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Lawmakers have earned some rest after a surprisingly productive legislative session. I will save analysis for another day and give you instead some of the flavor of the last 60 days of verbal jousting in my second annual Quotes of the Session.
House Speaker Ken Martinez, D-Grants: “A lot of times we approach a problem from two sides and try to work it out.
If we define the problem together and define solutions together, there’s no need to reach across the aisle.”
Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, during a discussion of the health insurance exchange: “This is the session where cats and dogs are dancing in the street, and everybody’s compromising.”
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen: “We live in a different political world than we did two years ago or four years ago or six years ago or eight years ago.”
House Minority Leader Don Bratton, R-Hobbs, quoting the late Albuquerque conservative George Buffett on his advice to Bratton as a freshman legislator: “Think long and hard before you introduce bills. Talk to your colleagues because we’ve probably been down that road before.
“And don’t overwhelm the process. I think sometimes we spend a lot of time on things that aren’t that important.”
Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, on exporting coal: “This is an enormous debate, tantamount to saying, we have all these buffalo, we might as well use ‘em all.
The same suicidal thinking has created our environmental problems.”
Rep. Lucky Varela, deputy House Appropriations chairman: “If you want to add more money to the budget, we have to pass tax bills. Money isn’t going to fall from the sky.”
Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Farmington: “I think we should talk to the Legislative Council Service about installing a smokestack on the Roundhouse for confirmation hearings.”
Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque: “Yesterday, I voted together with Sen. Sharer and the moon didn’t turn to blood.” (Candelaria and the conservative Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, are political opposites.)
Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith, D-Deming: “I lay awake at night wondering how we will fund education, health care, law enforcement. We’re still in pretty troubled waters.”
Sen. George Munoz, D-Gallup: “One of the lessons I learned from (former Senate President Tim Jennings) was don’t get in a rush. Take your time. Mistakes happen when you hurry.
The Senate will be less interesting without Tim Jennings there. As humble a man as he was, I’ll miss him and miss his leadership. He was the guy who could work both sides really well.”
House Appropriations Chairman Kiki Saavedra, D-Albuquerque, addressing Republicans on the budget: “I don’t understand why you can’t support this. My good friend (Sen.) John Arthur Smith supported this, and he is more conservative than all of you put together.”
Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque: “There are only six of us (women) left in the Senate, and when our numbers dwindle, boy do we feel it.”
State Police Chief Robert Shilling: “We give DWI offenders four bites at the apple. A serial burglar only gets one bite at the apple.
A shoplifter only gets one bite. Multiple DWI offenders are not getting the message because the penalties aren’t stiff enough.”
David Abbey, Legislative Finance Committee director: “A lot of money saved on roads was penny-wise and pound-foolish.
We designed roads for an 8-year life instead of 15. That was 10 years ago, and we haven’t fixed them since.”
Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque: “We were extraordinarily busy. I’ve never seen so many bills. We couldn’t hear them all. We either have to introduce fewer bills or have longer sessions.”
Keith Gardner, governor’s chief of staff: “Not just no, but heck no. I don’t use bad words any more.”