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Monday, September 13, 2010

Denish/Colón Team Stumps for Water Rights in Northern New Mexico

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A report from contributing writer Stephen Jones, who traveled from Las Cruces to Taos to cover this event.

A huge crowd met Diane Denish and Brian Colón, the Democratic nominees for Governor and Lt. Governor in northern New Mexico on Sunday. Denish and Colón took their campaign north to address an enthusiastic overflow rally at the Sagebrush Inn at Taos. The gathering centered on issues of water and other natural resources both in the north and throughout New Mexico. 

“Without water our communities cannot survive,” proclaimed Denish. “At the same time we are fighting for our children’s future in education, we must fight for our natural resources,” she said. To the Taos community, specifically, she said, “I am on your side. I believe, together, we can make a difference.”

At issue are concerns for New Mexico’s water and other natural resources and, specifically, a resumption of Texas’ designs on those resources. New Mexico and Texas have a long history of fighting for water rights. High on the list of charges against the Republican ticket is the $500,000 campaign donation by Bob Perry, a Texas multi-millionaire who has bankrolled numerous right-wing politicians in Texas. 

“We know a Texas billionaire isn’t contributing a half of a million dollars because he wants good government,” Brian Colón said, “It’s a down payment on our futures. We’re not going to let him have that deal,” Colón said.

“There’s no one who knows more about this issue,” said Patricia Madrid, a former New Mexico Attorney General, referring to Denish. Madrid blocked a previous attempt by Texas to acquire New Mexico water rights. “I fought this fight before in the courts and won it,” Madrid said. She warned voters against empowering renewed designs on New Mexico’s resources from the Lone Star state.

“We don’t want to be sold down the river to Texas,” declared State Senator Mary Jane Garcia, whose district encompasses much of Dona Ana County in southern New Mexico. “We understand your concerns. We have the same concerns in southern New Mexico,” Garcia said. Other speakers joined the call to protect our natural resources. “Our lands and water are not for sale,” said Ray Powell, candidate for Public Land Commissioner. State Auditor Hector Balderas urged voters to rise to the call and help Democrats win in November. “Victory is right there in our hands,” he said.

The Taos event was hosted by Trudy Valerio-Healy and co-hosted by nearly a thousand other endorsers who came together as We Are New Mexico. “There would have been a lot more,” Valerio-Healy said, “but we only had three weeks.” 

In her remarks, Valerio-Healy touched on the historic water management of the Acequias, the critical system of waterways and irrigation canals that have fed historic agricultural regions in arid New Mexico, and questioned the Republican commitment to preserving equitable water planning. In a statement distributed in a printed handout, Valerio-Healy said, “Our ancestors have protected our water, our Acequias, for centuries. Now it is our turn. Can we really afford to put the future of this sustenance in the hands of someone that would take almost half a million dollars from a Texan with a history of manipulative politics?”

Diane Denish echoed the concerns of Valerio-Healy in her remarks on the protection of water and other natural resources, and stressed smart planning. “We have so much to learn from the Acequia system, and from centuries of leadership in water from northern New Mexico,” she said. 

Denish also contrasted her family history with that of her opponent. “My family came here over eighty years ago to educate and to create jobs,” Denish said. The Democratic nominee’s grandparents were school teachers and small business owners. Denish is a native of Hobbs, New Mexico in southeastern New Mexico. Susana Martinez, the GOP nominee is a Texas native.

Denish also contrasted their styles. “We’re not in this for the flash and dash, we’re in this for hard work,” Denish said, “You don’t want a rock star, you want a governor.” Besides water management, Denish hammered at her commitment to public education and support for college and other higher education “to guarantee good jobs that stay in New Mexico.”

Mayor Darren Cordova of Taos welcomed the speakers to what he termed “the enchanted circle” of the Taos region. Among other elected officials at the event were Congressman Ben Ray Luján, whose district includes the Taos community, and Appellate Judge Robert Robles.

All photos by Stephen Jones. To see more posts by Jones, visit our archives.

September 13, 2010 at 01:03 AM in 2010 NM Governor's Race, Brian Colon, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Diane Denish, Taos, Water Issues | Permalink


You people are up to your old ways up North, I see. You have to make up a total LIE about Martinez' family having anything to do with the water dispute with Texas in order create all this hysteria and get people remotely excited about the Denish/Colon ticket. That's OK, all you are doing is attracting the same flies to the same Democrat feces.


I hope Trudy has a good lawyer for defaming Martinez and her family. Knowing her, she probably made a cozy deal with Denish to get another appointment. How's that for pay to play?

Posted by: Norteno | Sep 13, 2010 6:13:34 AM

Working with or around Susana at the DA's office we have ALWAYS heard Susana refer to herself as a TEXAN. She's proud of it! So what good does that do for New Mexico?

Posted by: Stop.lying.susana | Sep 13, 2010 7:43:13 AM

Mr. Norteno who is probably from Las Cruces: You can make accusations about "pay to play" but I want you to answer what you think $500,000 from Texan sleazebag Bob Perry would buy from Martinez? Why would anyone who claims to be honest be taking that much cash from someone who isn't even a New Mexican?

Susana's loyalty is to Texas not NM and certainly not Northern NM. She was born in Texas, raised in Texas, went to school in Texas and now is taking big money from Texas. What do you think that means?

Posted by: Real Norteno | Sep 13, 2010 11:44:05 AM

Attorney Helen Laura Lopez attended this rally and told Monahan this:

"If there was any doubt about the Hispano North supporting Diane Denish, it was quashed in Taos on Sunday. Over 500 people were at the Sagebrush Inn where she unveiled a powerful push. It was not just the number but the who-- virtually every political leader and party leader was present to show unwavering enthusiasm for the Lt Governor."

"Diane delivered a heartfelt enthusiastic speech that had the crowd standing. If people think she is on the quiet side, they should have seen her in Taos. Senator Mary Jane Garcia gave the keynote. Senator Carlos Cisneros gave a classic political speech in Spanish. Taos Mayor Darren Cordova opened the event. The entire Taos Town Council was there to support Diane."

"Leaders from Truchas, Espanola, Las Vegas, Mora and Questa were there. Unlike Susana Martinez's event at the Sagebrush, which attracted a lot of tourists from the Inn, Diane had Nortenos there. It is always classic New Mexico politics when Taos Democrats turn out. The gathering was sponsored by Ed and Trudy Healy from Arroyo Hondo."

So much for Susana's big support in the North.

Posted by: Taoseno | Sep 14, 2010 9:50:40 PM