At 3 p.m., Easley, an Eldorado resident who is the new representative for District 50, wasn't quite sure where to go or what he would do following Gov. Susana Martinez's State of the State address in the Roundhouse. Trujillo, who replaced the late Ben Luján in representing District 46, said he was going to eat lunch. They reconvened in the House chamber around 3:30 p.m.
It was the first day of this year's 60-day legislative session, and Easley and Trujillo were walking in as newcomers. Both were elected last November and sworn into office Jan. 1, though they didn't feel "official" until newly elected House Speaker Ken Martinez, D-Grants, brought the chamber to order around 1 p.m. Tuesday. A few minutes later, Martinez led the entire gathering of senators and representatives through the Code of Ethics ("a public office is a public trust," etc.).
Both men voiced excitement over their new roles as "citizen legislators" (Easley's words). Neither gave off a "Jimmy Stewart goes to the Roundhouse" aura, for in their own ways, each had become familiar with the legislative process before taking on the job.
Easley worked in various capacities for state government over the past decade or so, including a stint as chief information officer for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, so he's comfortable moving in and working within the Capitol.
Trujillo, who defeated Democratic opponent Mayor David Coss in the primary last June, didn't face a Republican opponent and thus spent months familiarizing himself with both the layout of the Capitol and the people working in it. "I feel like I've been here six months," he said.
For both newcomers, there is no need to try to prove their worth by introducing numerous bills just to show that they are in there swinging.
"In my mind, a bill has to make sense for the citizens of New Mexico," Trujillo said.
"If members of the public come to me with ideas for bills, I'm happy to work on them," Easley said.
Both already have at least a few legislative ideas, but they were reluctant to discuss details. Easley will push for gun safety and education; Trujillo will advocate for water preservation and green energy.
Both want to serve on the same three committees: Appropriation and Finance, Agriculture and Water Resources, and the Legislative Education Study Committee. It will be House Speaker Martinez's task to appoint members to those committees — probably no later than Wednesday.
Both men brought family with them to the Roundhouse on Tuesday. Easley's wife, Susan, his daughter, Elyssa, and her husband, Jeremy, patiently stood by as constituents and legislators greeted him. Trujillo's son Dominic stood by his dad's side through most of the morning. Trujillo said his wife, Ellen, and their other three sons were waiting in a nearby room to join him in the House chamber for the State of the State.
Easley had read "15 Tips For Being an Effective Legislator" (posted on the Legislature's website), but Trujillo had not. Both praised more experienced mentors who have already helped them understand the process.
Easley said one older statesman told him, "There's a big difference between sitting around the campfire and sitting in the campfire."
Both expect long days down the road — really long days.
"In the first half of a 60-day session, people tend to take their time; they're not in a hurry," Easley said, based on his observation of legislative activities. "In the second half, they get more worried about pushing their bills. There's a sine die deadline at noon on the last day, and that tends to make everyone more nervous. I used to watch legislators leaning back in their chair at 1 in the morning, trying to stay awake, falling asleep. I felt bad for them being stuck, and I know that awaits me near the end of this session."
Easley, who runs an information technology services consulting company, said if the legislative days stretch to 18 or 20 hours, he'll sleep on a couch in his Capitol office rather than go home. Trujillo, who works as a materials science researcher for Los Alamos National Laboratory, said he hopes to make it home for at least a few hours every night, no matter how long the legislative day.
Later in the morning, Easley admitted to being a tad nervous. "I'm a very calm guy, but I'm new to this," he said. "It's a privilege to serve in this seat."
Trujillo maintained a confident smile as he took everything in. Would he be as confident and good-humored at the end of the session? "Ask me in 60 days," he said.
He kept praising his wife for her support in his campaign and said he wouldn't be able to serve without her faith in him. She would have to take over most of the household chores over the next two months, he acknowledged. But not shoveling snow. "I'll probably have to go home to do that," Trujillo said.
He said his first day was "a wonderful experience. We're ready and waiting to go to work."