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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Guest Blog: Julie Heinrich Touches Base

Micah, Julie, Martin and Carter Heinrich

We're very pleased to offer a special DFNM guest blog by Julie Heinrich, whose husband Martin will be sworn in on January 6th, 2009 for his first two-year term as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico's First Congressional District. Julie took time out from a very busy family schedule to fill us in on what's happening with the Heinrich clan as Martin prepares to head to Washington and the work at hand. It's good to remember that although we may elect an individual to public office, it's the entire family that's involved in public service -- and all that entails in terms of both sacrifice and reward.

"Would you like some, Carter? It's really good!" He wrinkled his nose at the dish.

"They're on the prison diet," my cousin joked. She was sympathetic, as her 5-year old was eating the same -- nothing but bread and water for Thanksgiving. Even my mother's spinach-even-kids-will-like recipe couldn't entice the taste-buds of these who prefer their food bland and simple.

Contrary to the picky-eaters club, food actually IS central to celebration for the rest of our family. For us, it's an opportunity to enjoy the food we've harvested or made; celebrate local foods, farms, traditions; and utilize recipes handed-down, some of them never written on paper. Martin and I both come from generations of farmers and gardeners. Martin's parents continue to grow much of their own vegetables, enjoying canned goods through the winter months. Shirley Heinrich's curried chutney garnished our Thanksgiving turkey. For Christmas, the holiday menu might include my grandmother's kolache, Martin's family's chicken noodle soup made with hand-cut fresh noodles, and just about anything with chile.

DFNM recently invited me to write about Martin's preparation for office, by asking: what is your family doing right now? (Besides eating a lot,) actually quite a bit. As you may know, the voters were gracious enough to elect Martin to the U.S. Congress for the First Congressional District in New Mexico.

Ready to Hit the Ground Running
First, Martin has been training. He attended an orientation session in D.C., and a second at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He describes the trainings as informative and beneficial. It has given him the opportunity to better know the other members of his newly elected class, both Democrat and Republican, and to prepare Martin so he can hit the ground running once sworn into office. Martin has also toured parts of the district in his new capacity, some of which I've been able to join: the University of New Mexico, Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Labs, the Sandia Science and Technology Park, and others.

Martin is preparing his offices to serve the citizens of District 1. He's hiring dynamic staff who are ready and willing to address constituent concerns and policy issues. He intends to continue a tradition of strong communication with those he serves. Martin will make himself accessible to various parts of the district on his weekends in Albuquerque. His office will open in January, and soon there will be ways to stay involved and informed by phone, in person, on the web, and via traditional mail and email. Martin is sworn into office on January 6th, and our new president is sworn into office on January 20th. I'm lucky to join Martin at both of those events.

The Web-Cam Solution
Selfishly, I love having Martin around at home right now. We're enjoying shared dinners and looking forward to the luminaria tours in our neighborhood. Starting January, we'll seek a modern solution to evening bedtime stories: web-cams. So, if you're ever in D.C., and see Martin reading "Where the Wild Things Are" into a computer, know there are two appreciative wild things on the other end.

A Big Thank You
All in all, our family continues to be both moved and humbled by the tremendous community support we received. When I think of the tens of thousands of volunteer phone calls, the homemade red chile enchiladas brought to the office, the friends who watched our kids so we could attend community events together, the containers of homemade soup when we were sick, I'm moved. Both of us are so appreciative of the diverse group of supporters who were so willing to help carry out a common desire and vision for this district and state.

From the Heinrich Family to Yours
Please allow us this opportunity to wish everyone a joyous 2009. During challenging times, I am impressed with the potential for human generosity. Just last week, I spoke with a woman at a local non-profit organization which supports women and children. She told me this year, a lot of her co-worker's families are struggling financially. So, instead of a gift exchange, they each took a turn at feeding the office for a day. Not only was this local group caring for others in the community, but themselves as well.

May your holiday find a warm meal and the companionship of friends or family. From the Heinrich family to yours, we wish you all a Happy Holiday season.

This is a guest blog by Julie Heinrich. We hope to feature some additional insights from Julie and family as time goes on, Martin is sworn in, Obama is inaugurated and the 111th Congress is convened in Washington.

Guest blogs are a good way to express your views on issues of interest to our readers. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.

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December 23, 2008 at 09:16 AM in Guest Blogger, NM Congressional Delegation, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink


I really like the idea of hearing from Julie and Martin. Happy holidays to the Heinrich family and good luck in Washington to our new congressman! We are counting on you and we have your back.

Posted by: Old Dem | Dec 23, 2008 10:17:45 AM

Thank you for the opportunity and the kind words!

Posted by: Julie Heinrich | Dec 23, 2008 11:10:56 AM

We're all in this together, aren't we? Maybe if we all pull together we can help make at least some of the change that is so needed.

It must be strange for a new member of congress to try and figure out what's going on in Washington. Good luck learning the ropes and have a wonderful holiday.

Posted by: Kathy | Dec 23, 2008 11:35:51 AM

Nice of Julie H. to reach out like this. Hope we hear more about what it is like to be a part of Congress. I want some noodle soup!

Posted by: roadrunner | Dec 23, 2008 3:56:22 PM

I would also like to thank Julie for this post. I have never felt like I had any inside game in Washington, but I certainly feel that we finally have a grassroots representative. It is beyond fabulous to have a sense that the little people will have a champion in DC at last!!

Thank you for sharing Martin with all of us. This is a huge change that we CAN believe in.

Posted by: bg | Dec 23, 2008 5:10:27 PM

Thanks Julie! We appreciate the personal touch! And the update on the action that is going on behind the scenes for this very important job Martin has been hired by the people to do.

I want to tell you: although the number of comments on your post is a few....the post itself is getting alot of hits.
Write again...in 15 min slots!
Merry x mas...happy new year 09!

Posted by: mary ellen | Dec 23, 2008 7:43:55 PM

Great blog post, Julie. We're so excited to have you all out there. Nice shot with the RailRunner btw.

Posted by: James Glave | Dec 23, 2008 9:30:36 PM

CLASS! Julie you and the Family are First class. Thanks to you Martin & the kids for making this sacrifice for the People of New Mexico. Not just the NM 1 st ALL of us.
Stay safe & Happy Holidays.

Posted by: pwrnch | Dec 23, 2008 10:09:18 PM

What an absolutely fabulous post. I supported Martin because I believed that he was one of us. I met Julie a couple of times and was always impressed with her. This guest blog shows me that my trust was well founded. We truely have a couple of gems on our side, both Martin and Julie. I am seriously moved by your connection with us and am so glad that you choose Democracy for New Mexico for your communication. Bless you both and your family.

Terry Riley

Posted by: Terry Riley | Dec 24, 2008 1:02:01 PM

Thank you Julie for a great post and thank you Congressman Heinrich for making this constituent feel like we actually have someone in Washington representing we the people.

Posted by: VP | Dec 25, 2008 8:47:18 AM