I am sometimes baffled by Taos politics. While I don't agree with Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Questa, about his resistance to taking the anti-abortion law off the New Mexico books, I do completely understand his rationale in listening to his constituency and voting as they wanted him to do. That is what legislators do at best, instead of ignoring the wishes of the constituencies and voting just what they think is right.

Cisneros switched his support in a key committee from allowing cockfighting (in line with the now-released-from-prison Senator Phil Griego, who went on and on in committee about how it would be a "threat to the values and culture of rural New Mexico" and killed that ban bill every year), to eventually opposing it, because the Archbishop of the Santa Fe diocese came out against it, and thus, after 19 years of trying, Senator Mary Jane Garcia of Las Cruces got her cockfighting ban bill to the floor where it passed overwhelmingly.

I do believe the legislature should use some of the $18 billion land grant endowment for early childhood education; this is a crying shame not to do so, and leave our state to continue to flounder in the bottom echelons of the nation's education. Clearly, Cisneros must clarify to his constituent why he views this otherwise. Cisneros was the first Senate sponsor of the bill I wrote - to create a new cabinet secretary for nutrition and consumer protection. Although it failed thanks to a zillion moronic lobbyists, it was still the right thing to champion. Even a Nutrition Council is too much for those infernal lobbyists to accept. Make no mistake: lobbyists are the stranglehold on progressive legislation in our state.

But the bottom line is that no district should dump a senator with Cisneros' kind of seniority, clout, committee standing and procedural knowledge because of one vote. You elect people to exercise their judgement and because you trust them.

I would never expect to agree every single time with my elected officials, not even Tom Udall, on every single issue; that would be naive and just plain stupid. Taoseños are neither naive nor stupid.


Stephen Fox has been a Native American art dealer in Santa Fe for the past 39 years. In the late '70s, he resided in Taos, while editing "The Art Fever" (Gallery West), James Parsons' book about art dealing in Taos.

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