Secretary of State Mark Martin is the gift that keeps on giving for political writers. The latest example: this week his office fired Santa Claus.
For the past nine years, Santa has been Robert Newcomb, a Little Rock attorney, who happens to look like old Saint Nick all year round and does the job for free. Newcomb also appears as Santa at various charity functions during the holiday season.
Recently Newcomb was informed his services were no longer needed by the Secretary of State’s office.
It just so happens that Newcomb is representing a woman who filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission about her firing as a member of the Capitol police force. The Secretary of State’s office oversees the Capitol police force.
Martin’s office claims the only reason they fired Newcomb was because a member of his staff wants to play Santa Claus, and this person just happens to be a member of the Capitol police force.
Frankly, based on their past actions, Martin’s office should rarely be trusted. A few weeks ago a Martin spokesperson claimed at a political forum that Arkansas County Clerks were basically apathetic and allowing illegal immigrants to register to vote. Once confronted about his speech, the spokesperson, Alex Reed, claimed he was misquoted, but had to backtrack once audio emerged proving he did make those statements.
The firing of Santa Claus by Martin’s office is one of the pettiest acts I’ve ever seen an elected official engage in. We have a major election coming up in less than 60 days and Martin’s office is worrying about who should play Santa Claus.
Mark Martin and his office have added another prime example to the narrative that they are indeed the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.