New Mexico

‘I’m staying’: MLG announces 2022 re-election plans during COVID-19 presser

On Thursday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced two new public health orders, one rationing health care in the state, and the other banning “non-essential” surgical procedures. The orders take effect on Friday, December 11, and go until at least January 4. During the presser, she also announced her 2022 re-election plans for the governorship.

According to the New Mexico Health Department’s press release on these new orders, “all hospital acute care facilities in the state may not provide non-essential surgical procedures. Non-essential surgeries are defined in the order to include procedures that may be delayed without undue risk to the patient’s health. The order outlines criteria to be considered in distinguishing between essential and non-essential procedural needs.” 

The order clarifies what exactly makes up an “essential” procedure: 

For purposes of this Order, “non-essential surgical procedures” include those services which can be delayed for three (3) months without undue risk to the patient’s health. Examples of criteria to consider in distinguishing between essential and non-essential actions include: (a) threat to a patient’s life; (b) threat of permanent dysfunction of an extremity, including teeth, jaws, and eyes; ( c) risk of metastasis or progression of staging; ( d) prenatal and postnatal care; and ( e) any other factors that will conserve medical resources without creating undue risk of permanent harm to patients.

This Order’s prohibition on non-essential surgical procedures is not meant to apply to: (a) the provision of emergency medical care or any actions necessary to provide treatment to patients with emergency or urgent medical needs; and (b) any surgery that if not performed would result in a serious condition of a patient worsening ( e.g., removing a cancerous tumor or a surgery intended to manage an infection).

The new “Crisis Care” standards implemented in the orders also mean doctors and nurses could be assigned duties outside of their traditional areas of expertise, which are outlined in Gov. Lujan Grisham’s prior executive order. The order states: 

[H]ealthcare professionals will be asked to assist in additional areas outside their scope of practice and to provide support, in any way possible, with the treatment and care of those infected with the COVID-19 virus and to stretch limited resources beyond usual and customary practice.

Providers have raised concerns about their legal protections when asked to address the extraordina1y demands of treating New Mexicans with and without COVID-19 during this heightened medical surge. For these reasons, I find that it is in the public interest to invoke certain provisions of AHEMA and ELA to ensure that physicians will not hesitate to respond and provide necessary assistance as “Contingency Care” standards have been implemented in many hospitals and in the potential event that “Crisis Care” standards are brought into effect.

Also announced during the Governor’s press conference was that all 33 counties are in “red” status, meaning harsh bans on businesses and everyday activities will remain in effect, such as 25% capacity or 75 people per grocery store, no indoor dining at restaurants, restrictions on churches, lodging, “close contact” businesses such as salons and gyms, no indoor recreational facilities, and only 25% capacity at outdoor facilities.

The Governor focused on COVID-19 testing as well, saying that the more people get tested, the more counties will shift from “red” with harsh restrictions to “yellow” or “green,” meaning slight relief for New Mexicans.

She said, “New Mexico small businesses and our local economies, quite frankly, are depending on us. They cannot make it if we do not do all the public health measures. I mean, They are completely, unequivocally dependent on our good public health measures. Without them, we just bring this virus to them.”

“Here’s the best Christmas gift that we can give New Mexico’s economy. All of those families who have family businesses — blood, sweat, and tears, their life savings in these businesses — we need more New Mexicans to get tested,” she added. 

Gov. Lujan Grisham says “the best Christmas gift” New Mexicans can give to small businesses is “to get tested” for COVID-19.

The Governor admitted how her public health orders are “completely unfair” to those grieving after a loved one has passed away, and her mandates have barred them from attending their funeral. “That would impact how many people could say goodbye to a loved one in that grieving process,” she said. “A pandemic knows no fairness boundaries. It just moves–it just wants us to get close and let our guard down. That’s the perfect environment for a virus. Funerals are particularly hard. It’s particularly hard to have a mask on. It’s particularly hard not to hug a grieving family member. It’s particularly hard not to pat someone on the back. It’s just particularly hard.” She added, “these are really high-risk environments.” 

Funerals “are really high-risk environments,” says @GovMLG during COVID-19 presser.

Lastly, the Governor answered a question from a reporter about possibly being tapped for the fictitious presidential cabinet of former Vice President Joe Biden, in which she announced her 2022 re-election as governor. 

She thanked Biden “for his confidence,” while throwing the Trump Administration under the bus as one that “doesn’t care about federal government services.” She said, “I’m staying,” and “New Mexicans should expect that I run for re-election in ‘22, and I will keep my fingers crossed that I can convince all these hard-working New Mexico families that I deserve another four years.” Lujan Grisham was previously snubbed by Biden for Secretary of the Health and Human Services after she turned down his offer to be Secretary of the Department of Interior.

“New Mexicans should expect that I run for re-election in ‘22, and I will keep my fingers crossed that I can convince all these hard-working New Mexico families that I deserve another four years” – @GovMLG during COVID-19 presser.

NM House Speaker Egolf claims Texas’ Supreme Court case wants to make Trump a ‘dictator’

On Thursday night, Democrat New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf shot out an apparent hastily written tweet giving his two cents on Texas’ recent Supreme Court lawsuit. The suit argues against four states’ elections because the states’ legislatures were not involved in changing election laws and procedures. The states include Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Egolf, the Santa Fe Democrat, claimed that Texas’ Attorney General, Ken Paxton, who filed the suit, was attempting to “install” President Donald Trump as “dictator.” He added, “Every silent Republican elected official is complicit.” 

It appears Egolf is in-favor of putting Republicans on lists if they do not comply with his demands. These tactics are reminiscent of New York socialist U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s attempt to document President Trump’s supporters and make their lives difficult for having such convictions.  

Ironically, Egolf has himself used the power of his gavel in a dictator-like manner by repeatedly chucking New Mexico House rules out the window to ram through radical legislation, such as with sweeping gun bans and sky-high fiscal proposals.  

The Texas Supreme Court challenge has 17 states joining in on the suit and over 106 members of the U.S. Congress signing onto an amicus brief in strong support of Texas’ move to secure the integrity of the 2020 Election. 

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-New York), explained the amicus brief signed by hundreds of members of Congress on Twitter, writing the following: 

“The amicus brief that was signed by over 100 House Republican Members today is about protecting our Constitution. The Constitution is clear; Election Officials and State Executives cannot change the people’s presidential election process without the state legislature. approving it. Additionally, it is unconstitutional to refuse to check signatures on mail-in ballots if the state law explicitly states that they must be checked. We are requesting that the Supreme Court carefully review the lawsuit and provide clarity to the American People, who are rightfully concerned about both the unconstitutional overreach from certain state officials and the integrity of the Presidential election.” 

The Republican Party of New Mexico has also lent their support for Texas’ lawsuit. “We stand by the Texas lawsuit in an effort to really examine what happened in many states on Election Day,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce. “There are too many instances where Biden votes suddenly appear. There’s even video in one state where poll workers discover crates of votes hidden under tables after the room is emptied. This has to stop, and these kinds of shenanigans must be addressed. All the plaintiffs want is to prove to the Court that what’s happened across the country was wrong, fraudulent and that the election results must be invalidated. We cannot allow dishonest elections to happen in our nation,” he added. 

Report: New Mexico gave Dominion Voting Systems $52 million

Forbes released a report this week detailing how states have given over $120 million to Dominion Voting Sytems from the years 2017 to 2019 to provide “election services.” 

According to the report, “Dominion Voting Systems is the second largest vendor in the non-transparent and entrenched election system industry where three vendors control 88-percent of the market.” 

Dominion systems have reportedly switched thousands of votes, and even faculty at the nation’s leading universities, including Princeton University, have issued warnings of how the machines can be manipulated to “flip” votes.

The Piñon Post exclusively reported on Dominion voting machines being adopted starting in the 2014 election cycle under corrupt ex-Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who was convicted for embezzlement.  

Our previous post details what machines were adopted and how they can be used to potentially change or skew votes: 

During her term, Dominion’s ImageCast Evolution unit was adopted, which according to Dominion, “is a precinct-level, digital scan, ballot marking device and tabulator that is designed to perform three major functions: • Ballot scanning and tabulation • Ballot review and second chance voting • Accessible voting and ballot marking.” 

Also adopted were Dominion’s ImageCast Central machines. According to Dominion, “Central scanning is typically used to process absentee or mail-in ballots. The election definition is taken from EMS, using the same database that is utilized to program any precinct scanners for a given election. Multiple ImageCast Central scanners can be programmed for use in an election. The ImageCast Central application is installed and later initialized on a computer attached to the central count scanner. Ballots are processed through the central scanner(s) in batches based on jurisdictional preferences and requirements.” 

Another machine adopted under the corrupt Duran administration at the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office was the ICP-BMD machine, a ballot marking device that is supposed to be used for people with disabilities. 

These machines can be manipulated, according to reports from other counties. According to the County of Santa Clara, California, the Dominion central count scanners “[a]llows staff to adjust tally based on review of scanned ballot images.” 

According to Forbes, “Dominion received $52 million from the state government. Services included the full suite of hardware and software information-technology agreements.” 
More information can be found about voter fraud in New Mexico by reading our report here.

OSHA complaint filed against NM abortion business after staff member dies of COVID-19

On Wednesday, Abortion on Trial, a pro-life group, filed an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) complaint against a Sunland Park abortion facility, Women’s Reproductive Clinic of Sunland Park, alleging that the location did not alert the Department of Health that a member of facility’s staff had contracted COVID-19.

One staff member, Gloria Martinez, died of the virus, while the abortionist himself, Dr. Franz Theard, was previously in an intensive care unit recovering from the virus, alleges the organization.

“Women’s Reproductive Center of Sunland Park is engaging in dangerous practices which have left one employee dead and another one in the ICU due to the contraction of Covid-19. The clinic has failed to report this as required by law,” reads the group’s letter.

“[D]ue to the extreme infection at Women’s Reproductive Clinic of Sunland Park, the Department of Health should immediately implement protective measures for abortion clinics,” the complaint continues.

According to the group, Women’s Reproductive Clinic of Sunland Park is seeing patients despite its “extreme outbreak of Covid-19. Numerous women have been seen recently entering the facility for abortion services without masks, without social distancing, and without there having been any inspection or investigation by the Department of Health or OSHA.”

One other point made in the letter is that the vacuum aspirator machines used to kill children through abortions may “lead to aerosolization of droplets which contain the Covid-19 virus,” and as such, the abortion facility “could be the source of a super spreader event.”

Ethel Maharg of New Mexico Right to Life commented on the issue saying “No quarantine restrictions are adhered to, yet no police are being dispatched there to make certain they are not violating the health order. No citations are issued, and no one is going to jail. This is clearly hypocrisy as women are allowed to choose abortion, yet we are not allowed to live our lives as free citizens. Where is the right to choose here?”

Jamie Jeffries, executive director of Abortion On Trial, said, “The way this doctor dropped the ball on handling a Covid-19 outbreak in his clinic is simply unacceptable. When healthcare providers are the source of a public health crisis the state needs to step in and do something to protect their citizens.”

There has not been word back yet from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office on the complaint. If the Governor’s office does wish to comment, this article will be updated with their response.

Did Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham go to Hawaii?

The above artwork is not an actual photograph of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in Hawaii. It is a composited image.

On November 20, a rumor began floating around on social media that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was in Hawaii at that time. As all good reporters do, the Piñon Post reached out to the Governor’s press secretary, Nora Sackett, and communications director, Tripp Stelnicki, to ask for comment on the claim.

Despite repeated requests for comment from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office, there was no response to our emails and calls. 

There was not much information to go by to verify the unsubstantiated rumor that the Governor was in Hawaii, however, a possibly pre-recorded interview between Lujan Grisham and PBS’ Judy Woodruff, aired on the 20th. This may suggest the Governor was not in Hawaii, at least on the days prior to the interview hitting the airwaves.

Since the Governor’s office refused to offer a response to the Piñon Post, we were forced to file an Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) request, to which we were given no records tying Lujan Grisham to a Hawaii getaway. We did, however,  uncover interesting conversations between the Governor’s staffers, showing their true feelings about the people of New Mexico.  

Reporters from other networks (not the Piñon Post) asked Lujan Grisham’s office if she was in Hawaii, and were given responses from the communications team — something never before afforded to the Piñon Post. 

KOB 4 News’ Jaden Torres asked press secretary Nora Sackett, “Nora, we have received several emails from people stating that the governor was seen at the airport about to leave on a flight to Hawaii this weekend. She said they have several friends that are flying through and they spotted her, supposedly. Reaching out to confirm this allegation, or debunk it. Appreciate the time!” 

The Governor’s press secretary offered a lengthy answer claiming the Governor took no such trip while bashing Republicans and judging the asker of the question for being at the airport: 

In my perfect dream world you would first ask any one of those people to show where they got this supposed information from. The governor is at home in Santa Fe, where she very clearly was in her livestreamed press conference just yesterday. She is not leaving her home – as all New Mexicans have been instructed to do to stop the spread of the virus. She has not left the state since before the outset of the pandemic. People saying things on the internet doesn’t make them true. Please feel free to encourage Republicans on Facebook on my behalf to get new hobbies 🙂 Also please remind your viewers that no one should be traveling through any airports right now unless it is for absolutely essential purposes!

Brittany Bade of KRQE 13 News asked Sackett, “We are getting inundated with messages from people who are very upset, claiming that the Governor is in Hawaii. I’m not seeing that information anywhere and it’s probably just coming from a random Facebook post, but I’d like to clarify. Is the Governor in Hawaii?” Sacket replied with the same condescending answer sent to KOB’s Jaden Torres.

In another email exchange, the Governor’s “Special Assistant,” Chris Garcia in an email titled “Let’s go to Hawaii” told communications director Tripp Stelnicki, “Taking calls on a fake FB post that the GOV is in Hawaii.” 

Stelnicki replied, “We’ve gotten asked about it. Sooo dumb. I’m at her houe [sic] right now– can confirm, not in Hawaii!” 

It cannot be proven for certain if the Governor was in Hawaii, however, based on the PBS interview and internal correspondences between the Governor’s staff, it can be concluded that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham likely was not in Hawaii on November 20th. 

Also revealed in these conversations, both internally and externally, the Governor’s communications team has no issues with being open about their disdain for Republicans and reporters merely asking questions. 

Congresswoman-elect Yvette Herrell reveals her official U.S. House photo

On Tuesday, Congresswoman-elect Yvette Herrell of New Mexico’s Second Congressional District revealed her brand new official photograph as a new member of the U.S. House of Representatives. 

In a Tweet, the Congresswoman-elect wrote shared with her followers the photograph, featuring her wearing a black and white houndstooth jacket and a pin with the New Mexico and American flags. 

See Rep.-elect Herrell’s beautiful official photo here: 

Herrell beat one-term incumbent Democrat Rep. Xochitl Torres Small by a sizeable margin in November, running on a pro-Trump, pro-gun, and pro-business ticket.

ABQ City Hall: Protest opposing COVID crackdown bill turns into celebration after councilors nix it

On Monday, the Albuquerque City Council was set to vote on Ordinance 20-40, a strict COVID-19 enforcement bill that would make it a misdemeanor to disobey public health orders. 

The Piñon Post reported last week on the proposal, and countless New Mexicans wrote the Albuquerque City Council demanding they withdraw the bill.

On Monday, the Piñon Post learned from City Council staff that “the sponsors have chosen to take it off the agenda for today,” but they “have not said” if they will place it back on the agenda. Later that day, it was formally announced that the bill sponsors, Councilors Isaac Benton and Cynthia Borrego had withdrawn the proposal. 

A group of patriots was already planning on organizing outside of City Hall to protest the ordinance. However, that protest turned into a celebration of the proposal being nixed. 

Protesters came with American flags, Trump flags, and patriotic gear. Here is a picture of the schene:

Steve Pearce re-elected as New Mexico GOP Chairman

On Monday evening, the Republican Party of New Mexico held their State Central Committee meeting where they voted on the self-nominated candidates for party chair, vice-chair, second vice-chair, treasurer, secretary, and vice chairs for all three congressional districts.

Chairman Pearce, a longtime U.S. congressman, state legislator, faced his first re-election challenge for the chair position, with three candidates vying for the role.

As a seven-term congressman, he has an impressive record of achievement, with 87 bills he had sponsored and cosponsored became law. Pearce has also been a fearless advocate for the Oil & Gas industry, which holds up our economy, and the right to life. 

However, Pearce came out victorious winning the vote, beating his nearest competitor, by 76-47. Robert J. Aragon was elected as 1st Vice-Chair, Robert (Bob) Taylor Graham was elected as 2nd Vice-Chair, Ali Ennenga was elected as CD1 Vice-Chair, Amy Barela was elected as CD2 Vice-Chair, Anita Statman was elected as CD-3 Vice-Chair, Mari Trujillo Spinelli was elected as Secretary, and Leonard-David Chavez was elected as Treasurer. Each position is a two-year term.

Pearce looks to continue building the Republican Party in the state and growing the party’s base. Under his chairmanship, the Republican Party raised $6 million — a figure never seen since 2000 — and 30,000 new registered Republican voters. He also recruited 101 candidates to run for office in 2020, the greatest Republican spread in years. 

Despite some nasty campaigners looking to tear down Pearce, claiming he has been ineffective, his numbers appear to speak for themselves, with no huge losses in the Legislature, reclaiming Congressional District Two, his former seat, and making millions of voter contacts. 

Pearce has proven he can raise money, organize massive field campaigns across the state, and recruit a robust set of candidates to run. He has continued to be resolute in his support for Presodent Trump and his America First policies, and securing the vote. 

The Piñon Post previously interviewed Pearce before the race. Check out our interview below: 

MLG’s press secretary, state rep. mock New Mexicans in latest social media tirade

Yesterday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s press secretary, Nora Sackett, retweeted a post showing screenshots of a conversation between people asking if they will take the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available.

The conversation shows one person saying they were tested five times, while another person responds with “You weren’t given a vaccine because it isn’t out yet cousin.” 

Sackett wrote in her retweet, “I’m crying but also I want to die,” adding in a subsequent tweet, “Also there is like a not insignificant chance these are New Mexicans I swear to god.” 

The post appears to be insinuating that Sackett thinks those in the conversation are stupid while joking that they are likely New Mexicans. 

A far-left state representative, Elizabeth Thomson (D-Albuquerque), commented, “Yikes. Some education is obviously in order. Unfortunately, all of the disinformation is rampant and strong.” 

However, those on the right have taken offense to the off-color joke by the press secretary, with one commenting, “This is the disdain that @GovMLG and her staff have for New Mexicans. While New Mexicans die, her staff insinuates that New Mexicans are stupid. PATHETIC. #nmpol #nmleg” 

State Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences) wrote, “Wow! I don’t know why I keep feeling shocked by the behavior of the governor’s communication staff. They continue to show their distain [sic] for New Mexico residents.  #nmpol #nmgov #nmleg” 

This is just the latest condescending comment toward New Mexicans coming from the Governor’s press office, with communications director Tripp Stelnicki belittling a local television news reporter. 

After backlash, ABQ City Council drops bill jailing people for non-compliance with COVID mandates

The Piñon Post has learned that Ordinance 20-40, sponsored by Councilors Isaac Benton and Cynthia Borrego, which would mandate fines and jail time for those not following public health orders, will no longer be considered at Monday’s 3:00 City Council meeting.

According to City Council staff, “the sponsors have chosen to take it off the agenda for today,” but they “have not said” if they will place it back on the agenda. 

Our reporting was followed-up by a formal announcement from the Council, reading, “City Councilors Cynthia Borrego and Isaac Benton have announced that they are withdrawing O-20-40, relating to enforcement of Public Health Orders. They will turn their attention to creating an educational campaign to assist community compliance with Public Health Orders.”

The proposal would have charged all who “knowingly obstruct, impede with, or interfere with any City employee’s officer’s or agent’s enforcement of any public health laws, orders, or restrictions” with a misdemeanor, which is subject to a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or both. 

The backtracking on the proposal appears to be, at least in part, due to public outrage, with many reaching out to city councilors demanding they vote against the proposal. The New Mexico Republican Party shared a post on Saturday urging supporters to contact councilors to oppose the bill.

Albuquerque residents were planned to protest the bill at 12:00 noon on Monday, however, according to one organizer of the protest, it will now be “turned into a celebration.” 

Regardless, if citizens would like to contact City Council members regarding the proposal, their emails can be found below:

Mayor Tim Keller: MayorKellerIQ@cabq.gov

Councilor Lan Sena, District 1: lansena@cabq.gov

Councilor Isaac Benton, District 2: ibenton@cabq.gov

Councilor Klarissa Peña, District 3: kpena@cabq.gov

Councilor Brook Bassan, District 4: bbassan@cabq.gov

Councilor Cynthia Borrego, District 5: cynthiaborrego@cabq.gov

Councilor Pat Davis, District 6: patdavis@cabq.gov

Councilor Diane G. Gibson, District 7: dgibson@cabq.gov

Councilor Trudy Jones, District 8: trudyjones@cabq.gov

Councilor Don Harris, District 9: dharris@cabq.gov

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