SANTA FE — House Minority Whip Rod Montoya, R-Farmington, had some harsh words for legislative leaders this week as the special session got underway, accusing lawmakers of “aggressive race-baiting” and unjustified allegations of bullying and sexism.
He outlined his thoughts in a three-page letter to Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers of the Legislature.
Montoya said that as a Hispanic man married to a Native American woman, he is tired of white progressives offering platitudes about climate change as Navajo coal miners and others lose their jobs.
“Members of the Democrat Party regularly use such terms as ‘marginalized peoples,’ ‘institutional racism,’ and ‘implicit bias’ to avoid having to answer legitimate policy questions,” Montoya said. “While this may be an effective way to shut down opposition, it does not benefit us as a lawmaking body.”
Montoya’s comments came after a tense end to the 60-day session that wrapped up March 20, when there were allegations of bullying in a Senate debate and inappropriate questions about a Cabinet nominee’s race during a confirmation hearing.
After the session, Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, said some of the newly elected senators had “pointed out how poorly women, especially, were treated” at the Roundhouse.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat and former state Cabinet secretary, said it was time to “stand up and stop creating environments where it’s just too easy to be hostile, angry, sexist, racist and inappropriate.”
Stewart and Lujan Grisham made their comments in a news conference just after adjournment of the 60-day session. Montoya’s letter is dated Tuesday, when lawmakers reconvened for a special session.