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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Guest Blog: One Progressive Texan's Perspective on the Lt. Governor Race

This is a guest blog and video animation by Stuart Heady, who is a freelance writer and a long time participant in progressive politics, going back to 1980 in Austin, Tx. He recently moved to Albuquerque.

From political experience in Texas, California, Arizona and Washington State (I organized a campaign for Howard Dean and then a DFA chapter in Snohomish County) before moving here recently, my sense is that there is a future bearing down on New Mexico that many folks may not be ready for.

The times we are in are calling us to quickened response, to get it, to drop conventionalism, complacency and mediocrity.

What we are going to see in the fall is more of the regressive politics we have been seeing in Texas. W. beat Ann Richards for governor fifteen years ago because Texas Democrats were bound up in conventional thinking and voters saw a lack of vibrancy and fight at a critical moment. What we have seen since, as a result, is proof that elections can have profound, paradigmatic consequences.

As the world’s problems manifest themselves more intensely, the contrast will increasingly become a choice between pragmatic progressive solutions that address the need for building the foundations of the future, and regressive instincts to find comfort in the familiarity of the past. Problem is, it won’t always be clear which is which.

There will be clarifying events that we might miss the significance of. For instance, last January, the international investment group CERES announced that they have amassed a total of about 13 Trillion (with a T) dollars from a worldwide pool of investors in order to influence governments to move on the policy ground rules that are needed for entrepreneurs to act in ways that foster “green” economics. This is because there is nothing more important for the long run than creating a solid economic basis for the future in alternative energy and conservation, with an infrastructure that distributes economic opportunity along with broadband access and energy. Educational reform, health care and everything else are inseparable from the totality of what is needed to establish an economy for the 21st century.

This investment pool is an example of pragmatic progressivism that means it.

New Mexico stands to gain a share of this worldwide participation in new paradigm building – which could be maximized or minimized depending on leadership chosen in this upcoming election. Do we continue to promote an old style pay to play culture? If we do, the worldwide smart money might decide the future is in places like India.

That is why, when I look at the Lt. Governor’s race, I conclude that Joe Campos ought to be the Democratic Lt. Gov. nominee. As a mayor in a more conservative locale, nearer to Texas, he seems to me to be the only candidate who “gets it” about the Republican challenge we face and the green economy future central to all our other progressive policy interests.

I think Brian Colon is an up and comer with a future and a talent for media campaigning. But, after the recent Supreme Court decision that gave corporate donors freer reign, I feel even more uneasy and leery about campaigns that attract large donors and speak through high gloss TV. Does he get it? I can’t tell. To me, being one with advertising is not a good sign.

I think Lawrence Rael ought to be hired under the Denish Administration as a budget master, but it seems to me that administration is very often confused with leadership. Carrying out defined ways of doing things works in a normal time, but we need leaders who dare to think with real clarity and who can act to create foundational, structural changes to the system.

America is like a party barge and everyone is having such a good time, that no one wants to connect the fact that the river bank is moving - with the roar in the distance. This is real.

Note: The linked animation was created as an experimental commentary, not as a "commercial," and was made entirely by use of the free software available on the xtranormal.com website. Everyone ought to try it!


This is a guest blog by Stuart Heady. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

May 27, 2010 at 11:42 AM in 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Energy, Environment, Joe Campos | Permalink


Sounds like another Texan trying to tell us what to do. If he "recently" moved to NM, how does he know enough about the candidates to offer an opinion worth listening to? I think not. Colon has the lead for a reason - he is a better candidate and campaigner, not because he has nicer commercials ( which he does). Get with it - a polished campaign does not equal a bad campaign, it signifies a well organized and thought out one.

Posted by: Stuart who? | May 27, 2010 11:51:39 AM

Our politics are VERY different from Texas'--spend a little more time here any you'll realize that. Even if it were, I don't think that simply because Campos is "nearer to Texas" means we should support him, anymore than someone from Colorado should support a candidate that is "nearer to New Mexico."

I agree that we are in need of big-time, structural changes. But I looked at Rep. Campos before making up my mind, and I do not think that he has the background to really make that change happen. Rep. Campos brags about being the author of the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority, but what he doesn't mention is that, in 3 years, not a single deal has been done under that legislation. Not one. He touts is because it sounds good, but it hasn't created the sort of structural change that you discuss here.

I encourage you to sit down and talk with Lawrence, and you'll pretty quickly understand that this is a man with vision, and with the tools to actually make change happen.

Posted by: Rael Supporter | May 27, 2010 12:17:07 PM

I love the video and I'm not even voting for Campos!

Posted by: Erin | May 27, 2010 12:18:24 PM

The question is whether Diane Denish is energized by clean energy and green jobs. The LG won't have much say in environmental or energy policy. Denish has already stepped back on the pit rules for drilling and doesn't support cap and trade in NM.

Posted by: greeneconomynow | May 27, 2010 12:47:28 PM

what has campos done for clean energy? he's a stuffed shirt who takes a nice photo. besides, check out his ethics problems here:


Posted by: oh please | May 27, 2010 12:56:56 PM

Campos is called out as the best candidate in part because he is prepared for the Republican challenge. He has proven that he is battle tested having been targeted by the Republicans in his past legislative races and heavily outspent by his Republican challengers. And as the blogger points out, Campos has done this in a conservative district.

The other candidates have demonstrated the ability to rally support in Albuquerque but it is fair to ask if these Albuquerque candidates really "get it" when it comes to the rest of the state.

Denish needs a running mate that can pull votes statewide and push back the Republican attacks that will be directed at the Dem ticket.

If the voters on June 1 pick one of the Albuquerque candidates, Denish will have to find a way to appeal to voters outside the Albuquerque metroplex.

Posted by: Quarterback | May 27, 2010 1:35:32 PM

Stuart, when you jump from one campaign to another without completing your agreed to obligations you prove to me that I should not trust you. Considering your actions over the last two months I hold all that you have to say here as suspect. I hope that you get more involved and prove yourself before you try to tell the rest of us how to run our lives.
As is mentioned by another respondent, here is an outsider coming in and trying to tell us what we want and how we should get it done.
We got election reform, Texas does not. We have a progressive Democratic party...

Terry Riley

Posted by: Terry Riley | May 27, 2010 1:41:40 PM

I'm pretty sure only a select handful of people consider Campos the "best candidate." Just because Campos drives around the state sticking his signs in the ground does not mean he has support there, it just means he wastes gas cruising around planting signs, kind of like Marty did in the mayor's race. And what happened to Marty? He lost. Signs don't vote, people do, and thats who Colon connects with. Let's also keep in mind, even though Campos pays his campaign manager 10,000 a month, he still needed a technicality to stay on the ballot after convention. So if he is such a great campaigner, where was his support then? And why couldn't he generate support then?

Posted by: Stuart who? | May 27, 2010 1:48:02 PM

If you look carefully, it is clear that Joe is the best candidate. Colon has no real resume and Rael and never held an office or run for election. He is a good manager, but what about the vision and experience that he lacks. Colon's candidacy will hurt the democrats in November. This is clear! You know his connections to politicians and money. that is all he offers! we need to break from the past and provide new leadership that serves our community!

Posted by: paul campos | May 27, 2010 2:11:45 PM

I don't like that Campos voted against the bills to reform the housing authority. I don't like that the jobs he talks about creating in Santa Rosa are mostly at a forprofit prison. He is a nice guy but his record has some question marks.

Posted by: Silver City | May 27, 2010 2:34:22 PM

So let me get this straight: some guy from Texas thinks NM is like Texas was 15 years ago, so we should vote for the guy who is from a place close to Texas, because he thinks more like a Texan. Um, hello? You don't know New Mexico, buster. Not at all. I hardly understand New Mexico sometimes, and I've lived here for 25 years!

It turns out this guy also ran out on another campaign for a better offer. Is that typical Texan behavior? How about for people who live close to Texas? The Texan is writing a guest blog for his candidate, right? How far shall we continue this absurdity?

By the way, NM has never had contribution limits for individuals or companies. $5000 donation limits start in 2012. The Citizens United decision changed nothing in NM state races in this election. You might know that if you'd been around long enough to not embarrass yourself every time you open your mouth.

You criticize Brian Colon for playing the political game using the rules currently in place. That's just competent campaigning! Look at Barack Obama; he raised unprecedented amounts of money from a huge number of people, and he blew McCain out of the water. Of course he was a better candidate in lots of ways, but if he had not raised and spent so much money, we wouldn't have won so big. He might not have won at all. There's nothing wrong with idealism, either. It just doesn't win elections.

FWIW, I liked the cartoon, but you could use exactly the same wording and simply substitute another name, and it might be equally true.

@Paul Campos: Thank you for using your name. I'd be just as passionate in support of my brother if he ran, and it helps me understand your constant boosterism. However, your criticisms of Brian Colon are not credible. What is clear to me is that Mr. Colon beat the pants off of the other candidates in his fundraising. Since when has that ever been a disadvantage? Joe is into his own pocket for $50K in this race, he has at least $50K in loans to repay, and he still can't match Brian Colon's fundraising. I can understand some sour grapes.

Let me tell you what the ability to raise money and spend it wisely buys in an election. It buys effective advertising that doesn't look like it was produced in Lubbock or at the local community-access cable channel. It buys targeted mailings to make enough contacts with actual voters to sway their votes. It doesn't buy yard signs, certainly $10K worth. It doesn't buy robocalls, vile or merely annoying. It doesn't buy Marty Freakin' Chavez's endorsement, or it shouldn't.

That said, money cannot inspire the passionate support of donors and volunteers. Candidates have to do that on their own merits. Mr. Colon's tenure as State Democratic Party Chairman did not just connect him to allegedly corrupt politicians. It connected him to thousands of rank and file Democrats like me all across the state. Remember, Brian ran a 33-county strategy inspired by Howard Dean's 50-state strategy. He made connections all across the state with Democrats who had been ignored for many years. Being connected to lots of people, even powerful ones, is not corrupt, as you imply. It's just a rare political skill, one that none of the other candidates in this race have.

The primary will be over in 5 days. Work hard for your candidates! Passionately support them! But please remember above all that we are Democrats, and we have lots of good candidates. Let's not pretend that a loss by our favorite candidate is the end of the world, or use it as a pretense for a half-hearted effort in the fall. No matter who wins the LG race, Diane Denish, our Congressmen, and all of our fine candidates are going to need all of our hard work to win in the fall.

Posted by: Proud Democrat | May 27, 2010 10:04:50 PM