Legislature: House Republican Leaders Speak Out On COVID Situation At The Roundhouse


The following statement from House Republican Leader Jim Townsend (Artesia), and House Republican Whip Rod Montoya (Farmington) was released at 10:45 a.m. Friday:

The Speaker (Brian Egolf) has chosen to address the very serious COVID crisis in the Roundhouse by relaying a political narrative to the media that House Republicans had a catered lunch. The allegation of a catered lunch is nothing more than a red-herring. A member did pick up individually packaged meals that were distributed to members. Restaurant, homemade and individually packaged meals are eaten by everyone who is working in the Capitol. Under the Governor’s public health order, New Mexicans are allowed to remove their masks to eat and drink beverages. We would like clarification if that is not the case, either in the public health order or within the COVID-safe rules in the Roundhouse.

The Speaker should show more concern about the five, unrelated, positive cases within the Roundhouse. We have verified with all of our staff and lawmakers that there are not any further positive cases. We have issued notice to our entire staff and caucus that if they have been exposed they must immediately follow COVID protocol and quarantine. Additionally House Republicans have been open and transparent about the single case within our legislative caucus. Our leadership chose immediately to address the positive test to ensure that our staff and members had proper notice. We directed staff and legislators not to return to the Capitol today so we could do adequate COVID tracing and a deep cleaning.

The Speaker should be more concerned with the five positive cases that are spreading in the Capitol, outside of House Republican offices, instead of attempting to deflect with politically charged accusations. Further, we are extremely disappointed that the knowledge of the unrelated five additional cases were withheld from House Republican lawmakers and staff. The fact remains, there is COVID spread in the Roundhouse, and it is a danger to staff, lawmakers and media who have been present in the building.”