Why We Support Andrea Romero in Dist. 46

Rep. Carl Trujillo has too many bad votes too much funding from corporations, and too many hostile verbal attacks on women who have had the courage to speak up. And evidence of sexual harassment mounts. It is time to choose.

Romero vs. Trujillo

Until very recently this would have been a very tough decision to make. As reflected in our post on Tuesday, it is easy to see why some residents of Dist. 46 fervently support Carl Trujillo. He has been a fierce advocate on the issues of water and easements and he has carefully constructed strong allegiances by organizing Town Halls and by responding to individual constituent concerns, even going individually with constituents to county offices to help them work through the bureaucracy.

Those impacted by easement and water issues are impacted very directly and very profoundly. We met with Trujillo, we met with some of his supporters, we attended a Town Hall on easements, and we researched the easement and water issues. It is very important that we take the time to understand those issues so we can be more empathetic. Click here to review Tuesday’s post.

But there are just too many bad votes and bad decisions for Retake to support Trujillo’s remaining in office. And now with mounting evidence of sexual harassment, we not only have chosen to support Andrea Romero, we are calling for Carl Trujillo to resign. As this post describes, we are not alone. Here is why. Please note, that at the end of this post, is information about how you can canvass, call and contribute to Andrea Romero’s campaign.

Trujillo Sides With Bail Bonds Association & Betrays Democrats and 82% of Voters. Carl Trujillo was one of the plaintiffs, along with the Bail Bonds Association, suing to reverse the Bail Reform Constitutional Amendment passed by both Roundhouse chambers and passed by 82% of New Mexicans in 2016. This amendment allowed a judge to deny bail to someone deemed a violent threat, even if they had the monetary resources to post bail. It also allowed a judge to release someone without bail who is not deemed a threat, but who has no resources to pay bail. For years, individuals with minor offenses could languish in jail for months awaiting trial while those with resources could exit quickly, even if there was a clear threat that they would perpetrate more violence, an especially common instance in domestic violence cases. Senator Wirth and 82% of New Mexicans felt this was a problem worth solving.

Not Trujillo. He turned his back on his Democratic party to try to undo the Amendment that Sen. Peter Wirth had worked for years to pass. He turned his back on 82% of the NM voters. He turned his back on poor people who had been charged with minor offenses. He worked with a Libertarian attorney who is running against Democrat Hector Balderas for state Attorney General. And he aligned with the Bail Bonds Association who wanted to force the courts to continue to jail those who pose no threat but could not post bail, while preventing judges from holding others who do pose a threat but have the means to post bail. I wonder if there was any monetary incentive for the Bail Bonds association.

Carl Trujillo Votes Against Women, the Environment and Public Education.  In a prior post, we listed the numerous bad votes that Carl Trujillo has made while in the legislature, so we will not do it here, but suffice it to say, he has voted to curb women’s rights to abortion, to approve making NM the nation’s nuclear waste dump, and to ease open carry laws. He has voted against a bill that would have slowed the privatization of public education in NM, and he failed to appear to protect Chaco Canyon, to approve solar gardens, and to protect landowners from industry-generated water contamination. These votes are not the votes a strong Democrat should have cast; they are more aligned with the Republican side of the aisle. And we believe they are votes Andrea Romero would never have made. For a more thorough review of Trujillo’s voting record, click here.

Evidence mounts supporting sexual harassment claims against Trujillo. First, Laura Bonar made her claim of having been propositioned by Trujillo. She claimed that he told her he’d retaliate if she didn’t accede to his advances by not supporting a bill that Animal Protection Voters (APV) was advancing. She described how he disappeared while a furious effort to find funding for the bill was underway.

Trujillo not only called her a liar, he claimed he barely new her, claimed he had found another way to fund APV’s bill, and asserted that because he had a security clearance he should be believed, while because his opponent had submitted reimbursements for a dinner that included alcohol, he was more worthy of belief. I am not sure what Romero’s reimbursements have to do with Bonar’s claims, but the words deflection and distraction come to mind, good strategies if you can’t be truthful.

A few days pass and two colleagues of Bonar’s produce written statements that verify Bonar’s claims. First, Jessica Johnson, as a new lobbyist in 2015, sought advice from Bonar and Bonar told her that she had been harassed by Trujillo and the new lobbyist should not be in a room alone with him. Then another colleague produced a written statement with emails from during the Roundhouse session that verified that APV had to seek out another House member to find the funding for their bill, as Trujillo had not been responsive.

The same day those written statements were made public, Rep. Deborah Armstrong announced: “There are other women who have confided in me with very credible stories with witnesses,” Armstrong said, “and so it increases for me the veracity of Laura’s complaint.”

And this morning, the New Mexican reports that yet another lobbyist has stepped forward to claim having had a conversation with Bonar about the harassment in 2014. It is very hard to assemble an argument for how all of these claims going back to 2014 could have been orchestrated, yet Trujillo’s response is to claim that he is a victim of a “witch hunt.” Trujillo calls it a witch hunt, but as reported in today’s New Mexican, the legislature has launched a formal investigation and three additional House Reps (Garcia, Christine Trujillo and Debra Sariñana) have all announced that they believe Bonar and they have asked Trujillo to resign. To read the full New Mexican report that summarizes most of the claims and new developments, click here.

So, we have three independent verifications of Bonar’s original claim and at least two other women who have reached out to Representative Armstrong to make similar claims of harassment. That seems like a credible pattern, not a witch hunt. That sounds like women standing up for each other and calling out sexual harassment for what it is.

Calling women liars when they raise their voices about sexual harassment and calling it a “witch hunt” when others substantiate those claims or make additional charges is something we come to expect from folks like Trump or Roy Moore. There are much less vicious ways to claim innocence, maybe something like: “I am truly sorry if any of my behavior was construed as being a sexual advance, but categorically deny there was ever intention on my part to have compromised a professional relationship.” Instead, Trujillo chose to call these women liars.  

We believe Laura Bonar, we believe Rep. Armstrong, we believe Jessica Jennings and Elizabeth Johnson. And given the preponderance of claims, we do not believe Carl Trujillo.

And so for all the bad votes AND for his alliance with the Bail Bonds Association and subverting the will of 82% of the voters, Retake can not support Carl Trujillo. And while we will wait for an investigation by the Roundhouse on the sexual harassment charges, we agree with the three Roundhouse Reps calling for Trujillo to resign. We believe these claims, so we can not support Carl Trujillo and we call for him to resign. We are grateful for having such a tremendous challenger in Andrea Romero.

Why do we support Andrea Romero?

Retake leadership met with Andrea Romero and we heard of how she is a 17th-generation Northern New Mexican, born here and raised in Santa Fe, Española, Chimayo, La Mesilla, and Nambé. We heard how her father was the first in her family to graduate college, and we heard of her working hard to obtain a degree at Stanford University. Rather than seeking to use that degree for personal gain, she went off to Africa, founding a project in sustainable farming and water harvesting in Mozambique to help bring more diverse, efficient and effective, and sustainable food choices to an area where 80% of people subsistence farm.

We also heard a sincere apology for her mistakes with the LANL Coalition reimbursements so broadly publicized, even acknowledging that the greater mistake was her defensiveness in responding to those who raised the reimbursement issue. This is a big deal. In our meeting with Rep. Trujillo we asked him about many votes, donations, and positions and he had an “explanation” for every single one. In truth, Romero’s reimbursement mistakes add up to less than $1,000, and she has paid back all of that. Frankly, I find it refreshing to hear someone say “I made a mistake.” I actually think there is a gender thing here. Men are far more likely to reframe and defend while women are more likely to reflect and reconsider. I feel that there is a great need in the Roundhouse and in Dist. 46 for a moderating, reflective, and collaborative approach. I do not see that coming from Rep. Trujillo. I do see it possible with Andrea Romero.

As described in a prior post, Andrea demonstrated leadership and collaboration skills at the LANL Regional Coalition. She was successful at convening stakeholders from the Pueblos, the counties, and cities to successfully advocate with LANL and in Congress. In my conversations with Coalition members, she has been highly praised for her work at the Regional Coalition.

Does she have a lengthy track record? No. Is it time for new approaches? Yes. The Democratic Party of New Mexico needs an infusion of younger leaders to push us toward innovation, to look at new ways of doing things.

We took our time with this, but yesterday the entire Leadership Team of Retake Our Democracy authorized formally supporting Andrea Romero. We are not alone. This was released yesterday by Conservation Voters of New Mexico:

“House District 46, Santa Fe – Andrea Romero.  Ms. Romero represents a new generation of potential for New Mexico lawmakers. Her background and expertise in conservation issues alone would make her a clear fit for our endorsement, but she also represents the next generation of conservation leadership as someone who is inextricably connected to her district’s environmental values.”

Romero is also endorsed by:

Pueblos
  • Ohkay Owingeh
  • Isleta
  • Picuris
Organizations
  • Conservation Voters of New Mexico
  • Planned Parenthood Votes – New Mexico
  • Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLÉ)
  • She is designated a “Gun Sense Candidate” by Moms Demand Action-NM
Labor
  • AFSCME Council 18
  • Plumbers & Pipefitters 412

In closing, I want to reach out to Trujillo’s fervent supporters. Your primary reason for so passionately supporting Trujillo is your belief that he will always be on your side, that he will fight to the death for you. But perhaps that is not an approach that will achieve what you want. I don’t believe you want a fight to the death; I believe you want to find a just resolution to your water and easement issues that leaves you and your Pueblo neighbors in peace.  And I agree that it is the state and federal government who need to provide the resources and the clout to help achieve that settlement. I believe Andrea Romero is more likely to achieve that resolution through negotiation than Trujillo would by pitting Pueblo and non-Pueblo residents against each other.

I understand that you want an advocate to fight Hunt’s Verde power lines that are threatening your landscape, yet another example of big business priorities overriding those of people. But, I think you are far less likely to achieve that goal if you continue to be represented by someone who takes money from the same utilities from whom you seek protection and who disappeared when a vote was being taken to try to protect Chaco Canyon and when solar gardens were up for a vote.

Retake agrees with Northern New Mexico Protect and other strong Trujillo supporters about a good many important goals. We just disagree on who is best able to achieve those goals.

I welcome comments to this post, but want to alert you, I will remove comments if they are not dignified. We can all disagree; but we do not have to become enemies in the process. Whoever wins in June, we still have the same goal of addressing Dist. 46’s opioid epidemic, addressing the easement and water issues, and protecting your landscape from big business’s greed.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

To Support Andrea Romero & Women Who Aren’t Believed

Door Knocking Dates and Times 

Meet to Doorknock and Call at Andrea’s home, 1101 Hickox St. Santa Fe, NM 87505

  • May 12-13; May 19-20; May 26-27; June 2-3:
  • Saturdays, 11am-2pm
  • Sundays, 1pm-4pm

Phone Calling Dates and Times.  Sundays and Wednesdays: 5:30pm-8pm. May 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30.  June 3

Download our Volunteer Flyer here.

*We are happy to accommodate walking and calling outside of scheduled times. Let us know!

To volunteer, please call or text Cecile Lipworth at 505/699-2539 or email her at fieldhousedist46@gmail.com.

11 thoughts on “Why We Support Andrea Romero in Dist. 46

  1. Thank you for the depth and breadth of your coverage on this issue. We are so lucky to have this kind of committed citizen journalism.

    • Thank you. Even if you do not live in Dist. 46, the Dist. 46 Representative votes on so many issues that impact us. If you can, contact the campaign and offer to help: canvass, call, contribute. A lot is at stake and recall that in Alabama Moore almost won with far more serious charges facing him. We need to win this.

  2. ” In truth, Romero’s reimbursement mistakes add up to less than $1,000, and she has paid back all of that.”

    Where did you get this number? From Ms Romero? Well, then she has another “mistake” to admit to.

    I attended the two most recent Board meetings of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC). I came up with another number:

    Andrea’s contract called for her to receive $11,900 per month for her and an assistant. Because she over-billed, the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC) subtracted $2,200 from the January payment and $5,950 from the February check. (Then her contract was not renewed.)

    Now, more review by Los Alamos County staff shows that she fleeced us taxpayers another $580.86, for a grand total (so far and counting) of

    *** $8,730.86 ***.

    Then she runs for office. Of course.

    We are still awaiting the Special Audit by the State Auditor. Ms. Romero dismisses this because he was appointed by Governor Martinez. However, the audit was unanimously approved and paid for by the Board of the RCLC and they are pretty much Democrats. They would not do that for a biased audit.

    The Special Audit will do something that the earlier review (they do not even call it an audit) could not. It will look into double dipping — that is whether Andrea Romero and two mayors were reimbursed twice for one expense — and did this multiple times. I am not sure what crime that is — I will call it fleecing the taxpayer for personal gain and you can be sure it is a crime of some sort.

    Note: the numbers that I present above are public record and can be easily verified.

  3. thank you Paul and Roxanne. Until this race I didn’t appreaciate the difficultly of the work you do. You have been measured and careful in this endorsement, and I expect you will take a lot of heat for your decision anyway.

    Elizabeth Romero

  4. We have received some nasty comments on the blog post today, comments based on falsehoods and full of vitriol. These kinds of crazy rants don’t move the conversation forward. They do no one any good. We welcome respectful criticism and disagreement as well as thoughtful comments and questions. Hateful remarks based on twisted truths and personal vendettas are not welcome in this conversation. If you submitted a comment and don’t see it here, now you know why.

  5. Regarding Hunt’s “Verde” power line, Hunt is not just threatening our landscape, they are threatening way more than that.
    During last year’s legislature Rep Trujillo sponsored a bill to grant the PRC more oversight on power lines and in particular on merchant power lines (like Hunt’s). This is the best that voters can expect from any legislator who cares about his constituents and it is a certain fact.
    Everyone can speak, facts are what matter.

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