In order to garner support for her packed agenda and to hear the concerns of legislators about the special session, Governor Susana Martinez held meetings with representatives and senators from both sides of the aisle this past week.
Rep. Dennis Kintigh, R-Roswell, met with Martinez, her chief of staff Keith Gardner and three other legislators in her office on Monday. He described the meeting, which had no formal agenda, as wide-ranging in topic and very cordial, and he complimented the governor for reaching out to legislators. But he raised concerns about the lack of progress of the session and also the precarious economic conditions of the state of New Mexico.
Still, he was glad Martinez was open to talking to New Mexico lawmakers like himself.
“There is a serious need for always having dialogue. We don’t need to agree. We just need to be in a meeting and have a discussion and understand where people are coming from,” Kintigh said. “I always say politics is not the art of compromise, it’s the art of finding common ground.”
Kintigh added he was disappointed that House Memorial 2, introduced by Rep. Paul Bandy, R-Aztec, which asks the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service to not list the sand dune lizard as an endangered species, or to postpone the listing, was tabled on a party-line vote Thursday.
Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell, also met with the governor in a small group setting on Monday, and expressed concern that House Speaker Ben Lujan stalled the session, she says, to protect his son’s U.S. Congressional seat.
Lujan’s son, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, is a Democrat representing New Mexico’s Third District.
“Speaker Lujan is not dedicated to the general welfare of the state,” Ezzell recalled telling the governor, adding, “Voters of the state of New Mexico need to be aware of how their representatives and senators are voting.”
Ezzell said a subcommittee of the House Rules Committee is going forward with the impeachment of Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block, who is under investigation by the attorney general’s office for possible misuse of a state-issued gasoline card. The committee elected formal federal prosecutor Robert Gorence to handle the investigation, Thursday.
On another note, Ezzell said in an interview she was proud to procure an $800 donation from other legislators after she made a presentation on the House floor about the Junior Livestock Sale, currently taking place at the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque. Ezzell challenged House members to help the young kids involved in the sale, and nearly $800 was raised within 45 minutes.
The House of Representatives broke for recess Friday afternoon, and though there was speculation representatives would reconvene the session around 4 p.m. the same day to hear a proposed redistricting plan by the Democrats, representatives had not reconvened by 6 p.m.
The session is only funded for 21 days, and next week is the last chance for legislators to finalize a redistricting plan, as required by law after the decennial census. If they don’t meet that deadline, redistricting will be settled by the courts, which was the case in 2000.