State Democrats’ plan for public safety in New Mexico

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Public safety is a pertinent issue for many New Mexicans and we now know the leaders going to the Roundhouse to try and enact change.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who was elected to four more years of leading New Mexico, hit on priorities and accomplishments from her first four years, including education, healthcare and marijuana legalization – but remarks on public safety were missing.

Re-elected House Majority Leader Javier Martinez and his fellow Democrats in the Legislature will be the ones tasked with developing public safety solutions.

“Well look, crime is an issue, I see it every day in my own community and next session we’re going to go back to the drawing board and execute more anti-crime legislation,” Martinez said.

Martinez hopes to have more power in the upcoming session as he aims to earn a vote from his caucus to become the next Speaker of the House, where he will be able to set the agenda.

In the past, however, Democrats have been divided on how to best tackle crime.

Gov. Lujan Grisham proposed an ambitious set of crime goals, such as $100 million for 1,000 new officers stating, “if you want public safety to be a priority, make it a priority.” However, only $50 million in spending was approved.

Then, there’s the issue of bail reform. The governor and Attorney General-Elect Raul Torrez both pushed to make it harder for people to get out of jail after being accused of violent crimes – but their efforts were unsuccessful.

We asked Martinez where he stands on bail reform and if it is a major issue that New Mexico Democrats believe needs changing:

Javier Martinez: “Look, we’ve got to invest in law enforcement,” he responded. “We got to recruit more police officers and that’s particularly true here in Albuquerque. We got to keep investing in Violence Intervention Programs and we have to keep addressing the issue of gun violence.”

Ryan Laughlin: “Respectfully, you didn’t answer the question about bail reform. Where do you stand on bail reform and is this a divisive issue within the Democratic Party here?”

Martinez: “I don’t think bail reform, itself, is going to solve the crime crisis. Right? Now, whether or not we should tweak it, I’m open to that, right? But is that the silver bullet that is going to resolve the crime crisis? Absolutely not.”

Democrats hold a majority in both chambers of the New Mexico Legislature following midterm elections.