New Mexico

Santa Fe mayor, police chief defend their response after allowing anarchists to topple plaza obelisk

On Tuesday, Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber and his police Chief Andrew Padilla responded to the anger from citizens that the Santa Fe Police Department refused to defend the obelisk, which violent anarchists toppled down, causing likely tens of thousands of dollars in damage to the federal landmark.

The obelisk, which has stood in the heart of New Mexico’s Capitol city since 1868 was erected to honor Union Army soldiers who fought against slavery — however, on Columbus Day, domestic terrorists toppled the statue, claiming to stand up for “indigenous” rights. They also claimed the land which the obelisk stood on was “stolen land” from the Tewa Native American people. 

Despite one kerfuffle with the anarchists where two men were arrested, the Santa Fe Police Department was nowhere to be found as they allowed the group of around 50 rioters to destroy the historic landmark. 

Webber defended the Police Department’s decision to “stand down” and allow the riot, saying, “The choice to not incite more violence was the correct one.”

“The city was unaware the peaceful demonstration by Native American activists and supporters in observance of Indigenous Peoples Day would turn disruptive and that some demonstrators were ‘well prepared and well rehearsed with equipment and material to tear down the obelisk,’ the mayor added,” Webber said, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

“The monument, yes, it’s historical, but it’s an object,” said Chief Padilla.

Padilla said that Santa Fe Police, in conjunction with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police, and the FBI, are investigating the suspects who partook in the destruction and have been involved in criminal activity. 

The Three Sisters Collective, a radical group closely aligned with the anti-Hispanic hate group “The Red Nation” initiated the event on the plaza, which ultimately led to the toppling of the 152-year-old historical landmark. Previously, the group applauded vandalism of the obelisk in June, writing, “With regard to the graffiti written on the obelisk, although uncomfortable for some, the vandalism of this object pales in comparison to hate crimes against Indigenous, Black and Brown people.” There is ample evidence of the perpetrators, with some even live-streaming the whole debacle, such as the below video:

Webber and his Police Chief’s response comes months after the Mayor has promised a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to have conversations about taking down monuments. However, there has been no legitimate action taken, which has allowed terrorists to take matters into their own hands and rip down the historic landmarks. 

Watch the full press conference below: 

Police nowhere to be found as anarchists topple downtown Santa Fe obelisk

On Monday, which is also Columbus Day in the United States, violent anarchists took to the obelisk in downtown Santa Fe, successfully ripping down the spire on top of the historic monument in the heart of the Capitol city with ropes and chains. While destroying the top of the obelisk, anarchists screamed, “Take it down! Take it down! Take it down!” The obelisk was first erected in 1866.

The vandals, presumably with the groups “The Red Nation” and “Three Sisters Collective,” engaged in the vandalism. These groups claim to support “queer indigenous feminism” and “Marxism.” One person on top of the monument said, “Monuments cause psychological, emotional, and spiritual damage.” 

“Where’s the gasoline? That sh*t should burn,” another anarchist said.

Others placed posters reading “Land Back” at the top of the obelisk, while some defaced the side panels of the monument with electric drills. Others put red paint on their hands and left handprints on what was left of the historic object.

Participants sang, “No more stolen sisters” repeatedly while some climbed on the top of the monument to pose for photos with the then-toppled historic monument. 

Police were nowhere to be found, despite the destruction of property. The Santa Fe Police Department may be refusing to respond to the illegal activity under to left-wing Mayor Alan Webber’s directive. He has partnered with The Three Sisters and The Red Nation in the past.

According to the live video shared by Amy Elizah Lindquist, police were already “arresting” people at the protest, but left after more anarchists swarmed the scene. Video appears to confirm that account.

One person took to the stage at the Santa Fe Plaza, saying Mayor Webber is “afraid of indigenous women,” and saying, “We’re coming for you Mayor Webber!” Webber previously removed a statue of Don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico’s first governor, from Cathedral Park, which has angered many across the state. 

On Sunday evening, Mayor Alan Webber asked the protesters via a press release to, “come down off the obelisk” to have a conversation about statues, monuments, histories, and cultures.

Fact-checking Deb Haaland during KOAT 7 debate with Michelle Garcia Holmes

On Sunday, Democrat Rep. Deb Haaland and Republican challenger Michelle Garcia Holmes came together on KOAT Channel 7 for a candidate debate. Garcia Holmes highlighted her long career in Law Enforcement and at the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. Haaland focused more on her “progressive” policies she has championed while in Congress while slamming President Trump for what she perceived as a “lack of leadership.” 

Haaland made some claims that the Piñon Post fact-checked. Here are some of the major misrepresentations and untruths of the night:

Haaland working in “a bipartisan way.” 

Haaland claims she has worked “tirelessly” and in a “bipartisan way” in the areas of healthcare, the economy, and the environment. However, Haaland votes 95% of the time with socialist Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), 96% of the time with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and 96% of the time with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). She also branded President Trump a “dictator,” which does not exactly paint a picture of “bipartisanship.”

Haaland claims Antifa/Black Lives Matter protesters removed from Lafayette Park were “peaceful.” 

Haaland claimed that “President Trump, uh, uh, broke up a peaceful protest — and it was peaceful — in Lafayette Park with teargas. And uh, Sad to say, uh, Park, National Park Police abusing, uh, the media, the journalists who were there.” 

However, the “peaceful protesters,” who spoke to the media, revealed in their own words the “peaceful” nature of their protest.

According to the Washington Examiner:

The “peaceful protester” in question had been atop the maintenance structure in Lafayette Square the night before and was among those who set it on fire, he said. In fact, being shot by the rubber bullets of riot-clad park policemen and other law enforcement agents excited him enough to make him want to burn everything down, including the White House itself.

“Why did they shoot you off the roof?” I asked.

“We were giving it to them good,” he laughed. “Bricks, rocks, bottles — they decided to get us back.”

It all sounded like good fun: the rioting, the vandalizing of revered public monuments, the smashing of windows, the burning, the looting — exactly what you’d do on a dull Sunday night during lockdown after you’ve seen everything there is to see on Netflix.

The Examiner concluded that these “peaceful” protests were “anything but peaceful.” 

Haaland’s support for Antifa

Haaland claimed, “I have never said that I supported Antifa. I have never said that Antifa was a peaceful, uh, organization.” However, that is not what she said in August of 2019 when she called an Antifa mob in the “progressive” city of Portland, Oregon, “folks who are the peaceful protesters working to safeguard their city.” Haaland did, indeed call the organization peaceful, despite Antifa terrorists pepper-spraying counter-protesters in the face and throwing hammers at them as they drove by. Some Antifa terrorists tried to pry open doors on a bus, while the passengers had to stave off their attacks. One man was beaten unconscious. 

Read more about it here. 

Haaland claims she has “never missed a vote”

Garcia Holmes challenged Haaland on the time she spent while in Congress campaigning for Elizabeth Warren’s failed presidential campaign. To that, Haaland claimed, “I have been at every single vote, I have been at every single committee meeting.” However, according to the government watchdog group GovTrack, Haaland had missed ten votes while in the House of Representatives, which is not “every single vote.” 

Read more about it here.

Haaland claims Trump called COVID-19 a “Democratic hoax.” 

Haaland, while answering a question about President Trump’s coronavirus response, claimed the President called COVID-19 a “Democratic hoax,” which an independent fact-checker,, proved was taken out-of-context and a misrepresentation of the President’s words. writes: 

“Trump did use the word ‘hoax’ but his full comments, and subsequent explanation, make clear he was talking about Democratic attacks on his administration’s handling of the outbreak, not the virus itself.”

Haaland also claimed the President “doesn’t really have a plan for COVID,” However, Garcia Holmes highlighted the President’s fast-tracking of the production of ventilators, providing critical PPE to states, closing off travel from China, among other measures, which clearly displayed the President’s leadership during COVID-19. 

Read more about it here

These are just some of the most egregious fact-checkable statements made by Haaland in the KOAT 7 debate. Last week, Michelle Garcia Holmes had a five-minute slot on KOB 4 since Haaland “did not agree to participate in a debate.” 

Gov. Lujan Grisham’s gargantuan flip-flop on fossil fuels

In October of 2019, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham told New Mexicans that she supports the oil and natural gas industry, giving a glowing review of the industry. She said, “I could spend well longer than 30 minutes telling you about the benefits of what’s going on in the state of New Mexico because of what’s going on in the oil and gas industry — opportunities that we haven’t seen, ever” at an event for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, Lujan Grisham gave her “professed her full-throttled support for the oil sector” during the speech.

During her 2018 campaign, Lujan Grisham took well over $198,480 from the oil and gas sector and took tens of thousands of oil and gas dollars during her previous runs for U.S. Congress, making her contribution total add up to $230,430, according to the government watchdog group  

However, the Governor’s actions in office, as well as her recent statements paint a quite different picture, saying during a forum with the U.S. Climate Alliance that “we need to transition out of fossil fuels,” which goes in direct opposition to her previous statements. She also claimed that the oil and natural gas industry “fully embrace” the idea of “climate change.” 

As well, during her reign as Governor, she signed into law the most radical state-wide “climate change” policy, dubbed as the “Mini” Green New Deal, or the “Energy Transition Act.” the 2019 Act will which will ban all oil production by 2045, which will not fare well for the fossil fuels and energy industry in the Land of Enchantment.

“For a Governor who squandered a surplus of over a billion dollars to call for the end of the state’s largest revenue source is nothing short of mind-boggling. In the past, the Governor has voiced her support for the oil and gas industry, but she tells a much different story to her radical environmental supporters. New Mexicans deserve to know if she’s lying to them or lying to us,” said Larry Behrens of Power The Future.

Disgraced NM House candidate used charity donor list to solicit campaign cash, lied about tax lien

Roger Montoya, a disgraced New Mexico state House District 40 candidate, admitted this week to performing in multiple pornographic films in the 1980s after the Piñon Post first reported on it last week.

Now, Montoya faces more questions about his ethics, particularly regarding his tactics to raise money for his New Mexico House bid. According to a former donor to the non-profit 501(c)(3) charity he co-founded and is currently the “Artistic Director” for, Moving Arts Española, Montoya appears to have been soliciting political campaign contributions from donors to Moving Arts Española.

The former donor, Larry Sonntag of Albuquerque, said Montoya contacted him at his home on July 30th, 2020, thanking him for a $400 donation to his campaign, which Sonntag explained that it must have been a mistake.

In a later August 3, 2020 call, Sonntag said that Montoya “had confirmed a contribution from me and my wife to his campaign. I told him that was not true and he then acknowledge[d] the charity donor list may have been used.”

The transcript of the call is as follows:

Montoya: You and your wife did contribute to the campaign. I think it was $400 in the primary. I’m confused. 

Sonntag: No, You’re saying we gave $400 to your political campaign? 

Montoya: Yes.

Sonntag: Okay, well yeah, I need to see that because that is not accurate. 

Montoya: Okay, well, maybe there’s a crossover somehow, which is unfortunate because this is the kind of thing that needs to not happen, and that could be on us. 

Sonntag: Well, that’s why I’m calling because we have given money to Moving Arts Espanñola.

Montoya: Right, and so there may be a confusion there in the lists is what you’re getting at.

Sonntag: I am, and that’s a problem because there should be no confusion between a charitable donation list and your campaign list.

Montoya: Yes, I hear you loud and clear. 

A subsequent email from Montoya to Sonntag confirms that Montoya used his charitable 501(c)(3) donor list to solicit funds for his political campaign. 

The email reads as follows:

 “Our records show that your contribution of $100 was received on 05-30-2017 to Moving Arts Española, a 501c3 charitable organization. 

I want to apologize for the delay in clarifying the unfortunate mistake we made in listing your name on a potential donor list for my 2020 political campaign for State House District 40. My interns projected an ask amount of $400 and that explains the mixup and the call I made to you.

I assure you that this list has been corrected, that funds in your name were not used in my political campaign which began in March 2020, and no reporting has been made to that end. Also, please know you have been removed from my potential donor campaign list.” 

The news did not sit well with Sonntag, who said, “Using a donation to his charitable organization as an invitation to seek a political campaign donation is not only unethical, mixing charity and political work is contrary to federal and state laws governing charities being involved in a political campaign.” 

“A complaint has been filed against Moving Arts Espanola/Roger Montoya with the IRS and NM Attorney General’s Office who regulates charities in NM based on a 501c3 charity being involved in a political campaign,” Sonntag said. 

The IRS complaint was filed by Sonntag on September 15, 2020, specifying in the nature of the violation that Moving Arts Española “is involved in a political campaign.” The complaint with New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office was also filed on September 15, 2020. Sonntag acknowledged that the information he submitted is “true and accurate to the best of [his] knowledge during the process of filing the complaints.” 

Sonntag also says he “contacted the President of the Board of Directors, Steve Cox, for Moving Arts Espanola, [gave] him the complaint, and he determined that Roger Montoya had done nothing wrong according to their donor relations protocol.” 

Sonntag commented, “What if the mega-churches in ABQ started using their donor list to solicit campaign contributions for members of their church who are running for office?  The fact that Moving Arts Española is okay with Roger Montoya doing this stuns me. They are a great organization, doing great work and shouldn’t have anyone, not even the founder of the charity, muddying the lines between charity and politics.”

No known action has been taken by the Attorney General’s office or the U.S. Treasury Department on the matter. 

Tax Lien 

According to an Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) request from the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue, Montoya appears to have lied on a candidate survey from the Albuquerque Journal claiming he had never been subject to any state or federal tax liens. He responded, “No” to the following question in the questionnaire: 

Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?

However, a document provided by the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue paints a different picture. According to the document, on January 16, 2019, Montoya had paid off a tax lien for an undisclosed amount filed on November 6, 2017. 

The official state documents do not add up to the answer Montoya gave on the Albuquerque Journal questionnaire. 

The multiple very recent instances of unethical and likely illegal activities by Montoya give more insight into the candidate’s moral compass and raise questions as to why he has not disclosed to the press accurate information and why he has solicited donations from lists of charitable donors to his tax-exempt non-profit organization. These revelations also help further paint a picture of how Montoya has evolved from the time he did pornography in the 1980s up until this point. 

Montoya’s campaign was contacted on multiple occasions for comment but has not yet responded to the Piñon Post’s requests. This report will be updated if Mr. Montoya wishes to provide a statement.

Note: all documents have been redacted of private information, such as contact numbers and addresses as well as personal identification numbers to protect the privacy of Mr. Montoya and Mr. Sonntag. 

President Trump says New Mexico is ‘a state I think we can win’

On Thursday morning, President Trump joined Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo for his first interview since he contracted COVID-19. 

During the interview, the President touched on many topics, but one, in particular, was securing the 2020 election and making sure that Americans can make their votes count despite the fraud that has already occurred running up to the November 3rd election.

During the interview, President Trump reiterated that he intends on winning the Land of Enchantment and that he has the “U.S. Marshal and the U.S. Attorney watching” the election play out. 

“We have law enforcement watching him very strong. The U.S. Attorney is watching [the Governor of Nevada], very strongly. The U.S. Marshal is watching. In New Mexico, a state I think we can win, we have the U.S. Marshal and the U.S. Attorney watching him. So, it’s not, it’s not easy for them because we have people watching. Nobody ever had. It’s a corrupt system because they are sending out millions of ballots,” said the President. 

The New Mexico Democrat Party has already signified they intend on doing ballot harvesting, specifically targeting senior citizens. 

One of the Democrat Party’s caucus chairs, Pamelya Herndon, revealed on a fundraising call for U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Ben Ray Luján and congressional candidate Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, that the Democrat Party is actively organizing members to visit elderly family members and drop off their ballots at polling locations. She said that the law allows people to deliver “at least one absentee ballot to a polling location” from a person who is not themselves.

She said, “Go by and talk to your senior citizens. See if those ballots have been put in the mail, and if not, pick it up and take it to a polling location… you can take at least one absentee ballot for a member of your family to a polling location. We want every ballot counted, Congressman [Ben Ray Luján] because we want to see that you and Xochitl Torres Small and everybody on that ballot for the Democratic Party gets elected.

According to state law the practice of picking up and delivering absentee ballots is as follows:

A voter, caregiver to that voter or member of that voter’s immediate family may deliver that voter’s absentee ballot to the county clerk in person or by mail, provided that the voter has subscribed the outer envelope of the absentee ballot.

MLG has hissy fit on Twitter after Pelosi refuses to negotiate with Trump on COVID-19 relief

In September, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham testified in front of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, asking them to bail out New Mexico, citing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and low oil prices. 

During her testimony, she repeatedly claimed she would be “tightening” her “belt” in the coming months and years. However, she has spent billions of state dollars on her costly pet projects, including implementing a new state department offering free daycare and the “Energy Transition Act,” which will totally wipe out all oil and gas producers within a few short years. Currently, 39% of New Mexico’s budget is sustained by the oil and gas industry.

While President Trump’s team has been trying to work on a second round of COVID-19 relief for Americans, Democrats have refused to negotiate with the Administration’s proposals, the President offering up to $1.6 trillion in relief, whereas Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her caucus have refused to make concessions from their $2.4 trillion proposal

On Tuesday, President Trump wrote on Twitter, “Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19. We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith. I am rejecting their request, and looking to the future of our Country. I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business. I have asked [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell not to delay, but to instead focus full time on approving my outstanding nominee to the United States Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. Our Economy is doing very well. The Stock Market is at record levels, JOBS and unemployment also coming back in record numbers. We are leading the World in Economic Recovery, and THE BEST IS YET TO COME!” 

Clearly rattled by the President’s statement, Lujan Grisham retweeted the President’s post, writing, “Thousands of New Mexicans need the federal government’s help right now. Not November, not whenever you get around to it. The pandemic is real, the economic crisis is real – whether you believe in them or not, Mr. President. Do your job.” 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lujan Grisham refused to trim the fat off of her bloated 2020 $7.6 billion state budget, trimming it to only $7.22 billion, while cutting $318 critical federal COVID-19 relief for tribal communities and local governments. 

Lujan Grisham has totally locked down New Mexico, which has killed most industries, including the tourism industry, which trickles down into many sectors of the economy. As of the latest jobs number report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Mexico’s unemployment rate was 34% higher than the unemployment rate nationwide and nearly double that of every neighboring state, including Colorado, which is also run by a Democrat governor. The neighboring states’ unemployment numbers are as follows: Arizona at 5.9%, Colorado at 6.7%, Texas at 6.8%, and Utah at 4.1%.

Lujan Grisham has refused to ease coronavirus restrictions in recent weeks, with the state’s small businesses and even larger businesses being forced into temporary or permanent closure. Just this week, the governor has gone after a trampoline park for reopening, while the state has seen more businesses shuttered.

New Mexico Democrats unite behind porn star-turned state House candidate Roger Montoya

On Monday, following the revelation that Roger Montoya, the Democrat nominee for the New Mexico House of Representatives, confirmed he acted in multiple hard-core pornographic films, first reported on by the Piñon Post, high-profile Democrats came to his defense.  

The state Democrat Party went on full damage control mode, with Speaker Brian Egolf bemoaning the fact that the Santa Fe New Mexican was reporting on the news, despite Montoya bringing public attention to it by offering a comment. 

Egolf said he was “disappointed tremendously” that the Santa Fe New Mexican saw the story as newsworthy and that “People should, and I believe do, make their decision on whom to support in an election based on who they are and what they can offer to their community.” 

In Montoya’s statement, he blamed his youth and need to use the funds to pay his way through college for selling his body and having unprotected sexual intercourse in multiple pornographic films. He wrote, “As a 22-year-old struggling college student, I was a modern dancer and performer living in Los Angeles.” He continues, “I was auditioning for commercials and doing my best to succeed. Among those choices were two adult films I acted in as an adult, with other adults, in a very different environment and time.” It should be noted that most struggling college students do not turn to pornography to pay their bills, and most actors do not either. According to the Hollywood Reporter, many in the entertainment industry have taken jobs in the foodservice industry — not pornography.

Montoya also tried to erroneously blame the Republican Party for his past actions as a porn star, despite the Piñon Post uncovering this evidence, not the Republican Party. Democrat Party chair Marg Elliston doubled down, claiming it was a Republican attack, and trying to pass the buck on President Trump, although the President has never had sex for money or performed sexual acts in any pornographic films, as Montoya has. 

Democrat U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-1) went on Twitter echoing much of the same rhetoric, writing, “The #NMGOP is quick to act high and mighty but their presidential candidate has assaulted women, lied over 20,000 times, and failed to protect Americans from COVID. @montoya_for has lifted up New Mexicans, and I have his back.”

New Mexico state Rep. Joy Garratt commented on a post by a Dr. Brittany Fallon trying to normalize Montoya’s actions, writing, “It’s up to the voters, and Dr. Brittany, thanks for the insertion of common sense humor.” 

In the Democrat Party of New Mexico statement, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich wrote that he encouraged Montoya to run, adding, “If I were a 19 year old kid struggling with addiction or exploitation, Roger is exactly who I would want as a mentor.”

The Republican Party of New Mexico urged Montoya to drop out of the race, writing in a statement, “It’s clear that Montoya’s values are not in line with the conservative values of the people of Northern New Mexico.” New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce wrote, “This irresponsible and reckless behavior of starring in gay porno films, whether it takes place now or years ago, is unbecoming of any candidate or elected official.” 

Montoya’s Republican opponent Justin Salazar-Torrez said that the “voters would have to decide” if Montoya is the right choice for New Mexico’s 40th District. 

The Democrats’ response to Montya’s announcement now appears to show their overwhelming support for their candidates to have acted in pornographic films where the individuals had unprotected sexual intercourse. By this standard, if a Republican or Independent candidate were found out to have acted in explicit material like this, they should also get a free pass, per the Democrats’ own standard, although that scenario is not likely to come up.

Montoya is a favorite of many top-level Democrat politicians in New Mexico. He has the endorsements of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, and has received over $2,500 from “MLG PAC,” Lujan Grisham’s political action committee. He has received campaign funds and endorsements from the pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico and the environmental group the Sierra Club. In 2019, Gov. Lujan Grisham appointed Montoya to the Human Rights Commission at the Department of Workforce Solutions following the CNN award. Gov. Lujan Grisham has not commented on Montoya’s confirmation of his sex work.

Luján defends his DC record while Ronchetti paints himself as an outsider in first TV debate

On Monday, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Mark Ronchetti faced off against Democrat nominee Ben Ray Luján and Libertarian Bob Walsh for a televised debate, although all three candidates debated from three separate locations. Ronchetti was the only candidate to appear in-studio, while Luján came in from his campaign office in Albuquerque and Walsh appeared from his home in Santa Fe.

Ronchetti came out of the gate pushing Luján on his record and offering himself as a clear “outsider” candidate who will get to work for all New Mexicans, while Luján repeatedly tried to defend his record, although he has never passed a bill during his 12 years in Congress.

Ronchetti was pressed on his support for President Donald Trump’s successful COVID-19 response, which he replied, “ What I said at the time was that knowing what we knew, that we moved ahead as well as we could. Look, there are a lot of people in this process and I give our leaders some grace on this, including Nancy Pelosi. We have a lot of people in Congress who looked at this and we didn’t know what we were looking at here, but we have made some real progress here. But have things gone wrong? Absolutely. Have we done as well as we should have? Absolutely not.” 

However, Ronchetti did mention many policies President Trump has implemented that have helped slow the spread of coronavirus, namely the implementation of the Defense Production Act to produce ventilators, a critical component in treating COVID-19, as well as the China travel ban, which blocked off those coming from and going to the infected source of the virus. He also touted the President and his COVID-19 taskforce for working to streamline the process to produce a vaccine. 

He also pointed to Luján’s support for supporting the HEROES Act, citing H.R. 6800 and H.R. 925, which would release violent criminals early and tax breaks for those who “absolutely do not deserve them.”

In solving the COVID-19 crisis, Ronchetti offered up solutions, such as liability protection for businesses and help for businesses left out of the original CARES Act. “Congressman Luján is right in the middle of this. He can go to Nancy Pelosi and say take this stuff out, let’s get something done,” said Ronchetti

When asked about Native American communities, Luján claimed a bill he “authored” was signed into law regarding Native American infrastructure, although no such bill with his name on it as hte primary sponsor has been passed. He also claimed he has been “leading initiatives with investments” regarding a “broadband gap.” 

Ronchetti noted that he wants to see new technology, not necessarily broadband, help bring high-speed internet to people in the Navajo Nation, and getting them the support they need to be successful. Walsh argued that no government entity should be responsible for helping Tribal communities.

As well, Luján defended Obamacare, which has raised premiums for New Mexicans and in the process closed down many physicians’ practices. Ronchetti, who said he is on Obamacare, was not able to get the quality of care for his daughter, Ava, who has a pre-existing condition. 

On the topic of Law Enforcement and policing, Luján said he doesn’t “want another Portland.” At the same time, Ronchetti made clear his commitment to Law Enforcers and touted his multiple endorsements from Police unions and other associations tied to keeping communities safe. Ronchetti said, “Well, guess what? This isn’t Portland. Someone’s got to tackle violent crime. Our families are crying out for it. And in this case, it needs to be the federal government because you get longer sentences when the feds step in.” 

“When I had a chance to visit with our U.S. Attorney, Mr. Anderson, I made it clear to him that what was happening in Portland was not welcome here or anywhere in the country. As soon as he told me that that would not happen, I asked him yet again that day ‘How can that $9.7 million dollars the Trump Administration had been holding up be released immediately?’ The same $9.7 million that I voted for to be released for the City of Albuquerque to provide more support for Law Enforcement to fight crime on our streets here at home, Mark, and it still has not been released as far as I know,” said Luján. 

Ronchetti replied, “The reason that $9.6 million has not been turned loose is because we are a sanctuary city and that is the problem. And that is the real issue here. In fact, Congressman Luján supports that as well…. For far too long, we have had these approaches, and unfortunately Congressman, right in your answer there, you gave it. The portland thing — that’s the first thing you said instead of saying ‘I’m going to stand up for the people of my city and state,’ your first response was ‘Portland.’ Your first response should be ‘Let me look out for the people of New Mexico.’ ” 

For New Mexico’s voters, the contrast between the candidates is stark. Luján offers years of D.C. experience, with powerful friends at the top of the Washington food chain, although he has not much to show for those years legislation-wise. Ronchetti offers a fresh approach to governing, and one that looks to speak with all sides to bring results to New Mexico’s problems. Walsh offers a hands-off, self-admittedly anti-government approach, with proposals to disband major government programs and support abortion-on-demand, as he said in his answer regarding the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe. v. Wade legalizing abortion-on-demand.

The full one-hour debate can be seen here:

Luján agrees to appear virtually at TV debate after months of dodging

Late on Sunday night, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Ronchetti announced that his Democrat opponent Rep. Ben Ray Luján had finally agreed to debate him, albeit not in-studio. Luján will appear via remote video conference, whereas Ronchetti and the Libertarian candidate will appear in-person to flesh out the issues facing New Mexico in this election.

Ronchetti wrote on Twitter, “DEBATE UPDATE: I’m excited @BenRayLujan agreed to participate in the @KOB debate tomorrow night. While he has chosen to not be in studio with me and join virtually instead, there will still be stark differences in our visions for New Mexico. Tune in at 6, tomorrow night. #NMsen” 

The move by Luján to finally accept the KOB 4 debate offer comes after weeks of dodging televised debates with Ronchetti, a former television weatherman, who has vast experience appearing on-camera while he worked for KRQE 13 News. 

Ronchetti has been pushing Luján for months to take to the date stage, providing the precedent from former U.S. Senate races to back up his argument that the opponents should appear at debates. Luján’s spokesman claimed, “an early October debate would detract from [Luján’s work on behalf of New Mexicans.”

With Luján appearing virtually, Ronchetti will have the opportunity to show New Mexicans his vision for the state while Luján, who will likely appear via video conference in Washington, D.C., may come off as out-of-touch with New Mexicans. Luján has been in Congress for nearly 12 years and has not passed a single piece of legislation in his name.

The debate will be aired Monday at 6:00 P.M. MDT on KOB 4 News.

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