Throughout the brief but destructive governorship of Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico families have been devastated by ruthless lockdowns, destructive anti-energy policies destroying jobs each day, condescension from the governor and her staff, and most of all: hypocrisy.
Gov. Lujan Grisham has perfectly embodied what it means not to represent one’s constituents. At every turn, the Governor has either belittled New Mexicans or has made them suffer one way or another.
Before she was elected as governor, then-U.S. Rep. Lujan Grisham already foreshadowed her loathing for rural New Mexicans—namely ones who live in the beautiful rural town of Deming, New Mexico. While at a Santa Fe fundraiser, she said, “I met a woman in Deming. Her name is Gladys. So she’s not—she wasn’t born in New Mexico. But she chose New Mexico, and she chose Deming! I know… I didn’t mean that to be…”
But despite the many calls warning of Lujan Grisham’s radicalism on everything from energy policy to abortion, she was sent to Santa Fe to serve as governor, leading New Mexico into one of the darkest ages our state has ever encountered.
In her first few months, Lujan Grisham inflicted as much damage as possible during the 2019 Legislative Session, ramming through a radical universal background check bill for firearms, belittling New Mexico’s sheriffs, trying to pass an abortion up-to-birth and infanticide bill, passing the Energy Transition Act—New Mexico’s “Green New Deal,” the creation of a new free daycare department, abolishing the “Right to Work,” raising the minimum wage, and much more.
Throughout her destructive reign, New Mexicans have received nothing but rancor from the Governor, as she and her staff have repeatedly branded New Mexicans as stupid, belittled our people across the state from Hobbs to Española, broken her COVID-19 mandates to buy luxury jewelry while New Mexicans starve, forced New Mexicans to stand in hours-long freezing bread lines over the holidays, among countless other cruel actions.
While New Mexicans were standing out in the cold, her office claimed they were just “Republican talking points,” adding that “The state is not forcing anyone to stand in a crowded line, as you suggest.” That was not true.
The Governor singled out multiple small businesses across New Mexico, dealing $60,000 fines for alleged non-compliance with her orders. Lujan Grisham also went after larger businesses, including two O’Reilly Auto Parts stores she claimed were not complying, and slapping them with $80,000 and $250,000 fines. She even went after the Republican Party of New Mexico, slapping them with an order. But big box stores like Walmart (that gave her plenty of campaign cash) were allowed to stay open.
Now, the Governor’s already high-paid staff, including communications director Tripp Stelnicki who belittled a KOB 4 News reporter, got extravagant raises during the pandemic, where New Mexicans are losing their jobs and livelihoods. The governor’s office is not only unaffected by the Governor’s cruel shutdown—they are now celebrating from their ivory towers with raises upwards of $10,000 each. Over half of the Governor’s staff already make well over $100,000 annually, while the most entry-level position in her office, “Student Intern,” was budgeted for $36,000—which is $17,000+ more than someone making minimum wage in New Mexico.
Here’s the breakdown of raises, per KOB 4:
Comm. Director Tripp Stelnicki ($18,600), Director of Boards and Commissions Melissa Salazar ($12,000), Chief of Staff Teresa Casados ($10,800), Chief of Staff Matt Garcia ($10,600), Cabinet Director Dominic Gabello ($10,600), Policy Advisor Diego Arencon ($10,000), Director of Cabinet Affairs Caroline Buerkle ($10,000) and Director of Legislative Affairs Victor Reyes ($7,500).
But the raises didn’t come without a thick layer of condescension from the ivory towers of the Governor’s Office. Press secretary Nora Sackett said, “Governor’s office staff play a critical role in the operation of the state’s executive branch and the governance of the state – all of which is amplified during a yearlong crisis.” This is just another “let the meat cake” sentiment to once again kick New Mexicans while they’re down.
Gov. Lujan Grisham’s continual hatred for everyday New Mexicans highlights the desperate need our state has for leaders who TRULY represent the people. For years, people like Lujan Grisham and many in the Legislature have sat around and enriched themselves while New Mexicans suffer. In 2022, if we ever are going to rid New Mexico of “the Grish” and her minions in the Legislature, we need new blood in the resistance to fight back against these swampy politicians’ disregard for New Mexico values and our people’s livelihoods. Keep up the fight and never relent!