Taos Pueblo photographer Debbie Lujan caused a social media sensation today (Jan. 18) when she posted a picture of herself on Facebook – posing with Beto O'Rourke at Taos Pueblo.
Taos Pueblo photographer Debbie Lujan caused a social media sensation Friday (Jan. 18) when she posted a picture of herself on Facebook – standing right by Beto O’Rourke at Taos Pueblo.
O’Rourke was the 2018 Democratic U.S. Senate candidate for Texas who was defeated by Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. According to The New York Times election results, Cruz received 50.9 percent of the vote and O’Rourke received 48.3 percent. In the last weeks of the race, he became a darling of the national Democratic Party.
O’Rourke had been earlier visiting with students, teachers and other faculty at Taos Day School.
“Tina Martinez of Taos Day School was giving him a tour of the Pueblo. There were hardly any tourists around,” said Lujan. “He was very gracious and very easy to talk to.”
In a statement from the school, they said O’Rourke visited Taos Day School accompanied by Marie and Martin Martinez of Taos Pueblo.
“He joined us for our Celebration of Learning where all the students were given accolades for their successes during the last nine-week grading period,” said Principal Andy Haimowitz.
O’Rourke then joined students, staff and tribal officials for pizza and ice cream sundaes. Before he left, O’Rourke met with staff at the Taos Pueblo Central Management system.
“It was a heartfelt gathering including parents, community members and tribal government staff that focused on students and Mr. O’Rourke wanting to know about Taos Pueblo and Taos Day School,” said Haimowitz.
Lujan has a gallery, Summer Rain Arts, on the north side of the Pueblo. She admits that she normally doesn’t take “just anybody” to the top of her village house (the second story). “He was very interested in the American experience, talking to people from different backgrounds,” she said.
O’Rourke was interested in learning about Taos Pueblo and had not known about the return of their sacred Blue Lake in 1970 by President Nixon, Lujan said.Lujan, a well-known local photographer, is also a classically trained violinist and plays with the Roswell Symphony, so she knows a lot of people in El Paso, Texas, which they conversed about. “I think he’s always looking for that personal connection,” Lujan said.
O’Rourke is on a road trip that is being followed by national media outlets – given the speculation that the fourth-generation Texan may add his name to the list of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
By Lujan’s account, he was very humble and he downplayed her comment, “You’re a celebrity.”
O’Rourke mentioned he had already traveled in Kansas, the Panhandle, around New Mexico and was in Pueblo, Colorado, the previous night.
The El Paso Times reports O’Rourke is scheduled to sit down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey Feb. 5
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