Native leaders cry foul over NM redistricting map - Albuquerque Journal

Native leaders cry foul over NM redistricting map

In this photo from last week, Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart looks at a congressional map proposed during a Senate Rules Committee meeting at the special session in Santa Fe. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Legislators on Sunday advanced a new redistricting map for the state Senate over the objection of Native American leaders – who abruptly walked out of a Roundhouse committee room as the vote was announced.

The movement came after members of the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed 7-2 to forward to the full Senate a map proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque.

Her proposal reflected negotiations with Republican legislators and would ensure Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca of Belen and Sen. Joshua Sanchez of Bosque – both Republicans – aren’t paired in the same district, among other changes.

It’s a departure from the original plan moving through the Senate – a map that incorporated the wishes of tribal governments and Native American leaders from throughout New Mexico.

They said the map proposed by Stewart violated the delicate consensus reached among pueblos, the Navajo Nation and other tribal communities.

“Our voice is often ignored in this important democratic process,” Zia Pueblo Gov. Jerome Lucero told lawmakers as they considered the competing maps.

The Native consensus plan was proposed by Senate Majority Whip Linda Lopez and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, both Albuquerque Democrats.

But the committee voted 7-2 in favor of the Stewart plan, sending it to the full Senate for consideration. It had support from three Republican and four Democrats.

Native leaders and their supporters walked quickly and quietly out of the room together as soon as the vote was announced.

Stewart said her proposal made only minimal changes to the Native-consensus plan to avoid the pairing of incumbent senators.

“In the Senate,” she said, “we try very hard to be collaborative.”

Sen. Katy Duhigg, D-Albuquerque, supported the Stewart map but said it was a difficult choice.

“I don’t see that these changes would make it so that Native American voters aren’t able to select the candidate of their choice,” Duhigg said.

The redistricting plan was initially set for action by the full Senate late Sunday. But the vote was postponed after Democratic senators gathered for a private caucus meeting.

Acoma Pueblo Gov. Brian Vallo said late Sunday that he and other tribal leaders didn’t receive the proposed map changes until an hour before Sunday’s judiciary committee meeting.

The committee vote “was a total disregard for tribal sovereignty,” Vallo said.

But he left open the possibility that tribal representatives would meet with Senate leaders before the chamber takes final action.

“They need to make a commitment to hear from us and have a discussion together,” Vallo said after the vote.

Sen. Bill O’Neill, an Albuquerque Democrat who supported the Stewart map, said he expected discussions to continue.

“This is really hard. … We’re doing the best we can,” O’Neill said.

Democrats currently hold a 26-15 majority over Republicans in the 42-member Senate, which also has one independent member, Sen. Jacob Candelaria of Albuquerque.

The House has already approved a plan for redrawing the boundaries of its 70 districts. Both legislative chambers also have signed off on a redrawn map for New Mexico’s three congressional districts.

That proposal could be acted upon by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in the coming days.

The redistricting maps are based on population changes outlined in the 2020 U.S. Census, which was released this year.

Dan Boyd of the Journal Capitol Bureau contributed to this article.

 

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Native leaders cry foul over NM redistricting map


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Dem contenders for state AG spar over experience
2022 election
Torrez, Colón assure voters they would ... Torrez, Colón assure voters they would push for gun measures in TV debate
2
APS board balks at nearly $2 billion budget
ABQnews Seeker
  Nearly $2 billion is a ...   Nearly $2 billion is a lot of money, even for the largest school district in New Mexico. So instead of approving a budget ...
3
Hotshots protect their home turf
ABQnews Seeker
A day in the life of ... A day in the life of a Taos hotshot crew
4
Homes in North Valley not being evacuated
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque Fire Rescue said there are ... Albuquerque Fire Rescue said there are no threats to North Valley residents Wednesday night after a Bernalillo County Twitter called for evacuations due to ...
5
Boeing capsule lands back on Earth after space shakedown
ABQnews Seeker
Boeing's crew taxi returned to Earth ... Boeing's crew taxi returned to Earth from the International Space Station on Wednesday, completing a repeat test flight before NASA astronauts climb aboard. It ...
6
Firefighters rescue 'Cinder' the elk calf from fire's ashes
ABQnews Seeker
Firefighters have rescued an abandoned newborn ... Firefighters have rescued an abandoned newborn elk calf found amid the ashes of the nation's largest wildfire as calving season approaches its peak in ...
7
AG: Sandoval Deputy found with child sexual abuse material
ABQnews Seeker
Authorities say a detective with the ... Authorities say a detective with the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office was found with photos of children being sexually abused during a search Wednesday. The ...
8
APD: Man who killed father had history of mental ...
ABQnews Seeker
Detectives say a man with a ... Detectives say a man with a history of mental health issues beat his father to death and covered the body with dirt Tuesday morning ...
9
APD investigating homicide after man dies in hospital
ABQnews Seeker
Police tallied another homicide as a ... Police tallied another homicide as a gunshot victim died in the hospital weeks after being shot on East Central. Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque Police ...