New Mexico lawmakers react to new speaker of the House

SANTA FE, N.M. – Reaction is pretty divided on the new speaker of the House. On Wednesday, KOB 4 heard from New Mexico’s representatives in Washington D.C. 

While they are happy the House is operational again, none of our representatives voted for Louisana Republican Mike Johnson because they say he’s too conservative. But at the same time, they’re hoping for more bipartisanship as the work in Congress resumes. 

“What do we know about Mr. Johnson, our new speaker, we know that he supports a nationwide abortion ban. He’s an architect of the effort to overturn the 2020 election. He’s repeatedly called to privatize social security. He voted against keeping the government open three weeks ago,” said Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez. 

“I just want to remind folks in New Mexico that Mike Johnson is an election denier. He wants to cut social security and Medicare which would deeply hurt seniors in all three of our districts,” Representative Gabe Vasquez added. 

It’s very clear where our state’s representatives stand.

“Mike Johnson does not represent a departure from the chaos and the extremism that we’ve seen from the GOP over the last 10 months. But in fact, a new chapter and possibly a more extreme version of what we’ve seen to date,” Rep. Melanie Stansbury said. 

Our delegation says their top priority now is to get back to normal House business, but they are worried about what type of legislation he will bring to the floor. 

“We don’t control the legislative agenda. Because in the House, it’s a winner-take-all kind of program where leadership and the majority really control what comes to the floor. Now, every one of us on this call today had been working in a bipartisan manner to advance legislation for New Mexicans,” Stansbury said. 

But before they can work on legislation, they have to make sure the government as a whole will stay open. 

“We will need a continuing resolution since they have taken up almost a month of the time from the last continuation in their chaos and dysfunction, we will still need to get a continuing resolution as a stopgap measure,” Leger Fernandez said. 

“We’re looking at the expiration of the Farm Bill, for example, at the end of the year. And to me, it’s deeply troubling sitting on the agriculture committee, that we cannot get to the business of governing for our rural communities,” Vasquez said. 

All Democrats in the House voted against Johnson and Republicans in every single speaker vote. Again, with a new leader in place, they’re hoping both sides can work together.

The Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce sent KOB 4 the following statement:

“I served with Mike Johnson while I was in Congress. We were on the Financial Services Committee together. He is a well-grounded, humble yet strong individual, and a steadfast advocate for conservative policies. He is an excellent choice to unite Republicans and lead America forward. I extend my sincere congratulations to Representative Mike Johnson on becoming the 56th Speaker of the House.”