BernCo GOP suspends executive director

Posted at: 04/24/2013 10:17 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Photo: Steve Kush
Photo: Steve Kush

Under fire for sexist comments posted on Facebook, Bernalillo County Republican Executive Director Steve Kush was suspended without pay Wednesday.

The whole thing started when two women took the podium during Tuesday night's county commission meeting.

It was a packed meeting for a heated issue - raising Bernalillo County’s minimum wage to $8.50 an hour.

Celeste Paramo is a member of a group called Working America, and voiced her support.  She then saw a posting by Kush on his personal Facebook page.  He wrote, "Nice hat Working America chick but damn you are a radical b****."

"It's important to step out and to say, you know, this isn't okay," Paramo said.

It is one thing to disagree with her stance on an issue, Paramo said, but public name calling on social media is bullying.

"The fact that he was just trying to shut me down by, you know, using a slur to try and make me be quiet, well, it's not gonna work," Paramo said.

Kush also posted, "Uh oh another Working America chick... Nice boots... I know she makes more than min wage."

The girl in the boots at the meeting Kush was referring to was Chelsy Evans.

"Any sort of derogatory comments such as the ones that were made are hurtful, and are disrespectful to the community at large," Evans said.

Kush posted again last night and wrote, "It's over!"

Someone replied to the post, possibly foreshadowing the suspension to follow, "The meeting, or your career?"

Kush issued a public apology Wednesday afternoon and wrote, in part, "I regret my now obvious ill-fated attempt at humor... I take full responsibility for those comments and feel awful that I put my thumbs on the keypad of my smart phone... After two decades in politics, I should have known better."

"Unfortunately what we say can always be fixed but I think it was only right and courteous of Mr. Kush to do that," Evans said.

"He probably really just wasn't thinking, but at the same time, we have to acknowledge the things we say because we might be hurting someone and it's not okay," Paramo.

Bernalillo County Republican Party's Former Executive Director, Bob Cornelius, also chimed in on one of Kush's Facebook posts.  As of Wednesday evening, he had since deleted his comment and replaced it with an apology.