In her first days in office, freshman Congresswoman Yvette Herrell, who represents New Mexico’s 2nd district, objected to the certification of President Biden’s election win. This position sparked calls from local organizations for her to step down. Herrel also opposed the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump. KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona spoke with Heather Ferguson, Executive Director of the nonpartisan voter protection nonprofit Common Cause New Mexico. Ferguson is calling for Representative Herrell to resign.
HEATHER FERGUSON: This was the most free and fair election that we have had in our nation's history. It was the most secure. That's been verified not only by our national Secretaries of States President Maggie Tolouse Oliver here from Mexico, from the national cybersecurity folks to all the members of Congress from across the board with the exception of these individuals who continue to want to try to make a call out to challenge electoral votes that were rightfully done. And in doing so she [Herrell] continues to fan the flames of insurrection. She's violating her oath of office by challenging these electoral votes. And we need her to resign.
KUNM: You all will have also called for the resignation of Otero County, Commissioner Couy Griffin. Is that for similar reasons?
FERGUSON: Actually, it's because County Commissioner Griffin has gone a step farther and attended and was a participant in those riots and in the insurrection that we saw so violently acted at our nation's Capitol. He was talking about ensuring that they would have a second gathering or storming of the Capitol on Jan. 20, where, and this was his quote, "blood will run from the building" and that is inexcusable from an elected official. And that should be something that he should be criminally charged for, to threaten the house speaker and our Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
KUNM: Now that's interesting, because you mentioned that he should be legally and criminally charged for his incendiary comments, and watching the national news now, a lot of these lawmakers who have expressed misinformation anddisinformation and have made a lot of inflammatory comments are expressing that it is their First Amendment right to do so. How does that hit you?
FERGUSON: I am a very staunch advocate for the First Amendment, but there is no realm where you can issue death threats and incite violence and kind of have that be something that is covered by the First Amendment. We have an elected official with a platform to reach members of the public, who is trying to encourage his followers to attack and hurt and harm and kill other elected officials. I have no idea why this man is possibly still allowed to maintain this public office right now.
KUNM: What are some ways that people can talk to each other so we can all understand each other and come to an actual conversation where we can agree upon things that are called facts?
FERGUSON: The No. 1 issue that we always point people to—especially when it comes from ensuring that not only are you not being misinformed by individuals that you may trust, but also making sure that you're not exposing yourself to misinformation that is just out there—and it's really considering your source and trying to look for "Where are the actual facts in here?" And you don't get to just make up facts if you don't get what you want.
KUNM: What do you see for our political landscape if we have two sides that are so opposed on just the functions of government outside of any political philosophy? Any predictions of where we go from here?
FERGUSON: What has been the most saddening side of the work that I've done with Common Cause in the last six years is seeing how much more tribalistic partisan politics has become. And I think that it is even more saddening that they have to close our state capital simply to protect our elected officials. I think that that is not what America stands for. That's not what New Mexico, certainly, stands for.
And so my hope would be with some time, and I think it is going to take some time, that these partisan fires that keep happening, these fights, will begin to start to dissipate. We're a country in crisis. And we're a state in crisis, and it needs to be treated as such. Everyone needs to try to find a way to come together. And if they have already created some insurrection, they've already participated in a lot of this, they need to own that what they did was wrong, and they need to move away from that.
This interview originally aired as a part of No More Normal, which is on KUNM Sundays at 11am. Find the show online or wherever you get your podcasts.
Your New Mexico Government is a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage comes from the New Mexico Local News Fund, the Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners like you, with support for public media provided by the Thornburg Foundation.