Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – State Rep. Linda Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, resigned from the Legislature on Thursday, citing the financial burden of serving amid a pandemic that has squeezed family finances.
Trujillo, an attorney, leaves after having won election to the House in 2016.
She was set to be unopposed in the fall election.
Her immediate successor will be appointed by the Santa Fe County Commission, and a Democratic Party committee will choose a nominee to replace her on the ballot.
It’s too late for the Republican and Libertarian parties to nominate a candidate for the ballot because the primary election has already passed, and they didn’t choose someone then, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Trujillo’s departure highlights an ongoing debate over how to compensate New Mexico legislators.
New Mexico is the only state where legislators don’t draw a salary, though lawmakers in New Mexico are typically paid thousands of dollars a year in per diem and reimbursements. They can also participate in a retirement system that provides a pension.
Most of New Mexico’s lawmakers either have a day job that allows them to leave for legislative sessions in Santa Fe or they’re retired – a system that many legislators say limits who can afford to serve.
Proposals to change the state Constitution to allow legislators to draw a salary have failed repeatedly in recent years.
In written statement, Trujillo said the COVID-19 pandemic had affected her family’s finances.
“There is still so much I wanted to accomplish for the people of House District 48 and the State of New Mexico,” she said. “It is with a heavy heart that I submit my resignation from the New Mexico House of Representatives.”
During her tenure, Trujillo successfully co-sponsored legislation to establish a new early childhood department, make settlement records public immediately rather than after a six-month wait and revise election procedures.
Her district stretches across much of Santa Fe, covering parts of Cerrillos, St. Michaels and Rodeo roads.