Senator Linda Lopez, D-District 11

Air Dates: February 11-13, 2023

THIS WEEK: NM State Senator Linda Lopez, D-District 11

Feb. 9, 2023 -- This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is NM State Senator Linda Lopez, D-District 11, discussing current legislative issues and the dangers New Mexican politicians are facing from unhinged, armed extremists. Senator Lopez was elected in 1997 and has served in the Senate for 26 years, being the first woman elected from Albuquerque’s south valley to serve in the legislature.

On January 3, 2023, there was a late-night attack on the Senator, when two men drove by and shot at her house. Three of the bullets went through her 10-year-old daughter’s room, then two separate bullets went directly into the Senator's bedroom. The homes and offices of colleagues, two county commissioners in Bernalillo County, as well as the speaker’s house, were also shot up.

The mastermind behind these shootings was Solomon Peña, an election denier and follower of the former president, who, as a Republican candidate for the NM House of Representatives, garnered only 26% of the vote in his election and refused to accept the results. He hired Jose Trujillo to shoot up the Democratic politicians' houses. After the shootings, Trujillo was stopped in his car by police for expired tags. In the car, they found two guns, $3,000 in cash, and 800 Fentanyl tablets. The car was also registered to Solomon Peña.

These criminals were inspired by extreme right-wing violent political rhetoric, which they took as a call to action that they should shoot up lawmakers’ houses. This is a dangerous trend and New Mexicans must learn to contain the violent rhetoric before it turns into violent action.

Senator Lopez urges bipartisan conversations to overcome extreme polarization in order to figure out what it is that we can all do to benefit our communities. Keeping violent offenders in jail after they commit such attacks is crucial, and the community feels safer that Solomon Peña will remain behind bars until his trial. Lopez has also introduced legislation SB123, advocating rebuttal presumption against release that criminals should be kept in jail if the prosecution can prove they will be a threat to others if released.

Senator Lopez also describes the bills she has introduced this session, such as a Rent Control bill that did not pass but sparked an illuminating 4-hour discussion in committee, a bill to establish the office of special education, the Diversity Act, shortening the wait time for kids on the Developmental Disability services list, gun control, and women's health and abortion.