Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Last Post from 8522 Flower Place
Folks, This is the last of thousands of posts from this house. Barb and I have rented this house since July 1999. It does not seem possible. Barb started this great blog right here. So it is sad for me to write the last post from this internet connection and this house.
As I have said previously I am moving forward with my life. When I saw a FB friend put up an article this morning that Massachusetts has progressed greatly with solar energy installations, it helped me feel I am going in the right direction.
The house here is a total mess, most things packed, most important stuff left out til the final hours. It is with a very heavy heart I leave Abq and NM. I feel as though I am in denial over how big of a deal this really is. Barb and I lived here in NM since 1993. Wow. Barb passed away in this house. I nursed Barb back from many illnesses and her final weeks of life right here in this house. I could go on and on.
The facts are that I have not had full time work since Oct. 2010. I am one of the individuals that has to leave the state. Different from what Rep. Pearce said in his speech to the legislators, I do want to work, and there are no positions, and yes I could pass a pee test. You see Mr Pearce that kind of flippant attitude is toxic, you are no leader, you are a follower of the worse kind. You should not be in office representing people if you lack basic understanding of serious matters facing your constituents.
The economy here in NM is based on federal money. There must be cuts to all programs, ALL. That means the labs and Kirtland and the other bases in the state. The ripple affect of these cuts will be devastating to the NM economy as it is structured now. Imagine even a 5% cut in the monies that are sent to the federal labs and bases.
It is a shame that with proper leadership NM could be the leader in solar energy production, all things solar. This will never happen while all the fossil fuel dinosaurs are still roaming the state. The republicans and some democrats are bought off by the oil and gas industry. Just a fact.
To do a huge solar build out across the state for all public buildings would put hundreds if not thousands to work. Designers/ architects/ contractors on and on all working for a huge effort, and after installed we all would see savings.
Going door to door on my race to be a state representative, there was enthusiasm and positive response no matter party affiliation when talking about solar build out of our jointly owned buildings. We all would save money. We would have people back to work. I could possibly have a good job again right now.
So it is with a heavy heart I leave this great state of NM. I am going to go live with my sister and brother-in-law for a while back in northern Massachusetts. I spent down all I have over these last 28 long months. There are jobs back east. Architectural jobs, private money, stimulating the economy. Solar initiatives, health care, gay marriage, the atlantic ocean, my family, and most importantly jobs.
Don't forget the Hurricane Sandy too. The hurricane blasted through the NE just before the election. The Congress recently voted on funds for the recovery of that area. But not Steve Pearce again, he voted against the funds to help people rebuild their lives. That is the new life being dealt out by the tea party rush limbaugh lovers - Hope nothing bad happens in NM CD2. No fires, no drought, no flooding, because who ever votes Pearce in should also bear no help from the rest of this Country.
So now back to my journey for work, and to get my life on back on track.
There is no money in the hard work of providing this blog. People take it for granted, and the models for earning a low income living doing this blog is still not possible almost 8 years after Barb starting this. The plan is to keep posting, but with no pressure of thinking I have to get the hits up, I have to write more and better, I have to be smarter and wittier, blah blah blah. I am going to go earn money the way I know how to, by working hard on buildings. I will keep posting. Heck I may even turn around when I get to Boston and just drive all the way back, just to keep the pressure on the republicans and democrats that refuse to enter in the 21st century. Who knows where the journey will lead. I want no regrets, I want no resentments, I want to be part of the solution not part of the problem.
Carpe Diem with love
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Democrats Deliver on Jobs for NM - Agreement Should Clear Spaceport America for Takeoff
Democrats showing this NM Legislature 60 day session will not be business as usual. The leaders of both Houses are immediately addressing matters to get jobs going in this State. No waiting for 60 days to act on matters that are needed today. Let's hope Gov. Martinez steps right up too, and signs the coming legislation.
Democrats were swept into office in November on a promise to focus on creating good jobs for New Mexico, and it's a promise we are working hard to keep.
Today Democrats in the legislature announced an agreement to keep the Spaceport on track to become a major economic boon for New Mexico!
Video and Statements below are from the NM Senate Dems
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D) Valencia & Bernalillo, District 29, and House Speaker Ken Martinez (D) Bernalillo, Cibola, McKinley, Socorro, San Juan, Valencia District 69, announced today that Virgin Galactic and New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association have reached an agreement regarding proposed legislation for Spaceport America. At the urging of Majority Leader Sanchez and Speaker Martinez, the two sides resolved their differences regarding liability issues.
Without the legislation, proponents argued that Virgin Galactic and potential occupants of the Spaceport would favor other states with limited-liability laws. The New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association expressed concern that limiting liability would protect manufacturers who produced substandard parts without fear of consequences. The Trial Lawyers advocate for consumers and public safety.
More than $200 million has already been invested in the facility located near Truth or Consequences.
“Too much has been invested by both the state and Virgin Galactic to abandon this project,” said Majority Leader Sanchez. “The potential economic benefits for New Mexico demanded that serious negotiations be conducted to get beyond the impasse. It is in New Mexico’s best interests that the Spaceport project moves forward quickly, with as much consumer protection as possible.”
At the request of the two legislative leaders, representatives from Virgin Galactic and NM Trial Lawyers Association have reached an agreement.
“This agreement is the result of many months of hard work,” said Speaker Martinez. “We encouraged both parties to sit face-to-face and work through their differences. Since they each had valid points, compromise was the only solution.
“They should be proud of the work they have accomplished for New Mexico.”
The proposed legislation will mirror the laws of Colorado and Florida that limit the liability of operators, manufacturers, and suppliers. An important addition is a requirement that each entity maintain liability insurance in order to qualify under the Act.
The proposed legislation, based on the agreement, is currently being drafted. It is expected that the bill will be introduced within the next several days.
“I am very happy that we can move this issue forward and begin a clear path to getting the Spaceport up and running,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen, (D) Dona Ana, District 38, who sponsored a bill last year to limit liability. “Many people in southern New Mexico, as well as the rest of the state, are excited to see this get going.”
Monday, January 21, 2013
Eric Griego, President Obama, Martin Luther King
Today January 21, 2013, just another day in the billions of years this planet has been spinning in the universe. The sun will came up and the sun will go down. The sun will rise tomorrow. I find comfort in this regular knowledge.
This weekend one of our own leaders within our NM progressive community had his family stricken with senseless tragic violence. Eric Griego, Abq City Councilor, NM State Senator and former Congressional candidate for CD1 had his brother killed and his sister in law, and two of his nephews and a niece killed by their brother. Five of Eric's family are gone. The tragedy, hearing about this tragedy made me cry. I cried and cried. I wrote this yesterday after hearing this horrible information:
The sadness of loss and the depth of despair is an interesting journey. Today I found out that one of our progressive leaders Eric Griego had the ultimate tragedy hit his family. Sudden violent ends to his brother and his sister in law and nephews and nieces. Gone. Gone from the planet as we know them. My heart is broken. My heart is broken for the loss and pain for my brother Eric and his family. It comes to me in this moment of loss in our small community here in NM how much I love Eric and so many others. How this day will be a changing epic day for the rest of Eric’s life and all that love Eric and his family's life. Eric is a fighter for the underdog. He does not spend time dwelling in the world of the haves. If only his nephew had reached out to all the programs Eric has supported and kept alive. But no this young man could reach out to one thing that was handy in those hours and minutes, a gun. There is a fearlessness when we lose someone this close. A desire to hold on to life and work extra hard, or to let go of life. A fearless Eric Griego is exactly what this planet and NM and us livers needs right now. It is a painful tragic way to get there but it is what we need. We must not be succumbed with the mundane of life we must be fully engaged in the world of the living. We are our brothers keepers. I love you Eric and I love what you fight for. Healing fearless loving energy coming your way.
Inauguration day, the President took his oath of office today. He looked nervous to me, he looked like he is aware of the challenges ahead. His speech was great. To hear the President talk about climate change, gays and lesbians, the poor among us, the troubles that our country and indeed the world has, the end of war, the valor of peace. Together we can do this, together, together together.
MLK birthday too. Wow, what another man, one man that can move many. In the face of negative and pessimism, hostility, hate, violence. A MLK quote: We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
Personally I do not have much time these days to write posts, or follow things that keep this blog alive and active. I too am following my life's path. After running for the State Representative seat here in District 30, and not succeeding but learning much, I am following a new path a new journey. I spent months talking real and listening to people at every door that people would open and discussing there worries, hopes and fears. I really saw and believed that we can change things, together. My desire to help others is still very much alive but I must first help myself by getting full time employment. After losing my livelihood and then my partner, I am finding myself.
We never know where our journey will lead us. When we will be taken off this planet, when we will be shaken up in our day to day existence without any warning at all. It is at these trying times that we are the best of being human, hold on, hold on together. Carpe diem with love.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Representative Miguel Garcia Seeks To Close Gun Show Loopholes
On Wednesday Jan. 16th, Rep. Miguel Garcia (D-Bernalillo 14), once again filed a bill seeking to close dangerous Gun Show loopholes that allow guns to fall into the wrong hands and endanger the lives of New Mexicans. House Bill 77 requires background checks through the Department of Public Safety at gun shows, as well as for private transfers. Representative Garcia has previously filed similar legislation and in light of recent events is mindful of the heightened awareness surrounding gun reform issues, and is grateful to shine a light on these dangerous loopholes.
House Bill 77 seeks to:
- Create background checks by the Department of Public Safety prior to the transfer of firearms.
- Establish a procedure and funding for background checks
- Address private transfers and transfers at gun shows
- Create immunity from civil liability for lawful gun sales
- Provide exclusions from the requirements of the Firearms Transfer Act
- Impose criminal penalties for violations of the Firearms Transfer Act
Representative Garcia said regarding House Bill 77, “Our Wild West days are over. Our Wild Bill Cody and Annie Oakley days are over. Our legislation will require background checks for the mentally and criminally adjudicated at Gun Shows in New Mexico, and for a private individual purchases. These checks will help curb the flow of readily available guns and assault weapons to individuals most capable of inflicting needless injury and fatality to innocent and law abiding residents of New Mexico.”
Closing the Gun Show Loopholes and requiring background checks through a New Mexico Department of Public Safety hotline will help ensure guns do not end up in the hands of fugitives of the law, felons, the mentally ill, individuals with substance abuse issues, those dishonorably discharged from military service and individuals convicted of domestic abuse. Common-sense background checks will help provide for the safety of all New Mexicans while still respecting the second amendment and allowing law abiding citizens to purchase firearms.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez Delivers Democratic State of the State Response: 2013
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez delivered the following Dem response to the Gov State of the State speech. This was delivered on January 15, 2013, the first day of the 2013 Legislature. Note, video of speech is at the end of post. Thank you to NMinFocus for video.
New Mexico just concluded our Centennial year – 100 years of statehood in the United States of America. In fact, today marks the inauguration of our first governor as a state.
Then, like now, New Mexicans chose a divided government, though at the time the tables were turned. The new Democratic governor faced a Republican-controlled legislature; yet, they came together to grow New Mexico far beyond what anyone at the time could have imagined.
In his first inaugural address, our first Democratic governor outlined a vision for our new state where fair taxation and quality public education would bring prosperity to its citizens. Coming together, Republicans and Democrats laid a foundation for a new state. We are challenged to finish the work they began. For most of the past 100 years, we have succeeded in living up to that challenge.
But few of us were in the mood to celebrate in the past year. New Mexicans are hurting.While our neighbors in states like Nevada and Colorado are getting back to work, our family and friends in New Mexico continue to lose their jobs. In the past year alone, more than 4800 New Mexican workers – almost 100 a week - lost their jobs, along with the dignity that comes from working.
By the time this new legislative session ends 60 days from now, more than 700 more New Mexico families will have joined the ranks of the unemployed.
The legislature’s attempt to stimulate our economy and create jobs was frustrated by the governor last year when she vetoed more than 190 local projects – and the jobs that come with them - from a bi-partisan capital outlay bill.
But avoiding a veto is no guarantee that signed legislation will be implemented. This administration has stalled the construction of a much-needed substance abuse treatment center for women and children that the legislature appropriated last year. Although the project was not vetoed with the other capital outlay projects, the administration has refused to authorize the sale of $5 million in bonds for the project. We encourage the governor to show her commitment to the serious issue of alcohol and substance abuse by moving this project forward.
Her actions and inactions have failed to provide opportunities to address a devastating problem and generate support for the comprehensive middle-class job growth New Mexico needs.
A comprehensive approach to putting people back to work must focus on the majority of everyday New Mexicans who have not and will not benefit from corporate tax breaks. That’s why Democrats are proposing a comprehensive jobs package that raises the statewide minimum wage, expands tax credits for Working Families, and ensures that it is never cheaper for an out-of-state company to do business in New Mexico than it is for our neighbors who built our Main Streets.
Any plan to put people back to work cannot begin and end with tax breaks that benefit non-New Mexican companies more than our homegrown Mom and Pop shops.
In the last session, the legislature passed a bi-partisan bill that lowered the corporate tax rate and leveled the playing field for New Mexico small businesses. Under the bill, all out-of-state corporations would pay the same taxes as their New Mexico competitors. It eliminated the loophole that allowed “big box” out-of-state companies to avoid paying New Mexican taxes.
Sadly, the governor vetoed that legislation as well. But we will not give up. Democrats will continue to try to get the governor’s signature so that local businesses are better able to compete with national corporations.
But building a more attractive business climate for New Mexico takes more than tax breaks. It takes providing sufficient water to meet the demands of a growing economy. Water has always been a scarce resource in our state. With the most recent lawsuit filed by Texas, we must work together to preserve our agricultural traditions while allowing us to grow into the future. This is not a partisan issue. It is a New Mexican issue that affects all of us and future generations.
In addition to having adequate resources, CEOs considering to relocate here look at the ability of our schools to teach their children and train future workers. The owners of homegrown businesses expect nothing less.
Democrats understand that there is a connection between tax cuts for the rich and low performing schools for the poor. The choice to expand tax giveaways for the rich comes at the expense of funding our schools and training tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.
Every student should have the opportunity to succeed in a New Mexico school. But educating our children does not begin on their first day in a classroom. Studies have proven that the first five years of a child’s life are critical in their development. So we will again sponsor legislation to fully fund Pre-K education from the state’s permanent school fund so that we don’t wait on our children to reach third grade before we provide them help.
The path to success also includes training and preparing the teachers who will instill in our children the knowledge to succeed. New Mexico will need 2400 more teachers by 2020. But we can’t recruit those teachers if we continue to insist they spend more time testing than teaching and blame them for all of our problems.
My wife, Lynn, is a public school teacher. Let me tell you, it is no easy task being a teacher. It is no fun to clean up after a sick child nor is it easy to counsel the victim of a bus stop bully. The challenges of our students are as unique as they are, and our teachers need the flexibility and resources to address each and every one properly.
Unfortunately, we have cut millions from our classrooms, resulting in fewer teachers, lower salaries and larger classes – none of which are a part of any formula for success. A recent report by New Mexico Voices for Children showed that cuts to education have been among the deepest in the country since 2011 – yet another list New Mexico should never be on.
While the governor’s budget returns some money to education, little of this new money will end up in our classrooms where it belongs. We propose a different direction that protects a parent’s right to have a voice in their children’s education and a teacher's opportunity to teach to the student, not to the test. That’s why in previous years we have resisted plans to let out-of-state consultants and appointed political bureaucrats interject their judgment for that of parents and professional educators.
We also know that our children can’t succeed if they are too sick to learn. Today, more than 150,000 New Mexicans –including 50,000 children- go without affordable access to the most basic health care. But last week, the governor took an important step towards closing that gap by granting conditional approval for an expansion of Medicaid to cover our poorest neighbors.
Expanding Medicaid was the right decision for New Mexico. In addition to ensuring access to health care for our most vulnerable neighbors, the new health care jobs generated are equivalent to adding an entirely new national lab – not an insignificant fact as federal investment in our labs continues to shrink. But those who will rely on Medicaid cannot count on conditional healthcare. Nor can the new health care workers we will train. The federal government has made a commitment to fund the expansion and we should do the same for those who will soon count on it.
The political climate in Santa Fe today is much different than 101 years ago today. Though Republicans and Democrats had spent decades fighting over statehood, once achieved, the Republican legislature and Democratic governor came together to do what was right for the new-New Mexico.
New Mexico has grown impatient with partisan battles in both Washington and Santa Fe. Last year was the least productive session since 1976. Just 77 bills were passed, and 13 of those were vetoed. New Mexico has spent the past two years marred down in the political back-and-forth that has also enveloped Washington. Predictably, the results are the same. We challenge the governor and our legislative colleagues on the right to set aside partisan attitudes and move quickly to put New Mexicans back to work.
For two years we have made numerous attempts to compromise to reform our drivers’ license system. No doubt, there are those who will continue to prefer playing politics with the issue instead of fixing it. Democrats are not among them and will, once again, offer a hand in compromise to resolve this issue. While many have argued for years that New Mexico was alone, or nearly so, in issuing licenses to non-citizens, the tide is turning – in no small part to DREAM Act-type legislation by President Obama permitting undocumented children to come out of the shadows without fear of deportation to a country they have never known. To date, at least a half-dozen states have announced plans to do so and many more are considering it. It is time to settle this issue in New Mexico once and for all and Democrats are prepared to do it.
Focusing on divisive wedge issues does nothing to address the serious challenges we face, including job creation, pension solvency and school safety.
The heroic sacrifices of educators in Newtown can never be repaid, but it shows just why no investment in education yields bad returns. But our teachers should never be asked to be soldiers in our schools.
Our state has a proud heritage of gun ownership but that heritage has always included a duty for those who choose to own a firearm to do so responsibly. There will, no doubt, be spirited debate on this issue in the coming weeks, and there are some common sense proposals which deserve consideration by those on both sides of the issue. But, each conversation should begin and end with a consideration for how it will prevent the tragedies we have seen in Aurora, Virginia Tech and, now, Newtown, from occurring in Los Lunas, Jal or NMSU.
Finally, no one goes into public service with the goal of getting rich. However, no one should expect that their salaries will decrease. For the last five years, public servants have suffered cuts in their take-home pay to balance the budget. Now as we recover, we need to stop that trend.
Our teachers have also answered our call to help ride out the economic downturn. It is not too much to expect that teachers who taught and tended to our children for 25 or 30 years will receive the pension we promised them when they first signed on. That was the contract and we have a responsibility to keep it. That’s why we will make pension solvency a top priority of this legislature for all of our public servants, be they educators who teach our children, police officers who protect our homes or license clerks in the MVD.
That first governor, speaking in his first inaugural address 101 years ago said this of the politics of the time and of times to come: “As we look into the future, bright hopes of promise appear to some, and dark forebodings may dim the horizon of others. The past is history; the present is the dawn of the future. It is to the future we look and that future will be what we make it.”
We could not agree more. The present is the dawn of the future. Like our predecessors a century before us, we have weathered hard times and are ready for a more prosperous future. Where some see a bleak future for growth and revitalization, we see a chance to reinvest in our middle class and Main Streets. When our grandchildren’s children look back on us a 100 years from now, let us be sure that they see this year as the one where we recommitted to the vision of fair taxes, equal opportunity and strong public education on which our state was founded a century ago.
 https://www.jobs.state.nm.us/admin/gsipub/htmlarea/uploads/lmrnov12.pdf , p.12
 https://www.jobs.state.nm.us/admin/gsipub/htmlarea/uploads/lmrnov12.pdf , p. 9
Video above is from NMinFocus Youtube Channel. Thank you NM in Focus!
Friday, January 11, 2013
Governor's Plan For Jobs = Epic Fail
It's Arithmetic: Governor's plan to create four times the jobs with half the budget reveals predictable results
REPORT: Other states took opposite result and added jobs ASAP
As New Mexico struggles to explain its unrelenting job loss problem, the budget for the state’s only agency tasked with recruiting business was slashed in half, a recipe Governor Martinez and her economic development team believed would spur four times the job growth previously achieved, a report by ProgressNow New Mexico Education reveals.
On paper, Martinez set an expected outcome of 2,200 jobs created by the New Mexico Partnership – a non-profit business recruitment agency funded by the Economic Development Department. This was more than four times the number of jobs created by the agency in the previous year and the largest component, in terms of job creation, of her Economic Development Department.
But records show that while promising impressive job growth from the Partnership, she cut the budget for the department by more than 46% - almost half – while expecting it to perform four times greater than the previous year. Predictably, the agency created just 1/3 of the jobs she promised.
By contrast, Nevada and Colorado added investments to their business recruitment programs at the same time– almost doubling the budget in Nevada – and realized growth for the first time in years.
“This report is a cautionary tale for decision makers. It begs us to look closely at promises by this administration when it comes to job creation. We can’t permit them to give the unemployed hope for new jobs coming if there is no real commitment to follow through,” says Pat Davis of Progress Now NM Education.
“This administration has adopted a fatalistic approach to job creation. They claim that government can’t grow jobs and business doesn’t want to move here. Then they slash the funding of any agency looking to prove otherwise. It makes no sense, but it’s our reality.”
Read the full report at ProgressNowNM.org/blog.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
NM Telegram Legislative Session Fundraiser
Please consider contributing to NM Telegram. Open up the link, see the great info NM Telegram is providing. Matt does great work, for next to nothing in funds. We need good coverage of this very important legislative session. Matt has been covering the Leg session for 5 years. I can attest that Matt truly relays the information coming from the session main stream media will not touch.
Democracy for NM blog here will be relying on Matt's coverage. Look people no one can work for free. Can you work for free?
Cong. Pearce and NM GOP Mislead Public & Victims Regarding Violence Against Women Act Vote
Earlier today, women and advocates representing a diverse group of proud New Mexicans gathered at the New Mexico Republican Party headquarters to call upon Republican Congressman Steve Pearce to support a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act that provides protections for every victim of domestic, dating and sexual abuse - including children, immigrants, Native Americans and LGBT persons.
After the press conference and launch of a public petition at StevePearce.us, Mr. Pearce and the New Mexico GOP both released statements accusing those women and ProgressNow New Mexico of misleading the public because Mr. Pearce voted for a House bill in the last session whose only similarity to the VAWA was the substitute title they created for it.
Efforts by Mr. Pearce and the NMGOP only serve to dissuade the media from covering this issue which has brought renewed public attention and pressure on Mr. Pearce to part from his extreme positions against vulnerable New Mexicans.
Here are the facts:
- The US Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act (S. 1925) by a bi-parisan 68-31 margin on April 21, 2012. That bill ensured that no victim of sexual, dating or domestic abuse would be denied the protection of prosecution and aid provided under the VAWA. The House Republican caucus refused to hear such a bill.
- Instead, in May, the Republican caucus crafted their own bill which had no chance of passing and gave it a similar name. It blocked any protections for Native Americans, LGBT persons or immigrants, among others - even if the victim was a child. That bill had no chance of passing or being signed by the President. New Mexico's other Congressmen voted against such a bill and have called, appropriately, for the new Congress to quickly take up the proper bill protecting all victims.
Today, Mr. Pearce further insulted victims, and especially those in New Mexico's precious pueblos, immigrant and LGBT communities, by again asserting that he sees different classes of victims. To Pearce and his colleagues, some victims are "legitimate" while others, including innocent children in those special communities, are simply left to fend for themselves at the hand of their abuser. It is disgraceful that Pearce would turn his back on those constituents and that the New Mexico GOP would come to his defense.
Since noon today, more than 500 persons have used the petition StevePearce.us to call on him to back the version of the VAWA that protects every victim of abuse without regard to ethnicity, sexual orientation or family history.
Friday, January 04, 2013
Lujan Grisham Appointed to House Budget Committee and Elected President of the Democratic Freshman Class of the 113th Congress
A warm congratulations to Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham for her swearing into the 113th Congress that occured yesterday.
Two press releases from Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham:
Today, U.S. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) announced she won a prized seat on the House Budget Committee.
“I worked hard to get on the Budget Committee to ensure that the first district receives the investments it needs. With the fiscal challenges continuing, the committee is crucial to deciding whether we will invest our way out of this recovery or we will cut our way out. I will work to develop and implement budget choices that reflect our priorities and values; get people back to work; and ensure a bright future for our children. That starts with strong investments in health care, education, and energy, as well as infrastructure. I look forward to working with Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen from Maryland and all the members of the Budget committee.”
The Budget Committee is responsible for developing the annual budget resolution which sets forth the levels of spending, revenue, the deficit or surplus, and public debt. The budget resolution also creates parameters within which Congress can consider legislation dealing with spending and revenue. The Budget Committee impacts all issues from Defense and Veterans Affairs’ to Education and Health Care policy.
Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) represents all of Torrance County parts of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe, and Valencia Counties. She additionally serves on the House Committee on Agriculture in the 113th Congress.
Also this exciting news was sent out by the Congresswoman:
Today, Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) was elected by her fellow freshman Democratic members to serve as President of their Freshman Class for the second session of the 113th Congress. Rep. Lujan Grisham was the only female elected to be Class President.As President of the Democratic Freshman Class, Rep. Lujan Grisham will work with her freshman colleagues and House Democratic leadership to formulate policy agendas and legislative priorities. She will also serve as a representative to House Leadership on behalf of her freshman classmates. “I’m excited to take on this leadership position,” said Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “I am so proud of the Freshman Class. We come to this institution at a challenging time, but I know we are ready and looking to ensure it responds to the needs of the American people once again. I will work with my colleagues and our leadership team to make sure we are unified in our commitment to addressing the priorities of middle class families – from Social Security and Medicare to education and rising health care costs.”
Senators Introduce Rules Resolution to Restore Senate Debate and Accountability
Press release from Senator Udall's office:
U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) today introduced a resolution to enact meaningful Senate rules reforms that would end filibuster abuse and restore debate to the chamber.
In accordance with Article 1, section 5 of the Constitution, a majority of senators have the power to adopt or amend the operating rules of the chamber at the beginning of a new Congress, a procedure known as the Constitutional Option. Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced the Senate will remain in the first legislative day of the 113th Congress after the Senate reconvenes on Jan. 22 to allow debate on the rules reforms.
The unprecedented abuse of the filibuster and other procedural rules has resulted in endless gridlock on legislation and the consideration of nominations, which made the 112th Congress one of the most unproductive of all time. The trio’s proposed reforms would protect the rights of the minority while expediting the consideration of legislation and nominations.
“We have the power to change the Senate from being a graveyard for good ideas, to an institution that can respond effectively to the challenges facing our nation,” said Udall. “Our proposal is simple, limited and fair. We make reasonable changes to nominations and conference committees and do away with the status quo of stealth and silent filibusters that prevents the Senate from getting its work done.”
”These last two years have created an unprecedented sense among the American people that Congress isn’t measuring up to the needs of our time,” Merkley said. “The filibuster, once used only on issues of personal principle, is now used as an instrument of partisan politics. It hurts our ability to take on the big challenges we face as Americans. And we need to fix it. We must put an end to the secret, silent filibuster that is haunting the Senate.”
“The abuse of the filibuster in recent years has fundamentally changed the character of the Senate and our entire system of government,” said Harkin. “While I believe that a majority of the people’s representatives should be able to act, at the very least, if the right to filibuster is going to be maintained, Senators should have to actually make arguments, debate, and deliberate. Senators should have to obstruct in public, and be held accountable for that obstructionism.”
A key component of the senators’ proposal is the “talking filibuster.”
Today, a senator can filibuster legislation or a nominee with a simple phone call. This raises the threshold for the Senate to debate a bill, or confirm a nominee, from a simple majority to three-fifths of the Senate, and the senator is not required to publicly state his or her objection. The proposed reforms will require a senator to speak on the floor in order to filibuster, greatly increasing public accountability and requiring time and energy if the minority wants to use this tool to obstruct the Senate.
To illustrate why the rules must be reformed, the senators point to the skyrocketing use of the filibuster in recent decades as a tool of the minority party to block votes on legislation, judicial vacancies and presidential appointees. Since its inception, use of the cloture vote has evolved from a rarity, perhaps seven or eight times during a congressional session, to what is now the standard of business in the Senate. Since 2006, the filibuster has been used almost 400 times.
The rules reform package includes four provisions that would do the following:
- Eliminate the Filibuster on Motions to Proceed: Clears a path to debate by making motions to proceed not subject to a filibuster, but providing two hours of debate.
- Require a Talking Filibuster: Forces Senators who filibuster to actually speak on the floor, greatly increasing public accountability and requiring time and energy if the minority wants to use this tool to obstruct the Senate.
- Expedite Nominations: Reduces post-cloture debate on nominations from 30 hours to 2 hours, except for Supreme Court Justices (for whom the current 30 hours would remain intact).
- Eliminate the Filibuster on Motions to Establish a Conference Committee: Reduces the steps to establish a conference committee from three motions to one, and limits debate the consolidated motion to 2 hours.
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
New Year's Guest Blog by Roxanne Lara
I love New Year’s Day. It is nostalgic and hopeful all at the same time. When I was young, my parents went to New Year's Eve parties and I always went to sleep knowing that I would wake with a glittery paper hat and a noisemaker leftover from their night before. Then we would spend the day taking down decorations, watching the Rose Parade and making resolutions. As I grew older and earned my own glittery hat and noisemaker, some things didn't change. New Year's Day continued to be a day saved for family traditions and resolutions. A day to plan moving forward while remembering the past.
I spent most of 2012 working with my friends to get President Obama reelected and Senator-elect Heinrich moved from the House to the Senate. We spent hours in hard-fought races for congressional districts, legislative and judicial seats and local government positions. We called, we walked, we rallied and we put up signs. We registered voters and made food. Like many NM Democrats who took time off work, I took time away from my law practice to promote our candidates, not just in my home county of Eddy but all over the state. Then, in November, we celebrated, we laughed and we cried. And I would do it all again because I believe in our democracy. I believe in the strength we have in our state, the people of New Mexico and a brighter future. I believe in a future which does not rank NM near bottom in poverty and education; where our cultures and communities not only compliment but support each other; and where government leaders engage in constructive debate to reach the best result for all of us. So in planning for 2013, I am taking action on my beliefs and running for Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.
I was born and raised in Carlsbad and I feel so fortunate that I have been able to build a successful small business as a lawyer in my hometown. But my passion is the work I have been able to do for my community. I just completed a term as County Commissioner and served this past year as Chair, representing Eddy County in many different venues. My experience in local government and grassroots politics has confirmed to me that politics really are local. Locally, Democrats are recruiting and encouraging candidates for every level of government. They are getting out the vote and digging deep to donate the financial resources needed for their candidates, causes and charities.
DPNM is the single entity that has the ability to lift, support and bring together the efforts of Democrats statewide. As chair, I will never forget that communicating our values positively as well as calling out the actions and inactions of those hurting NM are vital steps to improving the lives of New Mexicans all over the state. I will use my experience in fighting and standing up for constituents as an elected official to fight for all of us. Being from a rural community has taught me that we need to make our voices heard and not wait for someone to do it for us. We need to harness the power of every vehicle available to convey those messages, including mainstream and social medias. I will stand strong and confident for our values while working to strengthen our alliances with all groups and communities because I am firm in my belief of inclusivity of all Democrats—no matter who you are or where you live.
I have been listening to Democrats all over our state and I can feel their hunger for taking our party to the next level. I have heard great ideas and hopes for the future of the party. I know that we cannot implement many of those great ideas unless we can fund them. Yet, I know we cannot support the infrastructure and institution of our party unless there is money in our bank. That is why, as your chair, I will implement a comprehensive fundraising strategy, involving both traditional and innovative approaches. The state central committee is a team and every member of the team is a valuable player in advancing the party. I will seek strength and support from our team in establishing a long-range plan for our party.
As we look toward 2013 and the future of NM, I am excited about what we can do together as a team. Understanding the hard work ahead of us, I take off my glittery paper hat (but I hang onto the noisemaker) and roll up my sleeves because this year, I resolve to be an effective leader for the Democratic Party of New Mexico, setting and surpassing goals with our team.