What’s Carl Trujillo hiding?
It’s nice that Carl Trujillo wants to listen, but what we need is someone who has the guts and the spine to act.
I’m a voter in House District 46. Our district spans northern Santa Fe County, including parts of the city and into Nambé, Pojoaque, Tesuque, and as far north as Santa Cruz. We’re as diverse as it comes in New Mexico. We share feast days with our neighbors, tend to the acequias in the mornings, and go to church on Sundays. We value our families, education, loyalty and friendship. We’re proud Democrats up here. And we vote.
I read the article that Deborah Busemeyer wrote (Gov’t experience an issue in Coss-Trujillo race, May 11, 2012), about the contest between candidates Carl Trujillo and David Coss to follow of our Speaker Ben Luján and serve HD 46 in the New Mexico State Legislature. First, let me say, these are big and important shoes to fill. The speaker has been a fighter for our communities. He knows the issues, knows how to solve problems, and has served our district honorably for decades. The person who succeeds him will need to be ready to go and ready to address the important issues facing families here.
I believe wholeheartedly the person best suited to represent the district next is David Coss.
David knows the issues we face. He’s been working as mayor for six years, and the issues that face the city also face the county. David has a track record of success, from fighting for and winning the living wage for the city (of which a lot of northern Santa Fe County residents benefit from), to creating jobs and keeping unemployment rates down.
He knows how to work with people to get things done. And, most importantly he shares our values. Congressman Luján said it best: we know where David stands on human rights, on civil rights, on all the issues that are important to our area and our families. We trust David because we know where he stands and we know he has the experience to do the work.
Where does Trujillo stand?
There are a couple of issues I want to address from Ms. Busemeyer’s article.
Number one: It’s nice that Trujillo wants to listen, but what we need is someone who has the guts and the spine to act. Listening is the easiest job you’ll have as an elected official. But then you’ll have to make decisions and actually do for the people. Trujillo won’t tell us where he stands on issues, he won’t debate the mayor on issues, and, quite frankly, he seems to be avoiding the issues.
First he says he won’t come to a Democratic Party forum because he thinks the Democratic Party is a machine, then he changed his mind and said, actually, debates are “gladiator politics” and now he’s saying he won’t talk about the issues because he just wants to listen. Makes me worried that he has something to hide.
Where does he stand on issues that matter to Democrats? Will he uphold the party platform or will he side with Republicans? This isn’t just a first date. We should know where he stands on all the issues, and how he’d lead, before electing him for two years.
Voting for Coss because of his experience
Second: In Ms. Busemeyer’s article, Trujillo criticizes Coss for “trying to do two jobs” – continuing to serve as mayor of Santa Fe and serving in the Legislature. I’ll tell you this, I’m voting for David because he has that kind of experience and knowledge, not in spite of it. Let me fill in a few gaps that were missing from the article.
There are numerous state legislators, past and present, that have served in dual elected roles with distinction. Former Representative José Campos represented DeBaca, Curry, Guadalupe and Roosevelt counties. When he was elected in 2003, he had already been the mayor of Santa Rosa since 1998. He is currently serving in his third term as mayor.
Down south, Representative Andy Nuñez is also the mayor pro-tem of Hatch. And retiring State Senator Cynthia Nava served as superintendent of the Gadsden School District while also serving as a five-term senator.
These legislators, and many more like them throughout New Mexico’s history, have served in dual roles with honor, earning re-election multiple times from the very voters that Trujillo claims are upset by the mere notion of one person being elected to two positions.
Too important to leave to chance
Ultimately, Trujillo’s missing the point. By his logic, Trujillo, if elected, should not vote on any matters impacting Los Alamos National Laboratories, where he works. For that matter, he also should refrain from voting on any issues related to the homebuilding industry because he works as a home-builder too.
Trujillo himself says New Mexico has a citizen legislature – “a person who is part of a community, who works with the community and cares.” That definition fits Campos and Nava, it fits our Speaker Ben Luján, and it fits David Coss. Truth is, particularly in New Mexico’s smaller communities with smaller populations, having a dual-elected leader makes good sense and may even be a necessity.
At the end of the day, the seat is too important to leave to chance. We need to usher in a strong leader who we know has a vision and is not afraid to propose solutions to New Mexico’s most critical problems. I think that person is David Coss.
Dean is the Democratic Party ward chair representing 46A.
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