Our district is incredibly diverse. Many people don’t realize that it extends all the way from the northern part of Santa Fe up to Espanola. While the following is a huge oversimplification, it’s roughly accurate to say that half of the district is made up of Progressive Democrats, primarily (though not exclusively) in Santa Fe. The other half, the northern part of the district, is mostly (though not exclusively) more conservative Democrats. And of course, the district also includes Republicans and Independents and Green Party members and Libertarians and people who really don’t care about politics anymore because the whole mess is so toxic and discouraging.

There is no one group with a clear majority in District 46, but there are some things that most everyone in our district agrees on — protection of the environment, animal welfare, LGBT equality, and the need for a more sustainable and inclusive economy, to name a few. Then there are other issues on which there is significant disagreement, particularly between the conservative Democrats and the Progressive Democrats — immigration, abortion and gun control, to name a few. The half of the district that’s more conservative tends to be, well, more conservative on these issues than the Progressive Left.

Representing this district is a challenge, to say the least, because, of course, with such a diverse district and no clear majority, it’s not ethically possible for a representative to vote the way any one group wants me to vote 100% of the time.

I realize this can be frustrating, particularly when you feel deeply about an issue.

But of course, as a citizen legislator, I have an ethical responsibility to represent ALL of the people of my district, not just those who are most vocal and most able to convey their message via social media and the political establishment. To do otherwise would disenfranchise over half of my district. That’s not okay with me. I hope it’s not okay with you, either.

To try to find a way to represent everyone fairly, I do my best to vote in a way that reflects the most important issues for each half of the district — which means that no one gets their way 100% of the time — and nor should they. Not in a district with no clear majority or, for that matter, in a healthy democracy.

To see what happens when elected representatives only serve some of the people and ignore the rest, we need look no further than Congress and the Trump Administration. And we all know how awful it feels to be shut out of the democratic process by partisan bullies. I share your anger about what’s happening in Washington — it’s inexcusable — but let’s be careful not to become like them in an effort to fight them. We are better than that, I hope.

So that’s why I can’t — and won’t — vote with one group 100% of the time. But here is what I can and will continue to do — I will always put people over politics. I will always do my best to listen and to represent everyone’s voice, including the Progressive voice. I never have and never will vote to protect big business over the well-being of our community, nor will I ever vote based on campaign contributions or pressure from corporate lobbyists. And I will always be honest with you, even when it’s something you don’t want to hear.

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