Monday, April 17, 2023

A Newsy Monday Blog As Sen. Pirtle Says No To Re-election But Does Not Resign, Plus: The CYFD Turnstile: Vigil Out And Casados In Amid Bitterness From Session, Also: Readers Who Reject A "Gov. Heinrich" 

Sen. Pirtle (Journal)
Scandal-engulfed GOP state Senator Cliff Pirtle of Roswell has seen the proverbial writing on the wall and announced he will not seek re-election to a fourth term in 2024. That's not settling well with critics who want him to resign and have an appointed senator fill out the remainder of his term. 

Pirtle's announcement came following his wife filing for divorce and seeking half of their marital assets and joint custody of their three children. Those assets presumably include Pirtle's interest in the successful Pirtle Farms in Roswell. 

Aysia Pirtle cites infidelity as the reason for the divorce and she has plenty of evidence. She caught her 37 year old husband in bed with another woman at a Santa Fe apartment. The law was called and one of those now familiar and embarrassing lapel camera videos featuring a state legislator went public. The other woman was not named but the rumor mill is strong that she was an employee in another senator's office.

That's a major story line that continues to be ignored by the legislative leadership and most of the media. 

Will the Senate dig into whether Pirtle was having an affair with a senate employee? Will an ethics complaint be filed or will the Ethics Commission somehow otherwise be awakened from its slumber to and get the truth?

Senate leadership---Pro Tem Mimi Stewart and Majority Leader Peter Wirth--were all in on taking down Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto from his committee chairmanship when charges of sexual harassment were leveled against him by a progressive lobbyist. In contrast there is a code of silence over whether Pirtle may have breached Senate ethics and harassment guidelines by conducting an affair or affairs with a Senate employee who may or may not have been influenced to engage in the conduct because of Pirtle's position. 

In other words, this is not a "private" matter. 

It's all pretty simple in this "MeToo" era but the progressive Democrats are fine with their hypocrisy over Pirtle because he supported legalized pot and unlike Ivey-Soto has no power to stall their bills. 

It's another reason why voters do not want a full-time legislature or full time salaries for the inhabitants of the Roundhouse. They continue to demonstrate that theirs is a club--where the rules are applied through a corrupted political lens.

As for Pirtle, who repeatedly touts his Christian values, he won't resign because there is no shame in public life anymore, having been substituted by the aforementioned hypocrisy. He will eventually be replaced in the solid GOP district, most likely by state Rep. Candy Ezell, if she runs. (Dem Tim Jennings who lost the senate seat to Pirtle and is now mayor of Roswell is making rumblings about running and keeping both jobs.) Pirtle's continued presence in Santa Fe will be a reminder of everything the public can't stand about the entitled political class and the chummy media that plays along with them.

By the way, the Roswell Daily Record, Pirtle's hometown newspaper, failed to report on the scandal with his wife when the story broke last month. They did file a report Saturday on his plans not to seek re-election. 


MLG and Vigil  (Moore, Journal)
When MLG gave her the job in August of 2021 we noted that former NM Supreme Court Justice Barbara Vigil had zilch by way of administrative experience and doubted the efficacy of her appointment as secretary of the troubled Children Youth and Families Department. Flash forward 20 months and Vigil is resigning

One of MLG's co-chiefs of staff--Teresa Casados--will fill the post while a search is launched for a permanent replacement. That person will be the Governor's third cabinet secretary for the agency so permanence is an open definition in this case. 

An early issue for interim Secretary Casados, according to a Senior Alligator, is the employment of her son-in-law Philip Rodriguez as Deputy Administrative Services Director at CYFD. That apparent conflict will be one of her first orders of business before trying to get a handle on the CYFD's dysfunctional bureaucracy.

Casados will also find there is a bitter aftertaste among legislators over the Governor jettisoning the ombudsman concept so prevalent in other states. GOP Sen. Crystal Diamond, one of the sponsors of the bill that won overwhelming support from both the House and Senate, had this reaction to Vigil's departure:

I am heartbroken to see the vulnerable children of our state failed by this administration yet again. We had a chance to force structural change in the department that would have created stability and accountability. Instead, certain legislators were bullied by the governor into rejecting viable, bipartisan solutions with the empty promise that Secretary Vigil would be a steady hand of change.

We really didn't have to blog much of the CFYD story, not with that picture of Vigil and MLG accompanying this report taken by Journal photog Eddie Moore. Talk about a pic telling the story. 


Our Thursday post focusing on the political options of Dem Sen. Martin Heinrich, who is said to be weighing a run for Governor in 2026, generated this from a NM political veteran and Deb Haaland supporter: 

Regarding Senator Heinrich, most in the political class know he is not a risk taker on any front and wouldn’t take the risk of leaving the senate and being out of office for 2 years and in the meantime running for Governor. There is increasing anger among women, especially women of color, about his brazen but disingenuous criticism of Interior Secretary Haaland whose job he wanted. She could do that again and beat him in a 2026 Democratic primary for Governor. Heinrich's criticism of Governor MLG doesn’t help him either and most folks know there is no love lost there. No one is holding their breath to see what Heinrich does. Heinrich has a solid record as a follower not a leader. Haaland has a record of being fierce. 

That comment about Haaland being "fierce" is straight from her campaign brochure when she won the ABQ congressional seat in 2018. 

Heres another Heinrich hit from reader Jaime A. Fernandez: 

If Sen. Heinrich plans to run for governor in 2026, he has no business running for reelection to the US Senate in 2024. If Heinrich becomes governor, he gets to appoint his own successor and that's not right. In the last few election cycles Heinrich has been sticking his nose into the Democratic Party's primary elections in order to build and promote the Martin Heinrich political machine. He is the self-appointed leader of New Mexico's Democratic Party, and we do not need him to be the future emperor of the state of New Mexico. His ego needs to be adjusted. 

By the way, in reviewing Heinrich's latest campaign report we see he spent $33,000 for "security upgrades" to his SE ABQ home, another sign of these tense national political times. 


MLG appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday to discuss the latest national developments on abortion. Video and transcript here

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