Egolf challenger fires up supporters with anti-corporate speech

Lyla Johnston

Lyla June Johnston, the first person in years to challenge House Speaker Brian Egolf in a Democratic primary, said she plans to fast on the Capitol steps for seven days and nights as a form of prayer for the planet during a time of rising global temperatures.

The 30-year-old Navajo poet-turned-

politician says the fast is meant to draw attention to a forthcoming broad environmental and social proposal her campaign will release piecemeal, with one part of the plan unveiled each day at 12:15 p.m. during her “fast for the future,” starting Jan. 20, a day ahead of the 2020 legislative session.

One major question is whether Johnston will be able to lawfully remain on the Capitol steps overnight, her campaign manager said, adding Capitol staff have told the candidate she does not have permission to sleep on the steps overnight.

“First and foremost … it is a prayer. In fact, if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t last two days,” Johnston said, adding she will have a nurse checking in with her every day and intends to sleep in high-quality winter camping gear.

“And that’s part of our Native culture,” she continued. “Fasting is one way you can pray. And every time your tummy rumbles, you’re reminded of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and the importance of thinking outside of yourself.”

Johnston, who announced her run in December, is an outspoken critic of the state’s economic reliance on the oil and gas industry, which provides about 45 percent of a $7 billion state budget that pays for services such as public schools, roads, environmental regulation and other state agencies.

She argues New Mexico’s cozy relationship with the industry is not worth the money and criticizes her opponent in District 47 — one of the most powerful Democratic lawmakers in the state — for accepting campaign donations from energy companies and the Public Service Company of New Mexico, the state’s largest utility.

Egolf has responded that he has done much for the environment, including supporting Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Energy Transition Act, which requires the state to move to zero-carbon electricity production by 2045.

Johnston is allied with a young group of high school-age and adult climate activists called Youth United for Climate Crisis Action, some of whom were issued citations by state police for demonstrating in Lujan Grisham’s office in October after the building closed.

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(14) comments

Charles Andreoli

Just what we need in the State House, another space cadet.

Felicia N Trujillo

Egolf abandoned us in our fight for environmental health. He initially helped us pass HM 32, which only mandated that our Dept of Health read and report back to the next Legislative session all the current research published in peer-reviewed journals on the health dangers of cell towers--to humans, to cattle, to wildlife, to birds and bees. We submitted 1132 such reports, which the DOH found credible--but were blocked from reporting by Gov Martinez who issued a statement that none of our research was "peer-reviewed"--it all was--and chose instead four studies funded by the TeleCom Industry. And where was Egolf? This was an illegal movement by the Governor against a Legislature approved House Memorial. He was not to be found.

molly smythe

Thank you Ms. Johnston for your courage and caring spirit. Being a good steward of the earth is for each of us to pursue and there is certainly nothing to criticize about good stewardship. Your dedication is inspiring and I look forward to learning more about your platform during your fast.

Sebastian Robins

Thank you for highlighting the work of this young woman and all those fighting peacefully and bravely for our city, county, state and planet. Well done, SF New Mexican and well done, Lyla June. I trust that our intelligent readers will not fall for the misinformation in many of these comments. Those who know or have met Lyla June know she is running this race with integrity, love and compassion. She refuses to malign her opponent, even while pointing out that his biggest campaign contributions come from the four biggest oil and gas companies.

Brian Egolf champions many beautiful and noble causes. But one of those causes must be curing our addiction to cheap oil. Now, not by 2045. If he's unwilling to fight this fight, let's open the door for those who are willing to step up and advocate for our, and our children's future.

Dr. Michael Johnson

"...one of those causes must be curing our addiction to cheap oil." Seriously?? All righty then, let's say we work for much more expensive oil, so that the children of NM can get even more money to fund their education! Are you with me?

Bobbe Garcia

Lyla June is bringing an inspired voice to political discourse in New Mexico. She’s giving people hope in a frightening, cynical, and horrifying moment in our planet’s history. She’s encouraging us to realize that we need to have some urgency in addressing our state’s economic dependence on the extractive industries, industries which people of all political persuasions acknowledge will eventually go bust and leave our families and communities out to dry. We need to plan for our futures.

It sickens me that so many “leaders” refuse to stop sucking down that sweet sweet oil money, that they refuse to have imagination, that they they refuse to act with the urgency that the UN’s climate studies demand. We may only have 10 years or less to radically shift our economies and reliance on extractive industries to avert catastrophic global disaster. I’m talking about mass extinction, the destruction of communities, a lot of suffering. This is what’s ahead of us if we keep the status quo. The expected production levels of the Permian Basin alone may be responsible for as much as a 1 degree temperature rise in the climate. There’s no time to wait. We can’t accept the status quo. I’m glad we have Lyla in the mix. We need to do better, and I know she’s going to usher in the profound political change we need.

Dr. Michael Johnson

"I’m talking about mass extinction, the destruction of communities, a lot of suffering." OMG! Real Old Testament stuff from the Bible!!!! ;-{)

Mike Mellon

My information is that New Energy Economy who opposed the Energy Transition Act funded Lyla Johnston‘s move to District 47 so they could run her for the seat. Quite a publicity strategy for New Energy Economy to draw attention to their opposition to the Act. The GREATER MAJORITY of conservation groups supported the passage of the Energy Transition Act. Lots of testimony during the last session which was painful to listen to but it did pass numerous committees, both houses, and signed by the governor. Lyla Johnston and her group will be wasting a lot of resources using their strategy when they could be doing something that will support improving our environment.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Good observation! When I asked this woman to help us stop the City of Santa Fe from dumping sewage in the Rio Grande, and to fight with us in the N-P-T valleys to repeal the Aamodt water theft, it turns out this so-called "water protector" has a much different agenda. She is but a charlatan puppet for some special interests here, as you point out.

Chris Mechels

We need to thank Egolf for the ETA, which gives PNM hundreds of millions, and give US promises. As New Energy Economy says, a PNM giveaway. And we can thank Egolf for giving HIMSELF a lovely $18 million Industrial Revenue Bond, which he didn't need. But, what the heck. you deserve it... and this is a "Smash and Grab" state, so take it. Who says we have "unpaid" legislators; Egolf is paid well, very well indeed. Good luck to the candidate, stay warm.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Correction, the ETA gives US higher electricity bills for a very long time. And Mich and Egolf have been and will be, handsomely rewarded. This is a bad time to pick to sleep outside, shows bad judgement on her part, but if you look at her background and ideas, that is what you would expect.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Well, now the Fanta Se looney tune socialists have their very own "Greta". What stupidity, but so typical for Fanta Se. After my work at the DAPL protests, this is just so predictable.

Barry Rabkin

I want to thank Big Oil & Gas for providing the fuel our homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, military and entertainment venues need to continue their operations. I also want to thank Big Oil & Gas for providing the critically necessary fuel that helped to industrialize the United States.

I also want to thank Fate for putting most of the Permian Basin in Texas where New Mexican politicians and regulators can't stop drilling.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Well said! And don't forget almost single handedly propping up this state's life style financially, without it, we would be like Bangladesh.

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