Lopez at hospital, Sanchez tells advocates on both sides to take rhetoric down a notch

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, just told his colleagues on the Senate floor that Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, was taken to the hospital today.

It was unclear why Lopez went to the hospital. But Sanchez seemed to link her state to the e-mails, faxes and phone calls that legislators receive on hot-button issues.

“I would remind folks outside this Capitol to please be a little careful about what is being sent to legislators,” Sanchez said. “I would urge the fourth floor to ratchet down the comments and the press releases.”

Sanchez might have been referring to the press releases coming out of the fourth floor, where Gov. Susana Martinez’s office is, especially on the driver’s license issue. On Tuesday night, the governor slammed a Democratic move to remove from House Bill 78 a ban on issuing state drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants. The governor called it a “sham” that insulted “the intelligence of every New Mexican who wants to see this dangerous law overturned.”

A few minutes later, Sanchez rose on the Senate floor again to say that he realized that Republicans, like Democrats, also are targets of ugly, mean-spirited e-mails and phone calls.

“They are just as terrible as the phone calls we get,” Sanchez said. “That’s why I alluded to the fact that we on the floor have our differences but we are able to walk out and still be friends and do the things we need to do. Everybody outside this building, all of those groups who proclaim to have an interest in some pieces of legislation need to bring it down a notch, and I mean everybody needs to bring it down a notch. We are not a full-time Legislature. We have jobs. We have lives on the outside. We like each other, and we’re going to continue to like each other. And I don’t know why people on the outside this building can’t understand it. I don’t understand why they think it’s a good old boys club or an old girls club because we do really have the best interest of the state at heart. We may have differences of opinion and our constituents may have differences of opinion with us. But as I showed Sen. Payne just a minute ago one of my phone calls from a nice, a nice lady from my district told me what a disgrace I was. And that’s just part of the stuff. And I know they are getting similar phone calls and names being called, and there’s just no place in politics. I know it’s been going on for centuries, Mr. President, members of the body, we know that. But you know we’re in a different time now, and a more difficult time than this country and this state has ever been in. And I think all of us need to be really careful, those advocates outside, everybody who is trying to influence our votes need to think things through, be calm about what they tell us as legislators. And hopefully they won’t call us such ugly names and mean, hateful, mean-spirited type of messages that we get. That’s a message I’d like to convey to those who are watching, who are listening and hopefully they’ll get the message on both sides.”

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About triptothecapitol

Trip Jennings is a Capitol reporter at the Santa Fe New Mexican.
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