ALBUQUERQUE – Michelle Lujan Grisham, who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, sent a clear and disturbing message about her values and priorities this week. When caucus member Tony Cardenas, a Congressman from California, was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl, Michelle Lujan Grisham did…nothing. Cardenas continues to serve in a leadership role and Lujan Grisham has refused to answer questions from the press about his alleged assault.
"In a private meeting on Monday, Cardenas made his case to members of the Hispanic caucus, denying the allegations of sexual misconduct and suggesting he was a victim of a political vendetta, according to people who were present. He urged his colleagues to stick behind him… A spokesman for the chairwoman of the CHC, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, did not comment on whether the congresswoman wants Cardenas out as the chairman of the PAC." (CNN, 5/9/18)
Last fall, when Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo asked to join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Lujan Grisham took a firm stand against his membership. Her spokesman told Politico that Curbelo wasn't welcome because he didn't share the organization's values:
"In a statement after the decision, group spokesman Carlos Paz tried to dispel the notion that the CHC should admit Curbelo simply because he is Hispanic. ‘This vote reflects the position of many of our members that Rep. Curbelo and his record are not consistent with those values,' Paz said." (Politico, 11/16/17)
Lujan Grisham was also a long-time supporter of Sen. Michael Padilla, who had a long history of accusations and settlements for inappropriate behavior. Lujan Grisham said nothing when Padilla rose to a leadership position in the State Senate and was silent when he announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor. When politically expedient she eventually called for him to end his campaign.
"Michelle Lujan Grisham made it very clear that in order to be a member of her caucus you must share her values. Allowing a Democratic Congressman who is accused of sexual assault to remain in her caucus while denying membership to a Republican is the worst form of political partisanship and prejudice," said RPNM Chairman Ryan Cangiolosi. "That says everything you need to know about Michelle Lujan Grisham's complete failure of leadership and her commitment to partisanship at any cost."
Michelle Lujan Grisham's failed leadership demonstrates she values politics above all else. If Lujan Grisham won't take seriously the allegations of misconduct by her Democratic colleague but will refuse to work with a member of the other party, New Mexicans can trust her to lead our state?