March 15, 2023

House responds to tweet about House minority floor leader and his son

Rep. T. Ryan Lane

Courtesy photo/New Mexico Legislature

Rep. T. Ryan Lane

With the session winding down with days to go, members of both parties in the New Mexico House of Representatives spoke in solidarity with House Minority Leader Rep. T. Ryan Lane, R-Aztec, during a Wednesday floor session following a March 8 tweet referencing Lane’s introduction of his son on the floor.

Evan Lane spent his 17th birthday at the Roundhouse being honored by his father Rep. Lane on March 8.

“Now he’s a very special, special young man and I know I’m biased because I’m his father, but I want to share a bit about the transformation that he’s done in the last couple years,” Lane said. 

Evan started working out and getting into wrestling two years ago, the elder Lane said.

“Growing up as a kid, (Evan was a) very sweet, young man, great personality, very funny, not very athletic, not very motivated, if I can be frank for a minute,” Lane said. “About two years ago, he decided he was going to change things in his life… he’s found a tremendous amount of self discipline, to the point where he started getting up a few times a week in the morning around 5 a.m. Wake himself up, go workout, got into wrestling and it’s been very inspirational for his mother and I to see that kind of self-motivation and self-transformation that’s taking place within him and I know it will serve him well for the rest of his life.”

ProgressNow New Mexico* Energy Policy Director Lucas Herndon was watching the floor session that morning and made a Twitter post referring to Lane’s introduction of his son on the House floor on March 8 as “toxic masculinity.”

Lane spoke to the NM Political Report about the tweet.

“I take no issue with somebody, you know, being negative towards me on social media. I think that’s fair game. I think as politicians we expect that and should expect it. But if you use somebody’s children to marshal and attack online, I don’t think that’s the type of politics that the New Mexicans want to see,” Lane said. 

Lane acknowledged Speaker of the House Javier Martinez’s statements in support of Lane and his family during a March 15 House floor session.

“He was very genuine in his response and which I very much appreciate and then the rest of the chamber stood up in support, you know, and I think again, the general public, honestly, I think is tired of the warring between the right and the left and that’s the type of behavior that encourages that. So I know we’re trying to set a different culture here.”

NM Political Report reached out to Herndon who said the post had more to do with his interpretation of Lane’s introduction of his son as a parent rather than as a political statement.

“Minority Leader Lane is a public figure and by bringing his son onto the House Floor and using his point of personal privilege to actively bring attention to him is the whole point of the tweet. As a father myself, I love to promote the successes of my kid, and I understand the appeal of doing so in front of my peers and colleagues,” Herndon said. “But what Lane said, the words he used, were misguided at best and it left me feeling awful for his son, who was again, standing right there. I tweeted in the moment from my personal account as a father struck by the potentially harmful language of a father to a son. I was covering the House Floor that day for work and made the choice to comment from that personal point of view rather than make it political from ProgressNow New Mexico’s perspective.” 

ProgressNow NM Executive Director Alissa Barnes said that Herndon made the post as an individual and not as a Progress Now NM employee.

“It was made by an individual community member, on their personal social media account, and while that individual is employed by ProgressNow NM, we do not exert our control over individuals’ personal social media. Employees are able to have their own opinions and share them on their personal accounts, just as they would in conversation with friends,” Barnes said via email. “While we understand that people don’t always like what is said about them on social media, we do not censor our employees on their personal accounts on what they say and feel outside of our organization. ProgressNow New Mexico’s coverage of politics in our state stays focused on comments made by elected officials and community members as it relates to policy and elections and we are committed to continuing to bring that trusted and transparent coverage.” 

The New Mexico House Republicans issued a statement Wednesday about the tweet and its aftermath.

“New Mexicans ask our volunteer lawmakers to come to Santa Fe and leave their families and personal business at home for periods of time. Today we heard from bipartisan lawmakers about the need to leave petty personal attacks out of the equation. The New Mexico House is here to do the people’s business and I believe lawmakers on both sides of the aisle made it clear that families are off limits in political attacks,” House Republican Caucus Communications Director Matthew Garcia-Sierra said via email.

* The Progress Now New Mexico Education Fund helps find funding for NM Political Report. However, Progress Now New Mexico has no editorial say over this or any other any story at NM Political Report.