Resident objects to politically altered Zia

By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer

At least one Portales resident objects to the Roosevelt County field office of the Democratic party displaying an altered New Mexico Zia symbol used to promote Barack Obama.

A sign on the front door of the office on Thursday displayed the Zia symbol with Obama’s official campaign art in the middle circle.

“I think it’s a disgrace to our state, to be honest with you,” said Shauna Wade, who said she is registered as a Republican voter. “That’s not right.

“If you do something like that, it makes it look like the whole state of New Mexico is for Obama. And it’s not.”

Wade said she doesn’t support either John McCain or Obama.

The sign was removed from the office door late Thursday, but volunteers were wearing T-shirts displaying the same image.

Colin Rogister, field director of the Roosevelt County Obama campaign office, directed media inquiries to state-level Democratic party officials.

Carlos Sanchez, an Obama New Mexico spokesperson, said the creation is not an official Obama campaign image.

“(That) sign was made by our volunteers,” Sanchez said. “They are all excited about Senator Obama, they’re all excited about having change in New Mexico and they express that excitement by making signs,” Sanchez said.

Portales’ Matt Rush — a Republican candidate for the District 63 state house seat — also uses the Zia symbol on official campaign signs throughout Portales, but doesn’t alter the Zia symbol.

The Zia symbol was added to the New Mexico state flag in 1920.

Eastern New Mexico University has used a variation of the symbol in official correspondence and signage, and the symbol is widely used across the state.

“(Our volunteers) are from New Mexico,” Sanchez said. “They’re proud about being from here, and that symbol is synonymous with New Mexico.”