Native Americans influence New Mexico redistribution | New Mexico News
By MORGAN LEE, Associated Press
SANTA FE, NM (AP) – Leading Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday presented a revised state Senate redistribution plan that would preserve recommendations from Native American communities, amid a prolonged standoff in defining new political boundaries.
Bill’s sponsor Linda Lopez, an Albuquerque Democrat, said the new redistribution proposal adopts key recommendations from Native American leaders to consolidate Indigenous voting blocs in five districts in the state’s northwest. .
Republican lawmakers immediately rejected the plan. The proposed political map would leave Republican state senator Joshua Sanchez de Bosque outside his current district boundaries, potentially to compete in a neighboring district against GOP Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca de Belen.
“This card is a travesty for our state,” said Republican Senator Craig Brandt of Rio Rancho. “Promises have been made and promises have been broken.”
Procedural maneuvering scuttled debate in the Senate without a vote, with deliberations set to resume Thursday.
The latest Democratic-led state Senate redistribution proposal follows days of private negotiations that brought together lawmakers and leaders from many of the 23 federally recognized tribal communities.
Lopez said his new bill avoids some incumbent couples in Southeast New Mexico who have angered lawmakers.
The revisions drew praise from Senator Shannon Pinto, a member of the Navajo Nation tribe of Tohatchi, and Senator Bennie Shendo, a member of the tribe and a resident of Jemez Pueblo. An array of tribal chiefs and Native American advocates watched the proceedings from the public gallery.
Tribal leaders seek to strengthen Native American influence in the political process amid dissatisfaction with public education, access to basic household infrastructure, and economic opportunities.
Lawmakers are in a special session to redraw congressional and legislative districts based on new census data.
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