In April, the Piñon Post had a conversation with Republican congressional candidate for New Mexico’s open 3rd District, Karen Bedonie to discuss her run for the U.S. House of Representatives. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat seeking a U.S. Senate seat. The full, unredacted interview with Karen Bedonie is below:
Why are you running for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District?
The reason why I’m running is because we need peer representation for CD-3. It seems like all the rural families and people: the hard-working individuals — the business owners, the wood haulers, the water haulers, all of us are not getting what we need to be done and our voices are not heard. We are gun-carrying, family-oriented people and it’s really important for us to finally stand up — especially at a time like with a silent war happening out there. And we need our voices heard and we need to be able to make those decisions and have that effect where it ripples back across the district and lets us know that, you know, we are important and we can make the difference in our country, and also our state. So, I’m running because we need peer representation to happen from the grassroots. I’m tired of the, you know, the politician representing me, the lawyer representing me, you know, the people that have no idea what I’m really going through representing me. I’m very exhausted. So I’m running to give a voice to all those people who feel forgotten and that’s why I’m running.
Tell me about your experience and how that will translate if elected to Congress.
Being a business owner you start to see what America really does. Small businesses are the biggest employers of the country, and we make everything go round from your truck driving to, you know, plumbing services, to everything that we do. And so when you start out your business, you start to understand what you’re doing it for. It’s hard work. It’s also risky and takes a lot of courage to do it, and when you venture into business ownership, you take your family with you and you work so hard because you want something to be successful so that you can have something to hand down to your children.
So it becomes very important about legacy and it basically harnesses the American Spirit and the American dream. And when you lay it upon what our country was built upon: the Constitution and the rights that we have, the liberties and freedoms, it all tends to make sense. And you realize, ‘Wow, I need America to be the best America she can be so that we all can strive the best that we can.’
And the way of direction that our country is going right now is going to kill small businesses and we’re going to turn into a socialist society if we’re not careful. So, this business ownership has given me the groundwork of never forgetting, also not being able to be bought. If you get a lot of these politicians that take money from these big companies and corporations that are owned by him, other businesses. And you start to track it and you realize it’s a huge mess and they’re not family-oriented any longer. They’ve crossed over into a whole different realm of corruption, and it’s starting to impact us.
And so when you think about business ownership and the person who you are, that’s the person you need to put into office because you end up fighting the fight that needs to be fought. That’s why Trump is so good at what he does because he is the purest form of business. You know, he thought. People make fun of him because he went bankrupt, but I see that as success. Every time you fail, you get back up and keep going at success. It just screams it — that you’re just not going to be beaten. So, that in itself is a quality. And being family-oriented — the conservatism that reverberates through there. Trying to save your children or babies, vaccinations. They all become issues heavy in the heart. So you tend to legislate. Be better than the next guy who has none of these experiences that you bring to the table. So the struggle is what I stand upon and I’m still coming. So that’s what I bring to the table.
CD-3 is a Democrat +8 district. How do you plan on winning over Democrats in November? There are many Democrats in Santa Fe and going up all the way to Taos.
Right, that corridor is interesting, right? Because they celebrate Native American everything. And every decoration you can possibly find. You’d think I would belong on those walls, but I’m not very well received there at all. None of the delegates would actually meet with me. I don’t know what was told to them or what is going on there. I’m not being received from that corridor.
So when I went on my campaign run to build my foundation from the grassroots level, I started in the East and Clovis, went up to Tucumcari and Portales, all the way up to Clayton. All the little, bitty towns — San Miguel — all the way through there. And I realize those people are just like me. We might not look the same, but they struggle just as hard as I do. Business ownership is big. Socialism is not wanted anywhere. So when you start to see how it plays out, you start to begin to see that we are all one people.
So then, when you come across to my side of the mountain — on the West Side, you look on the map. That’s the bluest part of the state. I mean, it is almost navy blue. That’s McKinley County. That’s the Navajo Nation, and that’s my tribe. And so, my work is cut out for me because I have to re-educate. Now, that blueness is there not because they are loyal to it. It’s because that’s what we’re told to do. Once they understand that conservatism is actually in our cultural aspects and our prayers, and the way we do things is actually conservative, I’d be able to build a following.
And right now, I believe that Trump Victory has actually identified that there are over 100,000 unregistered Native American Navajos on our reservation. So, when you’re looking at the numbers, I think that we can completely smash Santa Fe if they don’t want to listen. I’m going to be sweet and understanding and still keep trying, but you can only lead a horse to water so many times before they drink. But I’m going to keep going on the outside because our population is big on the outside.
What legislation would be your top priority in your first months in Congress, if elected?
I want to do an energy bill where we actually start to boost the economy through our energy. New Mexico needs to have that first and foremost. If our wonderful president wants to have America first, then we need New Mexico first. And I want him to know New Mexico, New Mexico, New Mexico — and I want to beat New Mexico into every plan that he has and the first legislation would beat them back what he’s doing. I believe in the energy that we have. I believe that we still have 75% of our coal resources in the ground and we still have tons of oil and gas across the state. And I’m looking to the Future in energies. I also understand there are different energies that have not been released. I want to legislate to be at the forefront of energy. That’s the first one.
The second one would be to buy local. I want labeling of beef and also other animal products to be hyperlocal because they’re mislabeling it. I know China is starting to purchase our animals from here, ship them, slaughter them in another country, and then ship them back.
So, it makes no sense. So what I want to do is to cool the country of origin labeling system, but I need it more detailed because I want to know exactly what I’m feeding my family, and antibiotics and things that went into that piece of meat. Because in order for them to preserve it, they have to pump it full of chemicals. So I think buying local is a big, big thing for me.
What is the biggest misconception about you that you’d like to clear up?
The gossip is going around about me that I’m for abortion, which is wrong because my cultural aspect is, you know, that’s against our culture — you don’t do it. But when you legislate across the country as a blanket effect, you have to be aware of the different laws that are already in place. So what can be done about Roe v. Wade?
And we’d have to present it to the Supreme Court and I’m severely hoping that we get enough conservative judges in place so that we can either be able to pull that back up again because New Mexico is the abortion capital of the United States, and it’s horrible. At the same time, there’s a lady named Janet Porter, who I’ve been following for many years, and she wrote the ‘Heartbeat Bill,’ and it’s something that I can stand with her.
And it’s the first thing that can begin to impact before Roe v. Wade comes back and it smashes into pieces. So, when you start to legislate you have to make sure you can take it up the line as far as you can so that Roe v. Wade doesn’t completely stop it. So the Heartbeat Bill is one where you identify when the heartbeat starts. And from my understanding, as a Native American, that’s when your soul, your spirit — you’re sent into the body from God himself. So, that’s how we believe it to be. So the Heartbeat Bill is something I can stand with.
But for me, that’s why legislating across the board — and it’s frustrating because if you research the abortion sits — they cannot handle the Heartbeat Bill because the baby is still so small that they cannot profit off of it because every time you run a business, you have to have a product. So, the product is unusable at the heartbeat. So, basically will completely extinguished abortion. So, it’s the beginning of it. It’s a fight, and It’s going to be probably the fight of the world that we have to push it and push it.
Once we get past that, then we can push it further. And I’m all about pushing that line all the way to one hundred percent. But logically, we can’t just sit here and say ‘Oh, I’m one hundred percent.’ But then when you have a little girl who’s 11 years old who’s been raped, and now she’s pregnant because she had an early menstrual cycle because of all the hormones in the different foods that we eat. And it is happening, and these are real people I’m talking about. I’m not making these things up. So, when you think about it, would you want that child to endure a pregnancy and then go through birth?
Because I died in childbirth in 2014, and luckily I came back. So, I know what it is to go through that. I have eight children, and so to bring them all into the world took a lot of labor pain. So, to put a child through that — through a second traumatic experience and her not understand[ing] what’s happening to her and why she’s a mom, and for people to treat her from rape. So, the 100% can’t be unless you’re going to make that child go through that. And I think those kinds of decisions need to be left up to the parents. And because as a parent, I don’t know if I could leave a decision like that into the hands of a politician. It’s crazy. So that’s where I’m at, but for me personally and for my daughters, I had every one of my children. And I also demand and tell my girls that ‘if you make that mistake or something happens to you or you do it out of your choice and you become impregnated, then you will have your child.’
So abortion is something that I can’t even fathom. I can’t even look at the pictures. It freaks me out. But at the same time, there’s a whole America you’re talking about and if we want to reach across the aisle, the Heartbeat Bill is the only thing that both sides can agree on. There’s a compromise. If you say 100%, you will not even touch across the aisle to the Democrat Party. They won’t even look at you. So, you end dead-locked again. So that’s what I want to go with it. And I want to push it and I want to find that open door.
Once they get through there, then we can push the line further. So that was the gossiping. So, it’s very difficult and it’s a very big thing, but it goes to spirituality, physical being, mental and emotional. And unless we have many hours to discuss it and debate it, then then no one can really understand what I’m talking about.
On the issue of the sanctity of life, does that also extend to euthanasia and end-of-life?
I don’t believe in that. Euthanasia, no. Life is life. As a spiritual being in understanding the journey and the gift of life, that doesn’t carry over at all, no.
What is your stance on the Second Amendment?
My Second Amendment stance runs deep. It goes back to when my people were conquered for me — understanding the oral history from my family that went on the long walk. And the understanding of what the United States government did. The first thing you do to conquer a people is you have to disarm them and it happened in Germany when the Nazi’s take over. They disarmed everybody and as you start to see in other countries right now, a lot of them are disarmed and are not allowed to carry. So, there’s an actual engineered pass that happens to socialism and then eventually turns into communism, but the first step is disarming the people.
And so when you carry your Second Amendment, that is the biggest right you have and that’s amazing that they thought of it ealy on when they were creating the Constitution — how it shall not be infringed upon — it doesn’t matter what’s going to happen yesterday, today, or tomorrow. That right should always be there for us. It’s against the government that would come in to control us and take over. So, my Second Amendment right matters because if we can’t keep our citizens, empowered then everything else falls to the wayside again. Because if we’re controlled like, you know, you can’t do anything after that.
Every time these ‘red flag’ deals go through, it’s a chipping away at it, and it’s hard to get those back once you lose your right. It weakens it and we lose it. It’s hard to get it back. So, that’s where I stand. The Second Amendment is near and dear to my heart and I don’t believe it should even be touched. They need to leave it alone and let us have what we feel we need and they shouldn’t restrict it because they’re afraid of guns.
What is the one thing that separates you from all of your opponents? And why should people vote for you above someone else?
I think peer representation is is the one. Also the fact that I am not a politician. I am a mom of eight. I’m a business owner. All the boxes get checked when you’re looking at a politician to run for this seat. All the boxes are checked. But the thing with me is that I am not a politician. I’ve had to work for everything that I have even to turn on the light switch has been something to get the light poles in for the ground. Even for heat, I have to go in to get wood and haul wood and even purchase wood from other wood haulers because it’s so difficult. Because the hardship that we’re going through, we can’t lose.
I’m basically the biggest weapon that the Republican Party… you know, if they could dream it up, I would be it. Because everything that they’ve hit our President with for being a ‘misogynist’ a ‘sexist,’ a ‘racist,’ ‘hes a Nazi.’ All of these things that they apply to him — when you have me standing there with him advocating for him and protecting him, then you realize that he’s not any of those things. So, that’s what kind of differentiate. I can stop some of this liberal labeling that happens. The mainstream media tries to take down our President.
So, the Republican party needs me and the people need me. We need to take our country back. So, that’s why I’m doing this and I think that’s fine. I’m the only time they can actually do this. But I’m not a politician, when I listen to the other two talk, I am uninspired. That’s why I am still in this race because they cannot lead me. I haven’t been really campaigning right now out of respect for my culture. We don’t do anything like this, like politics and any asking for money during anything that has to do with death and illness. That goes back to our our creation stories. So, out of respect for who I am, I really backed off of campaigning during this time. But we start seeing America come out of it and when that light shows through the clouds, then I’m going to come back full-blown. We will start with social media and start to move from there.
More information can be found about Karen Bedonie at her website Bedonie2020.com.
Interviews with the two other Republican CD-3 candidates, Alexis Martinez Johnson and Harry Montoya will be released shortly. Karen Bedonie’s interview has been released as it appears first in the list of candidates by alphabetical order.