Thursday, September 06, 2012

New Mexico’s School Funding Cuts among the Nation’s Deepest

From NM Voices for Children: Cuts hurt economy in short- and long-term.

New Mexico ranks 16th worst in the country in terms of how deeply school funding has been cut since the start of the recession. These cuts put the state’s economy and long-term prosperity in jeopardy.

Investment in K-12 schools is almost 11 percent below 2008 levels, which means New Mexico has made deeper cuts than 34 other states, according to a report released Tuesday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-partisan policy research organization based in Washington, D.C.

“These cuts have undermined our ability to educate New Mexico’s children and there will be consequences for the state’s economy,” said Veronica Garcia, Ed.D., Executive Director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “Good schools and an educated workforce foster economic growth.”

The recession caused state revenue to decline sharply. But instead of addressing budget shortfalls by taking a balanced approach that includes new revenues, New Mexico relied very heavily on cuts to state services, including education.

The loss of federal emergency financial aid to states and school districts has contributed to education cuts as well. Federal dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Education Jobs Fund helped states limit education cuts initially, but the aid largely expired at the end of Fiscal Year 2011, leaving states to deal with education funding shortfalls on their own.

New Mexico’s K-12 education cuts hurt the state’s economy in the short- and long-term. The cuts have extended the recession by causing both public- and private-sector job losses, slowing the pace of economic recovery. The funding cuts have forced school districts throughout the state to lay off teachers and support staff, reduce pay for the remaining staff, and cancel contracts with private businesses.

Reducing investment in schools also has long-term economic consequences. A strong education system is essential to creating and maintaining a thriving economy. Businesses need a well-educated workforce, and education cuts undermine the state’s ability to produce workers with the skills needed to compete in a global economy.

“Across much of the country, kids are going back to school to find more crowded classrooms, and – in some cases – shorter school weeks,” said Phil Oliff, policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and author of the report. “That’s no way to develop our future workforce and build a strong economy.”

The Center’s full report can be found by following this link.

September 6, 2012 at 01:34 PM in Children and Families, Education, Youth | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Their View: A Simple Solution to an Urgent Problem

Following is an Op-Ed by Rep. Moe Maestas, the op-ed was seen in the Las Cruces Sun-News today.

Moe maestasAntonio "Moe" Maestas represents District 16 in the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Every now and then we are presented with an easy opportunity to solve a problem. When a simple solution presents itself the choice is easy. It's typically called a "no-brainer." Governor Susana Martinez has been presented with just that.

The problem to be solved: an ever growing number of New Mexicans, many of them working full-time, cannot afford health insurance. Our uninsured population ranks second-highest in the nation, making this one of our state's most urgent and critical problems. Tens of thousands of New Mexicans do not have access to decent affordable health care.

A recent Families USA report entitled "Dying for Coverage: The Deadly Consequences of Being Uninsured," used methodology developed by the Institute of Medicine to calculate that between 2005 and 2010, over 1,400 New Mexicans died prematurely because they did not have health insurance. Many others hold on desperately by turning to our crowded emergency rooms, and subsequently, health insurance rates continue to rise for everyone else as hospitals and insurance companies pass on those costs. The broken system of expensive and unpaid emergency room visits translates into $2,300 per year tacked on in higher premiums charged by private insurance companies to those who do have insurance.

Expanding Medicaid would enable over 150,000 hard-working New Mexicans to access preventative doctor visits and allow doctors to focus on health care outcomes rather than reactive treatment. In addition, infusing hundreds of thousands of families in our state would no longer have to live just one healthcare crisis away from financial ruin and dropping out of the middle class.

The U.S. Supreme Court's healthcare decision that gives states the option to expand Medicaid to low- income adults has handed Gov. Martinez a tremendous opportunity and a real solution. This opportunity is the best bang for the buck for New Mexico. The federal government has taken on the responsibility of paying the entire cost of the newly covered for the first three years (2014-16) and gradually reducing its share to 90 percent for 2020 and beyond. According to a recent study by N.M. Voices for Children, this infusion of millions of federal dollars will create an estimated 17,000 jobs in New Mexico by 2015. It's hard to see how anyone can call that a bad deal.

Unfortunately, Gov. Martinez appears to be turning what should be a no-brainer into an agonizing political dilemma. By taking the Medicaid opportunity path, she can choose to save lives, save money, and create jobs in New Mexico. It's simply the right thing to do.

But the alternative path that seems to pressure Gov. Martinez is one paved with politics at its worst. Out of a misplaced sense of partisan ambition or steered by ideological handlers, she might choose to march in lockstep with governors such as Wisconsin's Scott Walker, Florida's Rick Scott, and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal. In rejecting the Medicaid opportunity, those governors have abdicated their responsibility and have thrown their most vulnerable populations under the bus — merely to score partisan political debating points.

It's a disgrace that our state has not done more to bring up the most vulnerable among us. The rejection of this opportunity would mean a stomach punch to our state's potential and the continued decline of our state's healthcare outcomes.

This is too important to allow national politics to dictate policy in New Mexico. Let's hope Governor Martinez is committed to solving problems and does the right thing by expanding health care coverage in New Mexico.

August 30, 2012 at 05:00 PM in Children and Families, Medicaid | Permalink | Comments (7)

Judge Alisa Hadfield's Commitment to Families and Children in New Mexico

Guest blog by Shannon Enright-Smith.

Images head shotMost of us thankfully have never and will never appear before a Judge in the Family Court Domestic Violence Division, but we should not be distracted from electing the right person for the job.

We have all known, worked with or been acquaintances with someone who has gone through Family Court and have been impacted by the outcome whether it was a divorce, a custody battle or domestic violence situation. None of us are immune.

The Right Judge for the Job

Judge Alisa Hadfield is currently a Family Court Judge in the Second Judicial District Court presiding over the Domestic Violence Division. She was appointed to the bench on December 8, 2010 by Governor Richardson after being selected by a Judicial Nominating Commission. By State law, Judges must stand for election in one partisan contest after appointment. Judge Hadfield is the best qualified candidate for this specialized position and needs your vote this November.

Judge Hadfield began her career in the area of criminal law, first as a prosecutor and then as an assistant public defender, assigned to Children's Court representing minors. She later expanded her practice into the area of family law as a private practitioner. Her experience in these practice areas contributed to her successful service as a Domestic Violence Special Commissioner prior to her appointment as a judge.

What Most Voters Never to Get to Experience or Know about a Judge

I came to know Judge Hadfield in her capacity as a Domestic Violence Special Commissioner when I was Executive Director of Resources, Inc., the largest domestic violence and legal advocacy program in the State of New Mexico. The advocates and I worked on very difficult family violence and family law cases and were continuously impressed by Judge Hadfield’s leadership ability, vast knowledge of law and procedure, sensitivity and professionalism. In her capacity as Special Commissioner, Judge Hadfield was exposed to the most violent and difficult parts of our society and yet remained fresh and enthusiastic in her work. As you know, crime victimization does not discriminate. Domestic violence is NOT a partisan issue. I have seen Judge Hadfield work with some of the most difficult personalities in their most difficult times. She has worked with diverse cultures, and gained a respect and sensitivity to the unique problems that they face. Judge Hadfield exhibits an ability to work in a situation where she is surrounded by raw emotion which she can then mold into reason resulting in a decision that is appropriate for the best interests of children.

Since Judge Hadfield’s appointment to the bench, I have had the opportunity through my private practice to learn of her rulings in over a dozen cases and I continue to be impressed, especially with her decisions in custody matters where children are profoundly impacted. I do believe that what Judge Hadfield offers the citizens of Bernalillo County is a stable forward-looking jurist. She is well intentioned and has a judicial philosophy well-grounded in the law and tempered with compassion for the rights of the individual and the well-being of children.

Judge Hadfield’s Commitment to Families and Children in New Mexico

“Having a strong background in family law in general, coupled with my work and experience in the area of domestic violence and services related to that issue, makes me uniquely qualified for this position. As a judge, I offer the bench my strong sense of personal integrity, my proven history of commitment to service, and my experience exercising judicial responsibilities in a knowledgeable, fair and impartial manner. My balanced experience and strong sense of justice make me well-suited for the district court bench.” Judge Alisa Hadfield

August 30, 2012 at 08:39 AM in 2012 Judicial Races, Candidates & Races, Children and Families | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Support Growing for Same Sex Couple Parents, Hope Christian Silent.

On August 8th, the following blog piece was provided by Jesse Lopez, President of New Mexico Coalition for Student Justice

In less than three days, over 400 individuals have logged on to change.org and signed the petition titled “End discrimination against GLBT at Hope Christian Academy School.” The petition, being endorsed by GetEqualNM and the Coalition for Student Justice, was created in response to the school denying enrollment to a child because the child’s parents are of the same sex.

As support grows for the family, organizations and national media outlets across the country are beginning to weigh in on the debate over federal funding, 501-c3 non-profit status, and the New Mexico Human Rights Act that prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and “public accommodations.” It also bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“Not only does it appear that Hope Christian may in fact be violating the law, they are sending the wrong message to the community. Already several high school students that identify as being gay have reached out and are scared to go back to school, and are now more afraid to come out. It appears Hope’s leadership team is willing to take tax payer dollars and create an environment with inequality, and more so, willing to allow students currently enrolled to feel morally derogated and belittled because they are gay.” Jesse Lopez

Please follow this link to sign petition. Below is a copy of the petition:

 
Greetings, I just signed the following petition addressed to: State of New Mexico Federal Delegation - End discrimination against GLBT at Hope Christian Academy School

State of New Mexico Federal Delegation,

We the signed petitioners of New Mexico and across the USA are urging you to look into recent actions by Hope Christian Academy in Albuquerque New Mexico denying a 3 year old enrollment because the child's parents are of the same sex.

As I am sure, you are well aware, in 1954 the Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. the Board of Education that "Segregation of students in public schools violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, because separate facilities are inherently unequal."

Although HOPE Christian Academy maintains itself as a private institution it in facts receives $60,000 annually from the federal government. These tax dollars come from the pockets of American families, including those of same sex couples. Because the school, in part is funded by my tax dollars, I am signing this petition and asking that you look further into the discriminative actions taken by HOPE Christian Academy and enforce the law of the United States government and allow this child to enroll.

If we do nothing, we have failed to learn from our past, and allow agents of hate to exist. If we are to began teaching a new generation on equality allow this child to enroll and not fall short on unequal actions.

August 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM in Action Alerts, Candidates & Races, Children and Families, GLBT Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Respect – We Are ALL Made in God's Image the Central Message of Christianity

Guest Blog by Nick Rimmer, Esq.

Respect –this is a central message of Christianity. We are all made in God’s image, and we must treat our neighbors with the respect that each of us deserves. Whether you’re a Christian or not, this seems to be a pretty good message.

This is what makes Hope Christian School’s decision to deny admission to a 3-year-old boy because he comes from a same-sex family all the more disappointing. The fact that the school also receives tax-payer dollars makes the decision really troubling.

Like many private schools, Hope Christian’s application form reflects an understanding of changing family dynamics in the modern age. For instance, the application includes a section that allows four different parents and guardians at different addresses, recognizing that the definition of family in modern America is evolving.

Our children face so many more challenges, including coming from homes where both parents may have to work two-or-three jobs just to make ends meet, than the generations before them.

We know that those fortunate enough to have a family are far more likely to overcome those challenges. After reviewing decades of study, psychologist C.J. Patterson concluded “not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” [1]

New Mexico already has enough challenges when it comes to raising our children. More than 30% of our children live in poverty, the second highest rate in the nation [2]. And more than six out of 10, like the boy denied admission to Hope Christian, who are eligible for preschool are not enrolled. Our abysmal graduation rates are well documented and often discussed.

By all accounts, the child at the center of this recent discussion is on track to avoid becoming one of those statistics. From outward appearances, his parents have given him all of the advantages—a loving home and a commitment to education. Sadly, the school is imposing an unnecessary punishment on this child, and we – as New Mexicans – can’t look the other way.

The 2010 Kids Count report estimates that 11% of children in New Mexico – a full one in 10 – are living with two moms or two dads. That is the same percentage of those living only with one dad. Combined with children living only with mom, a full 40% of our children live in family types virtually unheard of just 50 years ago.

Children today will encounter peers from a wide range of backgrounds and families, and we must teach them the principles of treating other with respect. Like the school’s own application recognizes, the family dynamic is changing. We will do well to remember that each family matters in the life of a child.

Footnotes for above article:
[1] Patterson, C.J., 2005. Lesbian and gay parents
and their children: summary of research findings. In: Lesbian and Gay Parenting.
American Psychological Association, Washington, DC. 
[2] Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010, Kids Count Report, http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/acrossstates/Rankings.aspx?loct=2&by=v&order=d&ind=43&dtm=322&tf=133

 

August 7, 2012 at 05:49 PM in Children and Families, Civil Liberties, Faith Community, GLBT Rights, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Mexico Ranks 49th in the Nation in Overall Child Well-being

Child health improved, but not economic, education, and family well-being

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2012 KIDS COUNT® Data Book shows that New Mexico made a few gains in children’s health status, but the state has a long way to go in improving the economic, education, and community-related well-being of its children. The state ranks 49th out of the 50 states. Only Mississippi ranks lower.

This most recent data show that the recession and slow economic recovery are continuing to hurt struggling families in New Mexico. Since 2005, 30,000 more children live in poverty, a number greater than the populations of Deming, Taos, and Truth or Consequences combined. In 2010, more than one-third of the state’s children had parents without secure employment, an increase of 23 percent from just two years before.

“This year’s national KIDS COUNT findings continue to be disappointing. As a state we are not making the kind of growth in reading and math proficiency that we want for our children,” said Dr. Veronica C. Garcia, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children.

This years’ data book looked at 16 indicators of child well-being, broken down into four categories. In those categories, New Mexico ranked 49th in Education, Health, and Family and Community, and 48th in Economic Well-being. “This indicates that it’s important to not look at a student’s academic achievement in isolation, but rather we must work together as New Mexicans to comprehensively address the issues that affect educational outcomes and the economic well-being of our state,” Dr. Garcia added.

New Mexico ranked 46th overall in the 2011 data book, but that score was based on 10 indicators of child well-being.

“Based on the research, we know that access to high-quality care and education services for children from birth to age five promotes academic achievement,” said Dr. Garcia. “However, in our state, 62 percent of our three- and four-year-olds do not have the opportunity to attend preschool. We also know that children’s health is foundational to improved educational outcomes; therefore increased access to affordable, high-quality health care is important. There is supported evidence that when children grow up in a nurturing and caring environment they have better social-emotional, language, and learning outcomes. These outcomes are critical for our children and for the long-term economic development of the state.”

This year’s addition of six new indicators provides users of the data book with a picture of child well-being that better reflects what extensive research has shown is important in child development. “This gives us a more robust and comprehensive tool for assessing how children are doing across states,” said Christine Hollis, NM KIDS COUNT Director.

The data book and other resources are available online at: http://datacenter.kidscount.org/DataBook/2012/.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book provides the latest data on child well-being comparable across all states. This information will be available July 25 in the KIDS COUNT Data Center, http://datacenter.kidscount.org/, which also contains the most recent New Mexico data on hundreds of other indicators of child well-being. The Data Center allows users, even through mobile device access, to create rankings, maps, and trend graphs for use in publications and on websites.

July 25, 2012 at 05:38 PM in Children and Families, Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Struggling New Mexicans Demand Leaders End Outrageous Tax Giveaways to Big Oil Companies

Following release is from OLÉ Education Fund is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to empowering and improving the economic well-being of working New Mexicans.

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Billboard campaign in Albuquerque highlights how taxpayers foot the bill for billions in big-oil tax breaks

New Mexicans who are struggling to fill their tanks today unveiled a billboard campaign calling attention to Big Oil receiving $4 billion in tax breaks despite raking in $137 billion in pure profits in 2011 alone.

Standing under a billboard featuring a frustrated driver and the message “Big oil gets billions in tax breaks … we pay the price. Why?!” New Mexicans called on elected officials and candidates to take a stand and outline their positions on whether they support preserving tax giveaways for the oil and gas industry.

The billboard campaign is sponsored by the Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLÉ) Education Fund.

“We pay high prices and the oil and gas companies get away with huge profits at our expense,” said Luis Garcia who works as a waiter in Albuquerque. “What’s worse? They also get $4 billion in tax breaks rubber stamped by Congress. Oil companies are robbing us at the pump and on tax day.”

Representative Steve Pearce, who represents southern New Mexico in Congress, has voted to preserve these tax giveaways for big oil 8 times since February of 2011 alone.

U.S. Senate Candidates Heather Wilson and Martin Heinrich have issued the following statements on the issue:

Heather Wilson: "Heather Wilson supports a balanced long-term energy policy that will create American jobs and reduce energy prices."

Martin Heinrich: "At a time when big oil companies are pulling in record profits, taxpayer dollars should not be padding the deep pockets of CEO's."

  “It’s nice that we have something from our Senate candidates, but New Mexicans deserve to know what Heather Wilson and Martin Heinrich’s clear positions are on these tax breaks,” said Marie Aragon, resident of Albuquerque. “And with these statements, we’re not quite there yet.”

The billboards aim to call attention to how ordinary New Mexicans are paying the price for oil-company tax breaks and educate the public about politicians who are consistently voting to preserve tax breaks for an industry that raked in $137 billion in profits in 2011 alone.

July 18, 2012 at 02:38 PM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Candidates & Races, Children and Families, Corporatism, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, July 06, 2012

Unemployment More than Double for Hispanics than Whites in Abq

Following is a press release from NM Voices for Children regarding a report released on July 2nd, 2012.

The unemployment rate for Hispanics in Albuquerque is more than double the rate for Whites. That’s according to a report released on July 2, 2012 by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The report looks at unemployment rates for Hispanics in 25 metropolitan areas, including Albuquerque.

According to the EPI report, the unemployment rate for Hispanics in Albuquerque was 11.3 percent in 2011. That was up from 9.3 percent in 2010. Albuquerque had the highest ratio of Hispanic-to-White unemployment of all the metro areas. For every White worker who is unemployed, 2.5 Hispanic workers are out of jobs.

“There are several factors at play here. First, the construction sector lost the most jobs after the housing bubble burst, and there was a high concentration of Hispanics in that sector,” said Gerry Bradley, Research Director at New Mexico Voices for Children. “Also, the Hispanic population in New Mexico is younger than the White population overall, so they tend not to have as much seniority at their jobs and generally have lower levels of education than Whites,” he said.

“This report shows the need to improve educational opportunities for Hispanics. The most effective way to do this is to start before children enter the K-12 school system so they are ready to learn when they begin school,” Bradley added.

The overall unemployment rate for May 2012 was 6.7 percent for the state and 6.8 percent for the Albuquerque metro area, according to the NM Department of Workforce Solutions.

The EPI report is available online at: http://www.epi.org/publication/ib336-hispanic-metropolitan-unemployment/

 

July 6, 2012 at 12:44 PM in Children and Families, Education, Hispanic Issues, Unemployment | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

House Republicans Once Again Cut the Budget on the Backs of Middle-Class Families

Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District voted today against a measure aimed at implementing House Republicans’ budget plan that calls for deep cuts to vital services for middle-class families while protecting defense spending and tax breaks for the richest Americans. The budget reconciliation bill cuts $310 billion over 10 years from non-defense spending in areas such as health care, food and nutrition assistance, and vital safety net programs for seniors, women, and children.

“Instead of offering a balanced plan to reduce our nation’s deficit, House Republicans once again make hard-working New Mexicans pay the price,” Congressman Luján said. “In order to restore the American Dream and rebuild the middle class, we need a balanced approach that invests in our future by supporting innovation, strengthening education, and rebuilding infrastructure. Now is the time to invest in our national labs and develop new groundbreaking technologies that could change the way we generate energy, keep our airports safer, and make our hospitals healthier. In times like these, millionaires should be giving to charity, not getting it through more tax breaks.”

The House Republicans’ reconciliation bill replaces automatic defense spending cuts that they agreed to last year with cuts that will result in:

  • Nearly 300,000 children losing free or reduce-priced school meals, on top of cuts to food aid at home for 22 million children;
  • 1.7 million seniors losing “Meals on Wheels” and other home-based services; and
  • 326,000 women not getting breast cancer screenings and 284,000 not getting cervical cancer screenings.

May 10, 2012 at 05:27 PM in Children and Families, Healthcare, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

House Majority Moves to Cut Children's Health Insurance Program, Could Have Devastating Effects for Uninsured New Mexico Kids

In an effort to stave off the bipartisan agreement to cut federal spending that was signed into law last year, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a measure that would take away an important incentive program that has helped thousands of uninsured children in New Mexico gain access to health care.

CHIP imagesThe measure would eliminate a pay-for-performance incentive plan that rewards states for doing an exemplary job of connecting uninsured kids to coverage. New Mexico has received over $18 Million for efforts in the Richardson administration to cut red tape barriers and reach out to eligible but uninsured children through the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). An estimated 31,500 more uninsured children were connected with coverage.

The incentive plan is one of several successful strategies that have brought the number of uninsured children in America down to a record low. New Mexico made significant progress as the number of uninsured children dropped by 10% from 2007 to 2010.

Background: Created by the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009, the bonuses reward states for demonstrating concrete success in enrolling low-income uninsured children in state Medicaid funded plans. To qualify, states must adopt one of a series of measures that simplify enrollment in coverage and reach enrollment targets. To date, the bonuses have worked exactly as intended - rewarding states for tackling the challenge of making sure that the lowest-income children in this country are connected to coverage.

During this recession, CHIP and Medicaid have been hard at work helping families unable to afford private health insurance to secure coverage for their children. When kids are healthy, we all win ”they are more likely to grow and learn in school, and their parents have peace of mind that an asthma attack or accident won't send them to the emergency room and break the bank."

Connecting eligible but uninsured children to coverage is a high priority for the Obama Administration. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has called on leaders at every level of government and the private sector to find and enroll the nearly five million uninsured children who are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP through her "Connecting Kids to Coverage" challenge.

There are still an estimated 50,000 children in New Mexico who are eligible for Medicaid coverage but are not yet enrolled.

Bill Jordan, Policy Director for New Mexico Voices for Children said: "It would be shameful for the U.S. House of Representatives to terminate the bonus program and remove one of the incentives for states like New Mexico to enroll more kids in Medicaid.  Insurance coverage not only contributes to their health but it helps kids stay in school and focus on their studies, instead of missing school and being distracted by medical issues that could have been treated."

May 8, 2012 at 04:05 PM in Children and Families, Education, Healthcare, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Mexico’s Working Families Praise New Mexico’s U.S. Senators for Voting to End Billions in Special Oil & Gas Company Tax Breaks

From Organizers in the Land of Enchantment:

Reps. Luján, Heinrich Vote Against Oil & Gas Tax Breaks in Ryan Budget

The U.S. Senate failed to pass legislation Thursday by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) which would have cut $24 billion in tax breaks for the five richest oil companies and use the savings to pay down the U.S. debt and invest in wind power and energy efficiency. Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLÉ) praised New Mexico’s U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall for voting for the legislation.

Even though a majority voted to pass the bill, the nearly party line vote of 51-47 failed to muster the 60 votes needed to override a filibuster.

Also on Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (WI) budget which retains a decade of oil and gas industry tax breaks worth tens of billions of dollars. OLÉ applauds Congressmen Ben Ray Luján and Martin Heinrich for voting against continuing these taxpayer giveaways and expresses frustration that Rep. Steve Pearce voted for it.

Oil companies made $137 billion in profits last year, thanks to the high prices consumers paid at the gas pump. And despite nearly record high levels of drilling in the United States, gas prices are going up not down.

“We don’t have a problem with too little production; we have a problem with too much profiteering. And working families are footing the bill,” said Mathew Henderson, OLÉ Executive Director.

March 31, 2012 at 12:18 PM in Children and Families, Energy, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01), Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

3/31: Bernalillo County Family Court Judge Alisa Hadfield

Bernalillo County Family Court Judge Alisa Hadfield isn’t just hanging around, waiting for election day.

Hadfield, who has been a Family Court Judge for almost one and half years, is gearing up for her first election this November with the release of a campaign video that highlights her rock climbing chops. The video, released today on her Facebook site: “Committee-Keep Judge Hadfield” and on YouTube, features interviews with the judge and dramatic footage of her scaling “the Arch” at Stone Age Climbing Gym. The Arch is one of the most technically difficult rock climbing features at the gym and has the climber clinging to artificial hand and foot holds, three stories above the gym floor – with a safety belay, of course.

Judge Hadfield explains that rock climbing is a stress outlet for the busy family court where she presides over often difficult divorce, child custody and domestic violence cases. “Rock climbing requires intense and absolute concentration, which I actually think carries over to the court room. Keeping track of hundreds of cases, involving hundreds of families and children requires focus and concentration.”

Judge Hadfield has been an avid climber since her days as a prosecutor and later as a public defender. She also had a private practice in family law before being recommended for the bench by the non-partisan Judicial Selection Commission and appointed by the Governor in 2010. She has climbed some of New Mexico’s more difficult routes, although her full time job as a Judge has limited her climbing time.

Judge Hadfield will be showing off her rock climbing skills during her upcoming campaign event at Stone Age Climbing Gym 4201 Yale Blvd. NE Suite 1, on March 31, 2012 at 6:30 pm. (Download attached flier)

The video can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fveJoRsyqMA&feature=youtu.be.

March 21, 2012 at 01:34 PM in 2012 Judicial Races, Children and Families | Permalink | Comments (0)