During the 1999 New Mexico Legislature, a resolution was proposed to give New Mexico an “official state question.” I remember hearing an interview on National Public Radio with the late Sen. Ben Lujan, father of our current U.S. Senator Ben Ray Lujan, explaining why the question “Red or Green” was important to the state. The rather incredulous interviewer didn’t quite get the significance of how important it is in New Mexico to choose your style of chile when ordering your favorite enchiladas, burrito, juevos rancheros or tostadas.
As far as I can determine, New Mexico is the only state with an “official state question,” and it almost didn’t have one, thanks to then Gov. Gary Johnson.
Johnson tried to kill the idea several times because he felt the legislative effort was frivolous and that the question had “neither merit nor meaning for our taxpayers.” He eventually gave up on his veto quest. It’s estimated that the questions gets asked at least 200,000 times a day, so it apparently means something to a lot of folks in the Land of Enchantment.
What was interesting is that during the same legislative session, a proposal was introduced to make a dark blue and green plaid as the official state tartan. The legislature, apparently sensing that the Scottish tartan “had neither merit or meaning” in New Mexico, promptly “kilt” it.
(Okay you can groan now.)