BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Rio Arriba County Commissioner Leo Jaramillo, who announced his candidacy Jan. 2 for the State Senate District 5 seat currently held by Sen. Richard Martinez, has released a letter to his constituents concerning a conviction for drinking and driving when he was 18 years old.
Jaramillo pointed out the difference between the 18-year old college freshman “who pleaded guilty and took responsibility as opposed to the 67-year old State Senator who pleaded not guilty to aggravated DWI, never showed remorse or apologized to his constituents or the victims” as being astronomically different”.
“The senator held key committee chairmanships. This week he resigned from his positions as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and co-chair of the Courts, Corrections and Justice Interim Committee which champions stricter DUI laws,” he said.
Jaramillo said after his arrest at 18 he sought out a professional to administer an alcohol screening test and a licensed counselor to talk about the trauma prior to going before a judge on the charge.
“I pleaded guilty and accepted the consequences,” he said.
Jaramillo said after he graduated from college he returned to Northern New Mexico and volunteered to speak at local high schools about his experience of the consequences of drinking and driving.
“My error was not only a learning opportunity, it also molded me into a strong advocate to not only address drinking and driving but also to address the disease of alcoholism which plagues so many of our northern communities,” he said.
Note: The Los Alamos Reporter will post an interview with Jaramillo in the next few days.