Updated: July 04, 2020 10:38 PM
Created: July 04, 2020 10:33 PM
GRANTS, N.M.— Grants Mayor Martin Hicks led the city's 115th annual 4th of July parade Saturday morning.
“Our freedom matters,” yelled Mayor Hicks as he drove an ATV in the parade.
Nearly 50 cars, motorcycles, ATV’s and other vehicles followed the mayor. They parade passed a few dozen people, who mostly social appeared to be distancing.
Small groups stayed separated from others. A few people were seen wearing masks, but the majority was not.
KOB 4 spoke with a spectator who said he was there to honor those who sacrificed their lives for the country.
"I feel like if I stay home when there are those out there trying to celebrate our freedom, that I would be giving a way to losing that freedom,” he said.
Mayor Hicks shared the same sentiment.
“For 114 years we’ve been doing this," he said. "114 years and the governor said we couldn’t do it for 115 years."
On Wednesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham said public gatherings like parades were off the table due to a risk of spreading COVID-19.
"You cannot do that this weekend. The behavior this weekend alone can be sufficient to create incredible transmission and risk for everybody else in the state,” she said during a press conference.
After hearing that, the mayor said he thinks the governor is overstepping her boundaries.
Who is she to tell us we can’t do this? Our constitutional rights guarantee us that we can do this," he said.
KOB 4 reached out to the governor’s office after Hicks made more strongly worded comments about Lujan-Grisham.
Her spokesperson, Tripp Stelnicki, sent a response via email which called Hicks a “disgrace and a criminal”.
In late June, the Grants City Council held a meeting where Hicks stormed out after a heated discussion with a council member. The council was not in support of the 4th of July parade.
“Because I was so pissed off at their representation of their oaths,” he said. “At the very minimum, you’re a liar. At the maximum, you’re a traitor to this nation.”
The city council made a post on social media asking people to avoid the parade. They made it clear it was not sanctioned by the council.
The Saturday parade went on for more than an hour.
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