Right off the bat, Lujan Grisham offered criticisms of the Trump Administration, accusing the President of not having a “national strategy.” She said, “If we had better national strategies and better national data, and universal testing, and software [inaudible] contract tracing, then we can really figure out when opening makes sense.”
When pressed about her administration using Descartes Labs to track New Mexicans through cell phone data in order to gather information about social distancing and citizens’ privacy concerns, Lujan Grisham went on the defensive. She said:
“Some folks got confused that somehow this is state data and [a] state effort, and it isn’t. It’s also aggregate cell phone data for the entire country. And Descartes Labs is a data — large data firm and they do incredible work managing any huge types of information that can be beneficial. So we treat this as a tool that allows us to figure out whether our social distancing — more than just looking at the cases, but looking at where people are traveling, how long people are traveling, and get a sense about whether we need to do something else that limits person-to-person contact and enhances our social distancing. In terms of oversight, if it was anything that we thought in this company or anybody else that was breaching already robust federal or state laws protecting privacy, a) we wouldn’t have a relationship, and b) we would do the appropriate accountability, but they’re just using aggregate data. We don’t have any idea who any of the cell phone numbers belong to — not just in New Mexico but nowhere in the country.”
Some have made the case that the use of grading counties by compliance to “social distancing” disproportionately affects rural New Mexicans who have to drive long distances to reach grocery stores and other “essential” businesses, as opposed to people in urban areas who have a shorter distance to drive to get these essential items.
When asked about Joe Biden potentially picking her as his vice-presidential running mate, and if she would accept the nomination, Lujan Grisham answered, “ Well, I will do this: I think that you want a vice president who was much like former vice president Biden. He knew how to govern, he had done a ton of work as a senator and in local government as well, and I think those are incredible attributes. I want to be the governor of New Mexico. I will do whatever it takes to support a Biden administration, and I’m looking forward to a federal administration that can do a national strategy in good times and in bad times both.”