What you risk when you stand by your vote

Those who pay attention to the Republican National Committee know a fight for control of the organization occurred in the months leading up to the winter meeting in 2023. 

Leadership at the RNC is voted on every two years, and typically, the Chair is chosen by a sitting Republican president or the Republican nominee for President.

On December 19, 2022, Turning Point, USA, sent an email to all 168 members of the RNC. Charlie Kirk, the organization’s executive director, issued a threat. In essence, members who did not vote for his choice of chair would face a primary challenge under the pretense that the “grassroots were unhappy.”

From the email – “I am launching the Mount Vernon Project. This is a special project of Turning Point Action funded graciously by donors who are vocally disenchanted with the 168, which will seek to recruit leaders to serve on the RNC and at the state level who wish to better represent the grassroots voice.”

On the day my vote was cast, I was stopped by Charlie Kirk in the lobby of the convention hotel. He was asking members who they were voting for. Afraid to have a target on their back, many were known to say they were supporting his choice, even though they weren’t. I didn’t lie, I told him who I was supporting and why. Clearly not the answer he wanted to hear.

Once the votes were calculated, Kirk’s candidate had lost two to one to the sitting chair.

In addition to Kirk’s threat, RNC members were also doxxed by a group supporting his candidate, then the candidate herself, as she shared all of our contact information on X, formerly Twitter, not once, but three times in one day.

I am running for National Committeewoman again, not to represent the interests of any national organization but to represent New Mexico Republicans. No one outside my state recruited me.

I currently have 17 New Mexico endorsements and 10 from sitting legislators, and my list continues to grow. I have worked hard for the last 16 years to build relationships within my party and work with elected officials and volunteers to move our party forward. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished.

 The Quadrennial convention, where convention delegates will decide my race, takes place on April 27th. I humbly ask for your support for a second term on the Republican National Committee. Please read my Bio for more information. 

Tina Dziuk is an economic developer and the National Committeewoman for the Republican Party of New Mexico. She can be reached at tdziuk@aol.com.

Opinions expressed by Piñon Post contributors do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at news@pinonpost.com.

Murder mystery fans know: Guilty is the one who loads the bullet

Can you tell which is the live round and which is the blank?

We have all watched countless action movies and murder mysteries in which actors are killed or wounded on film, not in real life. That is why it was so surprising that Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot and director Joel Souza was injured on the set of Rust. 

The Santa Fe Justice Department, the media, and Hollywood have reported that an irresponsible twenty-two-year-old Armorer and an angry old Hollywood actor behaving recklessly were responsible for the death and injury on the movie set. But are they?

When was the last time an actor was shot and killed on a movie or television film set? In 1993, Brandon Lee was killed when his co-star fired at him with a prop gun during filming. Brandon Lee was killed by a blank, not a live round. How often has a gun been fired on a movie or television set during filming? I would expect it millions of times. That indicates that an impeccable safety record resulted from many safeguards being put in place. Safety did not count on just one person but a series of systems that ensured safety. As we say at Mick Rich Contractors and other companies, “Safety is No Accident.”

Marion and I enjoy murder mysteries, everything from Agatha Christy’s novels to the movie Knives Out. We have watched many murder mysteries where an actor is killed on a set by a weapon with a live round. The film’s investigator walks on the set, who fired the bullet, who was responsible for the handling and storing of the weapon. Every murder mystery investigator does not stop there. The driving question always is, “Who had a motive?” and “Who put the live round in the weapon?” The police investigators or the prosecutor on the Rust set never asked these questions. 

Before the day of the shooting, there had been no accidents or near misses. So, what changed from the day before the shooting to the day of the shooting?  There was a labor dispute, and the union members walked off the job and were replaced by non-union workers. This is a big deal! 

Our company, Mick Rich Contractors, assisted in building multiple sets when the film industry started in New Mexico. Once the film industry became established in New Mexico, we had a choice. We either became signatories to the union or did not work in the film industry. We chose not to work in the film industry. I learned long ago to either join the union or not, but not try to straddle the line because the risk can be significant. 

Santa Fe Democrats’ power stems from organized labor in every facet of our society. From the teacher’s union to building trade, public employee, and movie industry unions. Their contribution to Santa Fe Democrats funds their elections.  Michele Lujan Grisham and her fellow Santa Fe Democrats could not risk alienating the unions with an investigation into workplace union violence. The Rust investigation closed without discovering who put the bullet in the chamber.  

Rust Justice is just another case of Justice Santa Fe Democrats’ style. They mourn the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins; they congratulate themselves for the conviction of the powerless, reprimand the powerful, and continue with business as usual. While New Mexicans buried another piece of themselves with Halyna Hutchins. 

Have you decided how you will stand up for what is Right before it is too late?  

Host, “To the Point with Mick Rich.” 2018 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate (NM). Founder & CEO, Mick Rich Contractors. Husband, father, grandfather. Read more from Mick Rich at MickRich.substack.com.

Opinions expressed by Piñon Post contributors do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at news@pinonpost.com.

We need candidates to run for the Legislature — Here’s how!

New Mexico is at a crisis point where the most extreme far-left proposals are being rammed through the legislature, as we saw some this session to hike gas prices, force us to wait a full week to make a simple gun purchase, and so many others. 

Republicans fought hard for your rights this legislative session, as we did last year, but we need more of us to run — and win — to stop the bleeding caused by the other side.

Make sure you are prepared to fight to win in the race you are entering, and it is recommended you talk to leaders in your area to make sure you are the only candidate in the primary so you can win in November against the Democrats. If there is someone else in the primary, make sure you have discussions to make sure you are ready to do what it takes to win both the primary and general elections.

Also, make sure you know what you are signing up for. You will need the flexibility to take off of work each January-March in even years and January-February in odd years. You will attend interim meetings across the state after the legislative session, so be prepared to take off work for those also. Legislators do not make a salary (exclusive of set per diem rates for your hotels, meals, and gas), so take all of these factors into account before you run for office.

So, here is a how-to guide for becoming a candidate for getting on the ballot to run for the Legislature!

What you will need to get started: 

Pick a Treasurer

To begin your campaign, you will need a campaign treasurer. Find someone you know and trust to help you with this. 

Open a CFIS Account

You will need to open a CFIS (Campaign Finance Reporting Information System) account through the Secretary of State’s (SOS) website for your campaign by clicking this link here or by visiting https://login.cfis.sos.state.nm.us/ 

This will be used for reporting campaign contributions. 

The first primary report is due on April 8, 2024, for the reporting period spanning October 3, 2023, to April 1, 2024. All other campaign reporting dates can be found linked here or by visiting https://www.sos.nm.gov/candidate-and-campaigns/how-to-become-a-candidate/campaign-finance-reporting-schedule/ 

Save your Candidate Campaign Committee Registration Form. Print it out. This will be needed later.

Also, while in CFIS, fill out your Financial Disclosure Statement. This will be needed on filing day, so print this out also. 

Get an EIN Number

Your campaign will need an EIN number through the IRS to conduct its activities. Here is a link to the IRS website to apply for that: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online 

Make sure to save your EIN number and, ideally, make a copy of the “success” page affixed with the number for your records. You will need this EIN document in the future. 

Open a Bank Account

Now that you have successfully opened a bank account and a CFIS account, you can now open a bank account. Make sure to bring the official printed documents from the SOS and the IRS to do this. You will need a campaign treasurer to come with you to open the account, or the bank may need them to sign forms remotely if they cannot physically come with you to the bank. I recommend they be there in person.

Once you have your bank information, you will need to enter this into CFIS. 

Gather Signatures 

Now that you have all these steps done, you must register and get your petition signature site up and running. You can do that on the SOS site by clicking here or by going to this link: https://www.electronicpetitions.elections.sos.nm.gov/ 

To get paper signature forms ready, you will need to find the form here (https://www.sos.nm.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/2024-Primary-Statewide-Nominating-Petition_English.pdf) on the SOS website and ensure it is filled in correctly for your campaign with the exact name on your voter registration, the correct home address, the proper county, and the proper office (such as State Representative District __ or State Senate District __). Walk around your neighborhood or disseminate these forms to friends to gather signatures. Note: the form is also available in Spanish here: https://www.sos.nm.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/2024-Primary-Statewide-Nominating-Petition_SPANISH.pdf 

Each district has a different number of signatures required for your race. The required number of signatures you will need to gather is found on pages 31-33 of the SOS candidate guide linked here or found here: https://www.sos.nm.gov/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/2024-Primary-Candidate-Guide.V2-1.pdf 

File for Office

You will file for office at the county clerk’s office in the county where you live. For example, if your residence is in Albuquerque, you will file at the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office. If your residence is in Rio Rancho, you will file at the Sandoval County Clerk’s Office regardless of how many counties are in your district. 

IMPORTANT: Filing Day is 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on March 12, 2024, and on March 12, 2024 only! It is vital to have all your signatures collected by then and ready to go. Print your online signatures via the tools on the petition portal site and bring in the petitions you have gathered by hand as well. Ensure they add up to ideally 150% of the number required to account for any errors that may exist in the hand-gathered signatures. 

DO NOT BE LATE TO FILING DAY. Getting to the Clerk’s Office as early as possible (9:00 a.m. sharp) is recommended.

Things to Bring to Filing Day


Now that you have completed all of these steps and have all the proper information filed with the county clerk, you should receive a letter from the clerk telling you your filing was successful.

For any questions or concerns about what you need to file or if you have any issues finding any of this information, call the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office at 505-827-3600 (Option 2). 

Dates to know: 

  • March 12, 2024 — Filing Day
  • June 4, 2024 — Primary Election Day
  • April 8, 2024 — First Primary Report Due
  • Early Voting Dates will be found on the local county clerk’s office website. 

I hope this short guide helped you know what you need to begin your run for the Legislature in 2024. Thank you for stepping up to serve New Mexico! 

NOTE: This article is by no means meant to be an all-inclusive guide for getting access to the ballot in 2024. Any and all questions about the process should be directed to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office or your local county clerk. 

John Block serves as state representative for New Mexico House District 51, first elected in 2022. He is also the founder and editor of the Piñon Post. 

All of the worst bills passed during the 30-day legislative session

The 30-day legislative session was a success on many fronts for liberty-minded New Mexicans, with proposals to enact a “Green Amendment,” mandatory paid family and medical leave, and bans on most firearms, among other far-left initiatives not making it across the finish line.

However, some bad legislation seeped through. Here are all the worst bills that got passed during the 2024 Legislative Session. Click the “NEXT” button below to see the list of items:

NM’s ‘climate’ initiatives: addressing ‘JEDI’ in water infrastructure

New Mexico’s recent climate and energy initiatives, including H.B. 9 and the “Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion” (JEDI) program, have drawn attention for their focus on clean energy and decarbonization. While these initiatives may have their merits, concerns have been raised regarding the exclusion of certain organizations and departments from the decision-making process. Additionally, the pressing issue of aging water infrastructure in New Mexico and the wider United States seems to have taken a backseat. This piece delves into these concerns and sheds light on the need for a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to address critical issues. 

Exclusion of New Mexico Organizations and Departments: 

During a committee meeting, it was revealed that many constituents felt excluded from the decision-making process of the JEDI program. This raised questions about the program’s adherence to its own Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies. The dissatisfaction expressed by these constituents highlights the importance of involving all stakeholders and ensuring transparency in the development and implementation of such programs. To build trust and create an inclusive environment, it is crucial for the JEDI program to actively engage with a diverse range of organizations and departments. 

Neglecting Aging Water Infrastructures: 

While the focus on clean energy and decarbonization is top of mind for some legislators, it is equally important not to overlook the pressing issue of aging water infrastructure in New Mexico and across the United States. Failing water infrastructures pose significant risks to public health, environmental sustainability, and economic development. The transfer of energy should not overshadow the urgent need to address these infrastructure challenges. A comprehensive approach that considers both energy and water sectors is necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of New Mexico’s infrastructure. 

Moving Toward a More Inclusive and Comprehensive Approach: 

To address the concerns of exclusion and the oversight of critical issues, it is imperative for New Mexico’s climate initiatives to adopt a more inclusive and comprehensive approach. This involves actively involving all stakeholders, including organizations, departments, and community members, in the decision-making process. Transparency, open dialogue, and collaboration are essential to ensure that diverse perspectives are considered and that the initiatives align with the needs and priorities of the community. 

Furthermore, it is crucial to prioritize the revitalization of aging water infrastructure alongside clean energy efforts. Investing in water infrastructure upgrades and modernization will not only address immediate challenges but also contribute to long-term sustainability and resilience. 

New Mexico’s climate initiatives hold promise for a sustainable future, but they must address concerns of exclusion and the oversight of critical issues. By actively involving all stakeholders and prioritizing the revitalization of aging water infrastructures, the state can create a more inclusive, resilient, and equitable path toward a sustainable future. It is through collaboration and comprehensive planning that New Mexico can truly make a positive impact on both the environment and the well-being of its citizens.

For more information, please click this link and be sure to read the summary of the committee report. Video is provided so that you can review and see for yourself that the JEDI force is not following its own policy and procedures that it makes all other businesses and industries practice. Come stand with us against tyranny.

Paul Spencer is an entrepreneur and community leader from Grants, New Mexico. As the president of the local community public water system, Paul is dedicated to improving access to clean and affordable water for his community. He is the chairman of the Cibola County Republican Party, where he works to build back the political will of the people and promote prosperity in the region.

Opinions expressed by Piñon Post contributors do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at news@pinonpost.com.

Every villain wants the same thing: control

Our family just enjoyed a weekend in Disneyland. We love the Happiest Place on Earth and the opportunity to be lighthearted, spend time together, and play with our granddaughters. On this particular trip, I found myself thinking about how fairy tale storytelling compares to real life.

Does art imitate life, or does life follow art?

One thing that kept coming to my mind is that the villain in every Disney story is seeking to, in some way, control others. The Evil Queen from Snow White wants to take the lives of those who simply want to enjoy the beauty of love, freedom, and happiness. The Wicked Sorcerer wants to enslave or kill those who are simply living their lives. Some of the villains are male, some are female, and others are dragons or even snakes.

Regardless of their form, the one thing they have in common is their desire to control and take something from someone, doing them no harm. I couldn’t help but reflect on how I’ve felt this way at times as a Responsibly Armed Citizen who simply wants to protect and defend what I love.

The people who want to chip away at our freedom to keep and bear arms seek what feels like a similar type of control over your life and mine. Oftentimes, it comes with a “pretty face” or dressed up in some fashion that makes it challenging to disagree. They call it “smart gun laws” or “common sense gun control” and tell you it is “for the children.”  

In the world of Disney and fairytales, the antagonists and adversaries often cast their spells using cleverly worded phrases and rhetoric to trick well-meaning people into mindlessly nodding their heads in agreement. In the same way, those who attempt to restrict gun ownership are like modern-day pied pipers. They siren call their way into the words that spew from the mouths of our favorite Hollywood actors and feisty young politicians. And those of us who haven’t fallen under the spell are oftentimes painted with the brush of being small-minded social outcasts who love our guns more than our children.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, over 2.5 million times each year, lives are saved by people who are responsibly armed. I own and carry firearms for the express purpose of protecting my life and the lives of those I love. In this battle of wits and wills, what are we, the keepers of the truth, to do so that we, too, don’t willingly tie on our own puppet strings and become one of the Rights Restrictors’ bobble-headed marionettes? How do we save our children and our children’s children from drinking the poison of distorted history and protect this generation and the next from climbing down the steep staircase to the dungeon of gun-control lies

To break the spell, simply keep asking (and answering) one little word. “Why?” Why do we have a Constitution? Why did our Founding Fathers include a Bill of Rights? Why do the 27 Words of the Second Amendment include the clause “shall not be infringed”? Why did the very first gun control laws come about? And why are the loudest voices that are trying to restrict your rights to self-protection coming from the very people who have armed security protecting them and their children 24 hours a day? Why, if guns are bad, do these people rely on guns to protect them? Just keep asking why, and you will soon see the smoke and mirrors, half-truths, emotional manipulation, and outright lies begin to vaporize as the phantoms they really are. 

You and I simply want to live the American hope of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We want to build our little cottage, snip off the puppet strings, and live out the promise of a future filled with freedom. It is important to keep our eyes on the North Star of truth so that we, too, do not fall prey to the spells of those who want us to fall into the deep sleep of apathy and who seek to enslave us under their heavy boot of tyranny. We must know the truth and constantly plant the seeds of truth. We must every day take up our shield of wisdom and teach the next generation how to use the sword of truth because the villains are many, the villains are loud, and because every villain wants the same thing: control.

Second Amendment activist Cheryl Todd is a visiting fellow emeritus at the Independent Women’s Forum. Read more about her here.

Vulnerable Vasquez calls in far-left Gov. MLG for last-ditch 2023 fundraising plea

On Saturday, far-left U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez, who faces tough reelection odds next November, called in far-left Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to help him rake in last-minute cash ahead of the New Year by appealing to the fringe progressive base.

“Right-wing extremism and petty politics are on the rise, yet Gabe is committed to working across the aisle to vote for common-sense legislation that moves our state/country forward,” wrote Lujan Grisham in a fundraising email, despite Vasquez siding with the far-left on basically everything, including instituting a new land grab in Deming and refusing to vote to help reduce inflation under the Joe Biden regime.

She continued, “Fighting for this amazing state means fighting for progress,” adding, “While his far-right opponent is reliant on extremists like Donald Trump, Mike Johnson, and Kevin McCarthy, we know your support will take him past the finish line and into another term of building progress for New Mexico and America.”

It is unclear why the governor is name-dropping McCarthy, who just quit Congress, but it appears to be a way to fluff up the fringe progressive base in the attempt to drum up cash ahead of 2024. Former Congresswoman Yvette Herrell is running again with the support of all the U.S. House GOP leadership.

Lujan Grisham is woefully unpopular, topping the rankings as one of the least popular governors in America. Those numbers surely worsened when she unilaterally attempted to snatch Bernalillo County and Albuquerque residents’ gun rights via executive order, which a Democrat-appointed judge slapped down.

Now, Vasquez heavily relying on the far-left governor to help him rake in some last-ditch donations appears to be a move toward the unconstitutional governor and her extreme positions on anything from abortion to energy policy.

Lujan Grisham’s 7-member panel votes to limit gas cars in close vote

At the Rio Grande Foundation, we have written extensively about Gov. Lujan Grisham’s disdain for “democracy,” let alone a representative republic, but last night’s (Thursday, November 16) vote by her un-elected EIB takes the cake.

Unsurprisingly, despite overwhelming numbers of New Mexicans in opposition, the SEVEN member Board voted on a mere 3-2 basis (in support) to mandate a drastic increase in the number of EVs sold in New Mexico.  You can find the list of all seven members here while the vote was as follows: Bitzer and Trujillo voted NO, and Ely, Garcia, and Suina all voted YES. Two of the Board’s seven members DID NOT VOTE: Honker and Cates.

In other words, MLG couldn’t even get an outright majority of her un-elected board to support her policy to force cars that New Mexicans don’t want on them. That sets aside inherent biases and conflicts of the members, like Sandra Ely being a paid employee of the Environment Department AND being married to prominent, recently retired environmental attorney Steven Michael.

There are numerous reasons to litigate. We’re confident that lawsuits will arise from this “kangaroo court” in which massive policy changes are initiated by a board acting without as much as a majority of its own membership.

Paul Gessing is the president of the leading free market economic policy think tank and taxpayer watchdog group, the Rio Grande Foundation. This article originally appeared in Errors of Enchantment.

MLG embarrassed liberal politicians and media across the nation

New Mexicans woke up to “Governor announces statewide enforcement plan for violence, fentanyl reduction – Plan includes 30-day suspension of concealed, open carry in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.” 

Santa Fe Democrats didn’t believe suspending concealed and open-carry weapons would end violence in Albuquerque. As Bill Clinton’s buddy Rahm Emanuel once said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you thought you could not do before.”  Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s opportunity was to strip New Mexicans of their Second Amendment Rights while propelling her to the national stage.

What could go wrong? It worked with the COVID-19 epidemic. No one complained when she stripped us of our Rights while New Mexico became the worst state for infection rates. No one complained when Albuquerque Mayor Keller stripped us of our Second Amendment rights on our public lands while Albuquerque continued to set records for violent crimes. New Mexicans have had enough of being blamed for their failures.  

MLG was propelled to the national stage, just not in the manner she had hoped for. Her blatant effort to exploit the suffering of Albuquerque residents for her political gains was apparent to even New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation (whose dreams of Presidency went poof). MLG’s future went poof. 

MLG acknowledged that her actions were a boost to the NM GOP (also rehabilitated the NRA reputation) fundraising activities when she wrote on X,” I’m still waiting on a thank-you note from the New Mexico GOP,” MLG ended her post on X by “… using it as an opportunity for immediate action to save New Mexican lives.” The Republican Leaders in the NM Senate and House should accept MLG’s invitation to enact bipartisan legislation that will turn New Mexico into the safest state in the Nation. 

My top five legislative actions to make New Mexico one of the safest states in the Nation.

1) Allow New Mexicans to vote on a new Bail Bond Referendum modeled after the Federal Bail Bond system. 

2) Pass a “Darian Jarrott Three Strike & Your Out Law” that ends New Mexico’s enticement of felons from across the country. 

3)  Pass a “Jackson Weller Felon in Possession of a Firearm Law” that keeps felons arrested for firearm possession behind bars until their trial. 

4) Pass a “Peace Offer Recruitment Law” that compensates Peace Officers who move to New Mexico, restoring Peace Officers’ qualified immunity, and social workers are no longer counted as Peace Officers. 

5) It is time we pass NM Representative Rehm’s “Unlawful Firearms while trafficking” Bill. 

MLG and her Santa Fe Democrats have woken the New Mexican People. The Republican Party has an opportunity to demonstrate they care about the hard-working people of New Mexico, not just a fat bank account. 

Too many days have passed since my last article was sent to you and you deserve an explanation. 

This year, I aimed to finish Backpacking the last sixty miles of the John Muir Trail. The JMT earned its reputation as the nation’s most famous trail for its 8-13,000 elevation, 46,000 feet of ascent, 220 miles long, rough terrain, river crossing, and hazardous weather. That is why half the people who start the JMT finish. Because of where I stopped and restarted when I finished the JMT, I ascended 58,000 feet and hiked 238 miles. Not bad for a lovable old dog. 

This year, deep snow kept the trail closed until the end of July. Then, I scrambled to obtain a permit, purchase supplies, repair damaged equipment (my backpack is 45 years old), and finally train (hiking to the top of the Sandia Tram) with a loaded pack. On my last trip up to the top of the Sandia, I was jogging to keep up with the young bucks (Marion reminded me I am a lovable Old Dog). I tripped, fell, and jammed my back, making continued training and typing my articles nearly impossible. I then concentrated on rehabilitation and keeping up with business. 

I finally felt good enough to move forward to try. This past Friday, I left home for Mammoth, Calif., to finish the last leg of the JMT. The night before entering the JMT, I rechecked the weather. The long-term forecast changed; temperatures dropped by 10-15 degrees, wind chill is now a factor, and snow is possible. The window for finishing the JMT this year closed.  

A landscape with mountains and clouds

I will be back next year to finish the John Muir Trail

Host, “To the Point with Mick Rich.” 2018 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate (NM). Founder & CEO, Mick Rich Contractors. Husband, father, grandfather. Read more from Mick Rich at MickRich.substack.com.

Opinions expressed by Piñon Post contributors do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at news@pinonpost.com.

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