It’s a little difficult to become upset with State Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Rio Arriba, over his remark on the Senate floor about Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan not getting his vehicles.
Martinez was pushing Senate Bill 8 through the floor Feb. 14. It is a contentious bill proposing background checks for almost any sort of gun transaction, private and public.
Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Sandoval, asked Martinez if the sheriff departments around the state supported his bill, including his own sheriff. Martinez replied the Santa Fe County sheriff was his expert witness and that Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan was in his office the day prior about another bill and said nothing about SB 8, so he assumed he was fine with it.
Brandt then read a resolution that opposed Martinez’s gun control bill, signed by 26 of the 33 sheriffs in the state. Brandt told him it was signed by his sheriff, James Lujan.
Martinez blurted, “I guess he doesn’t want those vehicles he was asking for yesterday.” Gasps from the gallery and floor.
Brandt said, “I won’t dignify that with a response.”
It’s tacky, yes. It’s wrong, we know it. However, it’s what every senator and representative thinks many times during the session. If someone wants help from their legislator, it often comes with a price tag. In this case Lujan would have paid for his Office's vehicles by not signing that resolution.
Don’t think Brandt’s never done something very similar. Don’t think Lujan doesn’t know there is quid pro quo with asking for anything from a politician of any stripe.
Fortunately for our sheriff, Martinez said it out loud and if Lujan doesn’t get his requested vehicles, apparently as promised, Lujan can make Martinez’s life uncomfortable.
The art of politics is compromise. Most politicians compromise by agreeing to support a bill they don’t like so they can get support in return for something of theirs. It’s a simple case of eat your vegetables so you can get to dessert.
So Lujan didn’t eat his vegetables. He’s going to have to go back and ask again for his chocolate cake with chocolate chips and creamed chocolate icing in a deal with Martinez that will surely involve kale and arugula to be named later. Take a bib, sheriff.