On Saturday, New Mexico House Democrats tapped majority whip Rep. Doreen Gallegos (D-Doña Ana) as acting majority leader following the resignation of former majority leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, who is under investigation for graft.
Williams Stapleton allegedly took millions from Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) funding, which was spread to businesses tied to her, her son, and non-profits she was associated with. This happened for approximately two decades.
Following Gallegos’ interim appointment to the post, Speaker Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) said, “We are fortunate to have a number of highly-qualified and capable members who would serve as excellent additions to leadership.” He added, “Given the serious responsibilities of this position, we want to ensure that potential candidates and caucus members have the time needed before a careful selection is made.”
“I am honored and ready to step into the role of Acting Majority Floor Leader and ensure that the Majority Office continues to serve all of our constituents seamlessly,” Gallegos said of her appointment.
The news of Gallegos’ appointment comes amid calls by conservatives, such as Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation, who are demanding disgraced former Democrat leader Williams Stapleton’s name be taken off of the African American Performing Arts Center at Expo New Mexico which bears the embattled politician’s name.
Gessing says, “We have this facility now named after somebody who is in serious legal hot water, and we don’t know what the results will be, but it doesn’t look good at this time.” He continued, “If she is found guilty of a fraction of what she’s accused of, the name should be taken off the building.”
The Democrats will have to deal with Williams Stapleton’s alleged public corruption and Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s scandal-ridden tenure in 2022, as they seek to keep their majorities and power in the Governor’s Mansion.