SANTA FE – Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small stressed bipartisanship and cooperation Monday as she addressed the state Legislature for the first time since winning a nationally watched race in southern New Mexico.
Torres Small, just the second Democrat to represent the 2nd Congressional District in 38 years, was escorted into the chambers by a delegation that included her husband, state Rep. Nathan Small, D-Las Cruces.
She noted that her district runs from the southern tip of the Albuquerque area to the state’s remote Bootheel along the border with Mexico – a section of the country that puts New Mexico in the middle of the national immigration debate.
Torres Small didn’t directly mention President Trump’s push for construction of a border wall, which she opposes.
“If we want a strong border,” she told lawmakers, “it also has to be vibrant, and if we want safety, we’d better be good to our neighbors.”
Torres Small, a Las Cruces attorney whose election last year helped Democrats retake a majority in the U.S. House, urged state lawmakers to support roadway and infrastructure improvements in southeastern New Mexico, where an oil boom is boosting state revenue.
“We all bear a responsibility to support the region that is supporting New Mexico,” she said.
Torres Small is the fourth member of New Mexico’s congressional delegation to address the Legislature this session. U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland is expected to speak later this month.
Torres Small spoke for about 10 minutes.
“The challenges we face are felt by everyone,” Torres Small said, “and the opportunity we share can only be reached together.”