US Rep Xochitl Torres Small visits NMSU to engage student voice


Xochitl Torres Small. (Courtesy Photo)

Rep.  Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District visited campus to speak with students Oct. 2 as part of a series called Congress on your Campus, coordinated by the Associated Students of New Mexico State University’s governmental affairs department.  

ASNMSU Director of Governmental Affairs Mathew Madrid said that young people don’t often engage politically and inviting Rep. Torres Small was an effort on both his and his assistant’s part to “combat the issue.”  

It is important for students to able to communicate with their representatives because our democratic process relies on constituent involvement. For our representatives to do their best work, they must be aware of the opinions of the population who elected them,” Madrid said. 

Madrid added the public must also be aware of the work that their representatives are doing and the reasoning behind their decisions.  

Prior to Rep. Torres Smalls victory against republican candidate Yvette Herrell in the 2018 New Mexico midterm elections, the House seat had been a Republican stronghold.  

According to the Washington Post, former representative Steve Pearce had occupied the House seat between 2003-2008, reclaiming it again in 2011 until the launch of his candidacy for Governor of New Mexico in 2018. 

The event proceeded as open forum, with the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump and the details surrounding it occupying the first half of the session. Rep. Torres Small asked what students knew of the situation and offered her own insight on the matter.  

Small said that there is a cause for concern when there is discussion of aid and of “personal issues and campaign-related issues” between two foreign leaders. Rep. Torres Small requested that the audience vote on whether there should be an impeachment, an impeachment inquiry, no further investigation, or an inquiry without a title.  

Upon receiving responses that seemed to favor an impeachment inquiry or an inquiry without a title, Rep. Torres Small expressed the difficulty in conflating the opinions she has received so far.  

She claimed that this is due in part to the manner in which the press has been reporting the situation and the complications that may arise with distinguishing between impeachment and impeachment inquiry.  

Rep. Torres Small also voiced concern over prejudice being the process” for a number of people, particularly those who arrive at the investigation with their minds already made up. 

I think that this issue is so important that we have to get the facts on the table to review before we make a determination,” Rep. Torres Small said. 

Students were able to submit questions to Rep. Torres Small anonymously or with their names included via index cards.  

Questions ranged from what was Rep. Torres Smalls opinion on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grishams recent announcement regarding free college tuition for New Mexico residents to what she intended to accomplish with her introduction of the Rural MOMs Act, a bipartisan act seeking to improve research and access to healthcare for expectant mothers in rural communities. 

One aspect of the governors efforts that Rep. Torres Small said she admired was the inclusion of both college and vocational training programs, recalling her own financial experience out of college in comparison to those with some type of vocational training. 

Rep. Torres Small discussed her support in making college more affordable while also addressing the needs of those paying back student loans. 

“I think having skin in the game is not a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be a miracle. It should be something you can pay back and pay back fairly quickly,” Rep. Torres Small said. 

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