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House Speaker Pelosi meets with New Mexicans impacted by wildfires

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi listens as farmer Zach Withers describes what he and others have experienced during the wildfires in Northern New Mexico

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Frenández Monday morning for a roundtable discussion at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque with residents of Mora and San Miguel counties impacted by the Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon wildfire.

During this discussion, the individuals  shared their experiences with Pelosi and asked for the federal government to step up their response in assisting those impacted recover. Speaking with the media after the roundtable discussion, Pelosi called these first account testimonies moving.

“Today, it was almost (moved to tears) to hear that pain that was caused, the loss that came with all of that. The trauma and the impact that had on our children and to just see, in a very clear, eloquent, articulate way how everyone understood what the loss was, what the needs were and what the specific requests were.”

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
Speaker Pelosi shows a shirt given to her by one of the individuals who participated in the roundtable discussion

Among those taking part in the roundtable discussion were farmers, local leaders and students as well, who Pelosi and Frenández called the “future” and the ones who will inherit the land that have been ravaged by this fire.

A fire that Pelosi called avoidable.

“It could have been avoided because it was man made. This was actually a mistake, a tremendous mistake.”

Pelosi also hinted that Hermits Peak Fire Assistance Act, which is sponsored by Rep. Frenández, would be included in Congress’ continuing resolution, telling reporters to stay tuned.

Pelosi did say the personal stories shared with her today will impact the process of getting this legislation to the finish line.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
René Gomez, a resident of Rociada, New Mexico watches as Speaker Pelosi addresses the media following the roundtable discussion

“While we want to persuade our colleagues, we also want to have people thinking about this in a bigger way. Let this be an example and the stories we heard were about that.”

The Hermits Peak Fire Assistance Act would require the federal government to pay damages for the 500-square mile wildfire, which destroyed about one thousand structures, including more than 500 homes.

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, Gino found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports and sports broadcasting. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in mass media journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. He can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the Lobo Hockey Network.