As the only physician in the state Legislature, I have a unique responsibility to protect the truth about New Mexico's health care situation from those who would twist it to serve their own political ambitions. My patients regularly tell me they can spot a physician that cares more about making money than caring for them a mile away.
Gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., used poor judgment by accepting public money for personal profit when she served as NM Department of Health Secretary. We need a governor that is willing to fight corruption and give a voice to the people.
Grisham set up a controversial "consulting" company to manage the state's high-risk insurance pool. Part of the deal was for her to get paid lots of money, no less than $138,000 in 2013 alone. Grisham continued to profit from the arrangement after Obamacare took effect and pool participants drastically decreased. In fact, her personal fees greatly increased during this period. When asked about it, she has struggled to explain why, only citing "management challenges."
My fellow New Mexicans: Are you OK with our government officials starting their own companies and channeling tax dollars through them for their own profit? I, for one, think this should be illegal. It's like Donald Trump starting another business and signing a federal law that guarantees his profit.
In addition, Grisham misled our state when she took credit for falling drug overdose rates in New Mexico during her tenure as Health secretary. The victim in this case was the truth as drug overdose deaths actually increased from 304 in 2004 to 439 in 2007. Opioid-related overdose deaths climbed during her tenure.
New Mexico's health care workers and patients deserve leaders that focus on helping people. I was brought up to believe that if a person is capable of lying about one thing, they are probably capable of lying about something else. I don't have all the answers, but one thing is certain: New Mexico's problems won't be solved by leaders taking credit for outcomes they had nothing to do with.
The New Mexico medical community is comprised of thousands of hard-working, compassionate people from both the left and right of the political spectrum, but all their politics fade into the background when their patients' health is at stake. We work as a team that is dedicated to fixing our health care system and our communities.
The only way we will succeed is by being honest with each other and by not sugar-coating reality. I'm optimistic about New Mexico's future. Our state's prognosis depends on sound, fact-based leadership. No place for egotists that would mislead us by touting false accomplishments. In the case of the Grisham example, she has shown us what the alternative would look like: decisions that would be taken on false premises or by cold political calculus. This shows not only a lack of true empathy for the people of New Mexico, but also a lack of respect for them.
Nobody can blame climbing overdose deaths on one person, and I'm not suggesting that. What concerns me is that we have a candidate who has abused our trust and has received public money for her own personal gain at the expense of the poor who have trouble gaining access to health care.
For 80 years, New Mexicans have been subjected to the same empty promises for prosperity. It's time to change that. It's time for something new. It's time to vote for honesty, innovation and compassion in our government. This will not be easy. Nothing worthwhile usually is.
Regardless of your political affiliation, we all want leaders – and physicians – who care enough about us to tell us the truth and not attempt to profit from our weaknesses or vulnerabilities. Show me a leader with compassion and the courage to tell you the truth, and I'll show you a leader worth supporting. It's been my experience that the best predictor of a person's future behavior is their past behavior.
Dr. Gregg Schmedes is New Mexico's director for the Academy of Medical Ethics and assistant professor of surgery at the University of New Mexico.
TAOS, NM—Yesterday, Steve Pearce, candidate for Governor of New Mexico, announced his plans to attract new businesses to the state and expand the use of renewable energy. In speaking to members of the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative in Taos, Pearce unveiled his plans to expand renewable energy in New Mexico and build an "all of the above" energy economy that creates jobs for New Mexicans while keeping energy affordable for our families.
"We appreciated Steve Pearce taking the time to personally visit with the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative yesterday to share his vision for New Mexico. I fully support Steve's plan to expand the renewable energy industry in New Mexico by working to attract companies to our state, including those that have committed to using 100 percent renewable energy. We don't have to pick between renewable and traditional energy sources in New Mexico - we can build a diverse energy economy that creates jobs and provides affordable energy to our families. Steve Pearce is the right person to lead that effort as Governor and I look forward to working with him to expand the renewable energy industry in rural communities like Taos County and across our state," said Luis Reyes, Jr.
ALBUQUERQUE – For the second time in just a few weeks, Michelle Lujan Grisham is running an ad across New Mexico that simply doesn't square with her record. Lujan Grisham was already busted for claiming she was responsible for reducing opiate overdoses as Secretary of Health. An AP fact check blew that claim wide open, confirming that overdoses actually increased on Lujan Grisham's watch.
Now Lujan Grisham is running away from her long record of failing to support law enforcement officers. Her latest ad calls for "more police with the best technology" and takes credit for "millions of dollars for our police." But as an elected official, Lujan Grisham repeatedly refused to fund New Mexico law enforcement and used her position in Congress to try to stop a training program for the Albuquerque Police Department.
ALBUQUERQUE — Dorothy Runnels, a lifelong Democrat and widow of former Democratic Congressman Harold Runnels, today endorsed Steve Pearce for Governor.
"Our state needs help in so many ways. I tell every Democrat I know that in the race for Governor, Steve Pearce is the right person for the job. Steve Pearce puts the country and the people of New Mexico above party. I am proud to support his candidacy and know he will be a great Governor for all of New Mexico," said Dorothy Runnels.
ALBUQUERQUE – Michelle Lujan Grisham is desperate to talk about anything but her humiliating trip to Puerto Rico, where she was caught partying on an official Congressional visit that was supposed to be about assessing hurricane damage.
"Dem Rep, Gubernatorial Candidate Spotted Drinking, Dancing on Puerto Rico Trip to Assess Hurricane Recovery Progress."
"Lujan Grisham, who is running for governor in New Mexico, joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif) and about a dozen other Democrats to ensure the islands 'have the money needed to not just recover,' but to 'rebuild better than before,' according to the St. John Source."
"Lujan Grisham drew attention to the need for further action on the islands, but what she didn't mention was her social activities of dancing and drinking at the Chandelier Bar, a ritzy hotel bar within the El San Juan Hotel. The hotel, where most of the delegation stayed, is described on the website as being 'synonymous with Puerto Rican luxury hospitality.'"
"In the pictures obtained from a tracker, Lujan Grisham is seen drinking with Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D., N.Y.) on at least one occasion at the Chandelier Bar. She is also seen dancing with an unidentified man at the hotel." (Washington Free Beacon, 7/31/18)
But her attempt to change the subject might be even more embarrassing: her campaign lashed out with an unhinged attack against Steve Pearce, who was visiting San Felipe Pueblo with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to push for more affordable housing for New Mexico's tribes and pueblos. Lujan Grisham's response to Pearce's work with the federal government to advance solutions for Native American housing sent a message that she would rather score points with fabricated attacks than stand up for New Mexicans in need.
"Michelle Lujan Grisham's attack on Steve Pearce for advancing affordable Native American housing isn't just embarrassing, it's disturbing," said RPNM Chairman Ryan Cangiolosi. "She's telling New Mexico's tribes and pueblos that she's willing to use them as a tool to score political points but could not care less about the issues affecting their communities."
"Pearce is working with the federal government to develop solutions for New Mexicans living in poverty," Cangiolosi continued. "Lujan Grisham seems to think that is unacceptable but partying at an exclusive, chic hotel in Puerto Rico on taxpayer dollars is fine."
LAS CRUCES, NM- Dr. Gavin Clarkson, a former NMSU business professor transferred $10,500 from his congressional campaign account Tuesday to help fund his new campaign for New Mexico Secretary of State. Clarkson was nominated by the Republican Party of New Mexico's State Central Committee during a July 7 meeting.
ALBUQUERQUE — Steve Pearce announced today a plan for more jobs, higher wages, and increased investment in New Mexico. He released the following statement:
"New Mexico must do more to invest in our people. Today, I am announcing a new plan to change the way our state invests our own money to allow more resources for New Mexico workers and New Mexico businesses. As Governor, I will work with the State Investment Council to increase investment in New Mexico's economy so that businesses can create economic prosperity, pay higher wages, and create more jobs in New Mexico rather than leaving for other states.
Albuquerque ― Today, gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham released her plan to lift New Mexico families out of poverty and help them reach their long-term financial goals.
"Nearly one out of every five New Mexicans lives in poverty and that's absolutely unacceptable. To build a strong economy in New Mexico, it's crucial that we spur real job creation and economic development and invest in a new direction for public education so no families are left behind," said Michelle Lujan Grisham. "My plan will raise the minimum wage, protect families from predatory lenders, and renew the fight against hunger because our state is only strong if our families are succeeding instead of living paycheck-to-paycheck."