Gov. Susana Martinez’s rhetoric was unsparing during a press conference following the conclusion of a Legislative session that saw few of her top priorities reach her desk.
She employed the word “killed” seven times in her opening statement, referring to the implosion of the statewide capital outlay proposal during the session’s final 48 hours.
The failure of that funding measure constituted a “failure of leadership” on the part of Democrats, she said, particularly those in the Senate.
“Look at their track-record throughout this session,” she told a throng of reporters. “Their leadership displayed rampant partisanship, some of the worst that I’ve seen, and constant gridlock, delays and feet-dragging. They did that on many critical issues.”
She pointed in particular to the failure of Republican-backed right-to-work bills as well as stalled proposals to retain third-graders with lagging reading skills. For the latter legislation, said Martinez, “Senate Democrats refused reasonable or fair hearings, not even allowing the legislation to go to the education committee.”
She did, however, applaud House Republicans for what she called “a fair and inclusive process” during the drafting and successful passage of a state budget compromise.
Martinez said that throughout the session, she and members of her staff met with Democratic and Republican members in both legislative chambers in an attempt to forge compromise. Those attempts were stymied, she said, particularly in the Senate.
“Throughout the session, conversation after conversation with Democrat senators, they’d say, ‘The leadership won’t budge. There’s no give. They just want to stop everything.’ Then today, they refused to honor agreements on the budget and refused throughout the session to allow any input from the House majority or the executive on capital outlay.”
When a reporter said they’d heard the same accusations of partisan brinkmanship from Democrats in the House and Senate, Martinez pivoted.
“The best thing for New Mexicans is for all three branches of government to come together and to compromise, and we did exactly that. In fact, that was done on the budget, that was done with the driver’s licenses [bill].”
Moments later, however, she continued to lay blame on Senate Democrats for the jettisoning of the capital outlay proposal.
“By it not being passed by the Senate Democrats, they killed many jobs. It includes roads, wastewater infrastructure, fixing roofs for correctional facilities—a variety of infrastructure in every corner of the state.”
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