LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (Border Report) – The Las Cruces City Council on Monday rebuked U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-New Mexico, for rejecting Joe Biden’s Electoral College wins in Pennsylvania and Arizona.
The council voted unanimously – after some pushback from Council Member Yvette M. Flores – in favor of a resolution supporting democracy and condemning Herrell for rejecting the Electoral College results from those states.
“For me, this is an issue of accountability and racial equity. In Arizona and Pennsylvania so much work was done by Black, (Latino) and Indigenous groups. By voting not to support the certification of votes from those states is inherently disenfranchising the votes from those states,” said District 4 Council member Johana Bencomo.
The resolution states that “whereas Representative Herrell did vote to disenfranchise the voters of two states by voting not to certify the electoral votes cast by those states after being certified in accordance with applicable law […] (her) actions are contrary to the obvious and immediate interests of the City of Las Cruces and the nation as a whole in achieving a peaceful transition of power …”
Herrell opposed certification on the grounds that some rules were changed during the vote-counting in those states without due approval by state legislatures.
District 6 Council member Flores said constituents whose opinion she respects urged her to oppose the resolution, which they said was political.
“When (the council) was asked to take a position on DACA and welcoming (immigrants), those were politically neutral,” she said. DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows some undocumented immigrants who came into the country as children a reprieve from deportation and temporary work permits.
But several in the council brought up the Jan. 6 violent insurrection at the Capitol to justify their reproach of Herrell, who unseated Democratic incumbent Xochitl Torres Small in the Nov. 3 general election.
“What happened (on Jan. 6) is completely reprehensible and not who we are as Americans. I see my duty as a public official to condemn this action,” said Council member District 3 Gabriel Vazquez. “This vote sends a message that’s not (who) we are.”
Herrell on Jan. 7 issued a statement decrying the violence at the Capitol.
“The violence at the U.S. Capitol today is reprehensible. I condemn anyone who would endanger our men and women in law enforcement like this in the strongest terms, and I am deeply grateful to the Capitol Police officers who kept me safe today,” Herrell’s statement said.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima said all elected officials have a duty to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. “We both took this oath, representative,” he said. “When you voted against it (the Electoral College vote), I don’t think you did preserve, I don’t think you did protect and I don’t think you defended the Constitution. If I don’t vote for this, I’m not defending it either. So, I have to.”
Miyagishima requested and got a paragraph in the resolution amended to reflect his concerns about failure to “support and defend” the Constitution. A unanimous vote followed.
Herrell’s spokesman questioned why the Las Cruces City Council would “waste their time” on the resolution. He said more pressing issues — such as a likely funding and immigration crisis — are coming their way due to Biden’s actions to “weaken border security” and hinder the oil and gas industry, which provides a large chunk of the state’s income.
“Congresswoman Herrell is focused on what matters to New Mexicans– their safety, their jobs, and their children’s futures,” said Herrell spokesman Jordan Haverly. “Instead of drafting meaningless resolutions, the congresswoman has introduced two bills so far to maintain critical border health protections and save the industry and jobs that provide more than billion dollars in education funding for New Mexico schools each year.”