FACT CHECK: Gary Johnson Impossible To Work With, Will Further Gridlock In Washington

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FACT CHECK: Gary Johnson Impossible To Work With, Will Further Gridlock In Washington

As a candidate, Gary Johnson likes to claim he worked with everybody and got things done for New Mexico. But for his entire political career, Johnson has done the complete opposite. As governor, Johnson was unwilling to budge or work towards finding a middle ground. Whether it was forcing special sessions or vetoing capital outlay projects to prove a point, Johnson earned a well-deserved reputation for being impossible to work with. Johnson says he won’t be a wallflower in the Senate, and he won’t – he’ll be another source of friction and contribute to the gridlock in Washington that is hurting our country today.

JOHNSON REPEATEDLY FORCED SPECIAL SESSIONS, COSTING NEW MEXICO MORE THAN $1.6 MILLION

  • Johnson Forced Special Sessions In 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 (Twice), 2001 (Twice), And 2002. [New Mexico Legislature]
  • Special Sessions Caused By Johnson Cost The State More Than $1.6 Million Dollars. [New Mexico In Depth. 10/6/16]
  • By 2000 Johnson Had Called For Special Sessions Four Times In Six Years. “Gov. Gary Johnson may be big on smaller government, but one category of state spending has flourished under his watch: expenditures on special legislative sessions. The convening of the Legislature at noon today marks the fourth time in six years that Johnson has called the Legislature back to work after completion of its regular yearly session.” [Santa Fe New Mexican, 3/28/00]
  • 1999: Johnson Vetoed The State Budget Twice, Education Spending Three Times And Demanded A Special Session. “Shortly after legislators finished business on Saturday, the governor sat before reporters and declared what many say was a foregone conclusion perhaps before the 60-day session even began: Nothing short of vouchers will satisfy him. And Johnson has said he will veto the state budget for the second time, the education budget for the third time, and call lawmakers back for as many special sessions as it takes to get his coveted school-reform package passed.” [Albuquerque Tribune, 3/22/99]

JOHNSON VETOED PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS TO FORCE THE LEGISLATURE TO GIVE HIM WHAT HE WANTED

  • Johnson Vetoed $58 Million Worth Of Construction Projects To Encourage Legislators To Give Him What He Wants. “Johnson needed the bills to fix critical budget problems, but didn’t like the solutions legislators sent him the first time. To encourage legislators to give him what he wants, Johnson vetoed their $58 million package of construction projects — the new roads, schools and senior centers that legislators want to trumpet on their upcoming campaign trails.” [Albuquerque Tribune, 3/21/96]

AS GOVERNOR, JOHNSON REFUSED TO MEET WITH LEGISLATORS AND DEVELOPED A REPUTATION AS BEING UNCOMMUNICATIVE

  • Johnson Said His Refusal To Meet With Legislators And Made Deals Was Intentional To Ensure He Was Not “Leveraged.” “Johnson defended his role as an ‘un-politician’ during the session that ended Feb. 15 and said his refusal to become a ‘wheeler-dealer’ was intentional. ‘There was criticism that I wasn’t down there fighting for things I thought were important. But by going down there, I might be leveraged. That’s the price you pay for going down there,’ the governor said.” [Albuquerque Tribune, 2/21/96]
  • Johnson Was Accused Of Withholding Information From Legislators About Whether The State Government’s Budget Merited A Special Session. “The rhetoric heated up Tuesday in the latest round of budget fighting between Republican Gov. Gary Johnson and the Legislature’s Democratic leaders. Legislators, after meeting for several hours Tuesday, complained that Johnson and his staff won’t give them the information they need to decide whether state government’s budget woes merit a special legislative session. ‘They hold the keys to all the information we need,’ House Speaker Raymond Sanchez, D-Albuquerque, said. He said that ‘in terms of getting information,’ Johnson’s team is the most uncooperative of any governor in more than two decades.  And Sanchez said Johnson should have consulted with leaders of other branches of government before recently cutting monthly allocations to the agencies by 2.5 percent as a cost-saving measure — a move that provoked district attorneys last week to file a lawsuit challenging the reduced allocations.” [Santa Fe New Mexican, 9/27/95]
  • By His Second Term Johnson Had Developed A Reputation For Being Uncommunicative. “Gov. Gary Johnson and the veteran Democratic leaders of the New Mexico Legislature today start their fifth full legislative session together and they still haven’t figured out how to talk to each other. Beginning his second term after four years as governor, Johnson says he talks but that lawmakers don’t like what he says. Legislators say Johnson isn’t interested in real back-and-forth dialogue…. Johnson, asked recently how he was getting ready for the legislative session, summed up his preparations by saying, ‘I guess communication, communication, communication.’ He has promised Republican lawmakers that he will do a better job of letting them know his positions on legislation. And he is expected to join in Republican legislative caucus meetings for the first time.” [Santa Fe New Mexican, 1/19/99]

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