November 27, 2015

Former Gov. Johnson weighs in on Martinez scandals, Syria

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via cc

A former Republican governor of New Mexico criticized Gov. Susana Martinez for her stance on Syrian refugees and predicts that she may end in the same boat as her predecessor when it comes to the perception of corruption.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Compfight cc

Gary Johnson is arguably the most athletic governor New Mexico has seen, so it was not much of a surprise that he answered a call from NM Political Report while riding his bicycle from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.

Johnson, who famously left the Republican Party to run for president as a Libertarian, has been outspoken on topics like marijuana legalization and what he sees as overreach by the federal government. He told NM Political Report the United States is at least partially to blame for the situation many Syrian refugees are currently facing.

“[The U.S.] should take our fair share,”Johnson said. “We more than share in the responsibility for them being there in the first place.”

He admitted he doesn’t know how much a “fair share” would be, but that it could be figured out mathematically.

While some Republican governors publicly announced their intentions to deny the entry of Syrian refugees into their respective states, Martinez said she opposed the plan to accept them without a more comprehensive plan.

Recently, the governor of Indiana was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for attempting to block state services to refugees.

Even though Johnson disagrees with Martinez and other Republican governors, he will be the first to admit his opinion as a former governor doesn’t go very far.

“I disagree with her, so what,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who splits his time between Santa Fe and Taos, said he’s been following attention on Martinez and her political advisor Jay McCleskey and thinks history might repeat itself.

Pointing to his successor Bill Richardson, Johnson criticized “pay to play” tactics that have long plagued New Mexico. He said he cannot say for sure if Martinez has “abused the system”, but that he sees the end result the same.

“I dare to say it will end up just like Richardson,” Johnson said.

Johnson predicted that the Martinez administration will do everything in it’s power to draw a clear line between money and political actions.

“They’ll be very very careful to never tie [money] to any outcome,” Johnson said.  “But hey, if they don’t pony up, there’s an implication or a potential that they’re not going to get what they want.”