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Republican Women hold first meeting of 2021

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Attendees react to Wednesday’s inauguration of Joe Biden as president

With a new administration taking office Wednesday, attendees at a meeting of the Chaves County Federated Republican Women expressed a range of emotions about the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

Biden and Kamala Harris took the oath of office as the 46th U.S. president and 49th vice president at noon Eastern Time in Washington D.C. during a ceremony on the western steps of the U.S. Capitol.

About an hour and a half after Biden was administered the oath of office and gave an inaugural address, the Chaves County Federated Republican Women gathered for their first meeting of 2021 at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center.

Though Biden carried New Mexico as a whole by 11% in November, now former President Donald Trump won reliably conservative Chaves County over Biden 70% to 28%. The remainder of the vote went to Libertarian Jo Jorgensen. Many of Trump’s stalwart supporters saw Wednesday as a day of sorrow.

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“I feel like all that this president did for us, that President Trump did for us for the past four years will be gone and be removed,” Joan Boue, former president of the Federated Republican Women, said.

Democrats in November were able to not only reclaim the White House, but also control of the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Senate is now evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, though with Harris being the tie-breaking vote as vice president, Democrats will be in control of that chamber of Congress, too.

Boue said she believes that Trump did not get the credit he deserved for his accomplishments in foreign and domestic policies during his term and has concerns about some of the policies pushed by Democrats, including as it relates to abortion rights.

Boue though said she is taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to the new administration, but that does not mean she will adopt their stances.

“I am willing to move on, I will certainly give them a chance, but I will be fighting anything that goes against my religion and my Constitution,” she said.

Jason Perry, a baptist minister and Roswell city councilor representing Ward 2, said he is hoping for the best.

“We leave it in God’s hands and we hope that President Biden has a successful presidency that will be good for all Americans,” Perry said Wednesday. However, he said he does think Biden’s signing of several executive orders reversing Trump era policies is discouraging.

Some though said moving past the 2020 election will not be easy. Christina Arnold said the inauguration of Biden for her represents a feeling of overwhelming disappointment.

“I don’t actually believe that I will support Biden. That’s just kind of my statement,” Arnold said. She added that she believes the government and democratic process in the past election has failed the nation.

She said she believes the presidential election was tainted by fraud, even though federal and state courts, including judges appointed by Trump himself, rejected 62 lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign alleging voter fraud or election improprieties.

William Barr, who was U.S. Attorney General under Trump, also said in December that he did not see any evidence of voter fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election.

Nonetheless, Arnold said, with so many Americans expressing doubt about the integrity of the election, there should have been more of an effort to look into those concerns. She also said she sees a double standard in Biden and Democrats calling for unity after four years of what she sees as unfair treatment of Trump.

“So I find his call for unity pure hypocrisy,” she said. “It’s almost kind of like spitting in my face.”

In the years ahead, Arnold said that conservatives like herself will speak out on actions by the new administration which they disagree with, but will do so in a civil way.

“We’re policy driven and we are going to call him out on his policy and how it affects America,” she said.

Stephanie Thomas, chair of the Democratic Party of Chaves County, said in a statement later Wednesday that while a change in leadership will not heal all the divisions, it can help move the country forward.

“I think of today as more of a collective starting point, where people can finally find footing to figure out how best to continue the ongoing work to fight for those most marginalized in our society,” Thomas said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301 or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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