MLG admin. staffer who worked on ex-porn actor’s campaign given massive $32k raise

New Mexicans are still suffering due to embattled Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s strict lockdown orders, which she changes every once in a while on her COVID rainbow, also known as her “red to green” framework for reopening. While New Mexicans are uncertain if their businesses will be forced to cut staff or change inventory levels due to the ever-changing color trajectory, Gov. Lujan Grisham is delving out massive raises to partisan staffers in her administration.

According to one report, Justin Garoutte, a special assistant to New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney, was given a gargantuan $32,000 raise, boosting this individual’s salary to $87,000 on a 40-hour-a-week schedule. That’s a 58% increase.

Garoutte has described himself as a “genderqueer gay” person. He previously worked on porn actor-turned New Mexico state representative Roger Montoya’s campaign as a “field director” and Montoya’s nonprofit group “Moving Arts Española” as a “development assistant” from March 2020 to July 2020.

During Montoya’s campaign, he used a charity donor list from Moving Arts Española to solicit campaign donations for his run. 

According to his LinkedIn page, “Justin (pronouns: they/he) is from Antonito, a small town in southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley,” the LinkedIn page states. “Their areas of interest are environmental health, health equity, Latina/o/x health, LGBTQIA+ health, community building, social determinants of health, and community-based participatory research.”

Garoutte will now be director of strategic initiatives, leading “our science, innovation, collaboration and compliance cross-cutting portfolios,” said Kenney.

This gender-confused individual is not the only person in the Lujan Grisham administration to get a hefty raise in recent months. Garoutte’s massive pay increase comes just 3 months after it was discovered the Governor’s office handed eight of her own staff members raises totaling $92,000 over the past year, a 10% bump on average, far outpacing the raises more broadly granted state employees.

The raises were as follows:

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 appears to be another “let them eat cake” sentiment to once again kick New Mexicans while they’re down.

New Mexico’s unemployment rate is 8.3% and is the third-worst in the nation. It is also at its worst point in 30 years, outpacing even the Great Recession following the housing bubble crash of 2008. 

Larry Behrens of the pro-energy group Power The Future said, “I can’t think of anything more pathetic than radical environmentalists handing themselves massive raises while New Mexico’s families suffer under the worst unemployment rate in 30 years. I guess leaders in this administration feel if you’re going to continue to attack New Mexico’s energy workers it helps to have a 5-person media relations office. The message is clear: if you’re part of the eco-left inner circle, there’s plenty of green for you because the taxpayers are footing the bill.”

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