores daring to conduct business:
“State officials say officers will handle any complaints about businesses operating in violation of the health order as they have elsewhere — first with a warning and then subsequent citations that could carry fines between $100 and $5,000.”