Don Tripp Accepts Gavel As New House Speaker

New House Speaker Don Tripp accepted the gavel today saying it is not a Republican gavel or a Democratic gavel, but a gavel of the people of New Mexico. Photo by Nancy Partridge

Gov. Susana Martinez speaking at today’s opening of the legislative session in Santa Fe. Photo by Nancy Partridge

STATE News:

Republican Don Tripp accepted the gavel as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives today as the New Mexico 60-day Legislative Session got underway at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

Below are his prepared remarks:

My friends, I accept this gavel. Not on behalf of a Republican House or a Democratic House. But of a House that belongs to the people of New Mexico.

Because no matter your political party. No matter your views. Every lawmaker in this chamber is bound by one common thread: We are here to serve the people of this great state.

I’d like to introduce you to someone I admire most in my life, the source of my inspiration, my wife, Rosie, whom I have been married to for 48 wonderful years.

I’m also joined here today by my son, Don, my daughter, Kimberly, and her husband, Lonnie, and three of my beautiful grandchildren: Teghann, Jordan and McKenna.

My thanks to Father Andy of San Miguel Catholic Mission in Socorro for his inspirational words today. Thank you, Father.

And, of course, I wouldn’t be up here today without the help of my friends. Many of whom are here today. Thank you so much for your support over the years.

Today, we gather not just in celebration of a new legislative session, or the exchange of the gavel. But also to mourn the loss of a dear friend from Dona Ana County, Representative Phillip Archuleta. Let us take a few moments of silence to remember him.

Representative Archuleta dedicated his life to serving the people of New Mexico.  We will miss him. And we will continue to keep his family in our prayers.

My fellow New Mexicans, colleagues, friends, family – today is historic.

For the first time since 1955, this gavel has been handed to a member of another party.

Make no mistake about it: Today is not a victory for the Republican Party. Today is a victory for the state of New Mexico.

New Mexicans have spoken: They want an end to the politics as usual in Santa Fe. They want economic opportunity for their families. They want a quality education for their children to secure the high paying jobs of the future. And they are tired of New Mexico always being last when compared to other states.

I stand here today with a message to every New Mexican. Every day when we walk into this chamber, we will be fighting for you and for your families.

That is our plan. That is what we aim to do. And I call on my colleagues to join me in making this happen.

I’d like to thank the members of my party. For having faith in my leadership. For believing that a little-known jeweler from Socorro could bring two parties together in a bipartisan way to advance our state.

And I want to give a special thanks to my friend and my colleague, Majority Leader Nate Gentry. Representative Gentry worked harder than anyone I know to recruit our future leaders, many of them joining us today in this chamber.

Representative Gentry, I look forward to working together as a team to help our state.

To my friends and colleagues across the aisle: Some of you new faces, others whom I have worked side by side with for many years.

I give you my word. We will continue to reach across the aisle, extending our hand to those of you who want to join us in putting politics aside and doing what’s right for New Mexico.

Unlike the executive branch, there is no protocol for a transition in the House. But my friend Kenny Martinez was very gracious and has helped make this transition as smooth as possible. Thank you, Kenny, for all that you’ve done for this state and this great institution.

And Representative Brian Egolf, I look forward to working closely with you on issues that matter most for our state. Because while we don’t see eye to eye on every issue, I know that we will find common ground to help the people of New Mexico.

And to my friends of The New Mexico Senate.

I ask that we show New Mexico what is possible when we work together.

We need to reject the dysfunctional politics of Washington D.C. that have plagued our nation and blocked our progress.

Let us show New Mexico what is possible when we put aside our differences and start working on the goals we share in common.

I am deeply honored and humbled to accept this gavel and I am grateful for the path that has led me here.

I truly love this state. It’s where I graduated from high school, went to college at New Mexico Tech and earned my degree.

It’s where I met my beautiful wife, Rosie. Married her and raised our two children.

It’s where I started a business, a jewelry store. And in 1998, it’s where I put up my first campaign sign. Knocked door to door. Met some of the most wonderful people and became a lawmaker in this great institution.

I thank the people of my district from the mountains of Reserve, to the rolling hills of Magdalena, to the beautiful Rio Grande Valley of Belen and Socorro. I am honored to continue serving you.

My friends, we have a lot of work ahead of us.

Our economy is still too dependent on federal dollars.

Our schools are in need of reform. We continue to pass our children onto the next grade even when they cannot read.

We have the opportunity to change things. This is the year where we put politics aside and put our families first. Together we can do that. I believe in the power of bipartisanship, and I hope you will join me.

A lot of people have asked me recently, What does it mean now that Republicans are in the majority?

I will tell you. It doesn’t matter who I’m talking to – whether they are Democrat, Republican, or Independent. Regardless of their party affiliation, my answer never changes. Our goal is to put New Mexico and our families first.

But we can only do this by working together.

Together we can diversify our economy, eliminate the barriers that get in the way of small businesses and kill jobs.

Together we can reform our schools – focus on helping struggling students learn and rewarding our best and brightest teachers for their hard work.

Together we can protect our children – focus on cracking down on child abuse and making sure that justice is served to the predators who do harm to our children.

Together we can provide better customer service from this branch of government, ensure that our committee hearings are transparent and open and run on time so that any New Mexican can be part of the process.

Together, we can put New Mexico first.

We have an opportunity to change the way things have been done in Santa Fe, putting an end to business as usual.

Together, I hope you will join me in showing every New Mexican that when we put politics aside, anything is possible.

Thank you so much!

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