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.

January 17, 2013 at 09:55 AM in Guns, NM Legislature 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

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.[1] 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[2], 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.[3] 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[4]. 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.

[1] http://www.newmexicohistory.org/filedetails.php?fileID=460
[2] https://www.jobs.state.nm.us/admin/gsipub/htmlarea/uploads/lmrnov12.pdf , p.12
[3] https://www.jobs.state.nm.us/admin/gsipub/htmlarea/uploads/lmrnov12.pdf , p. 9
[4] http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/02/21/news/legislature-passed-77-bills-least-since-1976.htm

Video above is from NMinFocus Youtube Channel. Thank you NM in Focus!

January 16, 2013 at 09:35 PM in Democrat, Economy, Populism, Education, NM Legislature 2013, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Governor's Plan For Jobs = Epic Fail

From ProgressNowNM.

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.

January 11, 2013 at 08:44 AM in Jobs, ProgressNow New Mexico, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (1)

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? 

January 9, 2013 at 01:34 PM in Media, NM Legislature 2013, NM Telegram | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cong. Pearce and NM GOP Mislead Public & Victims Regarding Violence Against Women Act Vote

From ProgressNowNM.

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.

January 9, 2013 at 01:21 AM in ProgressNow New Mexico, Steve Pearce, Women's Issues | Permalink | Comments (1)

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.”

January 4, 2013 at 01:04 PM in Agriculture, Michelle Lujan Grisham | Permalink | Comments (1)

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.

For a fact sheet and to read the resolution submitted by the senators, click here and here.

“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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.

January 4, 2013 at 11:12 AM in Filibuster, Sen. Tom Udall | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New Year's Guest Blog by Roxanne Lara

Rocky2012Excellent Guest blog by Roxanne Lara; Candidate for NM Democratic State Party Chair.

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.

2013-new-year-wallpaperI 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.

January 1, 2013 at 12:51 PM in Candidates & Races, Democrat, Democratic Party, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (6)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Speaker Lujan Laid in Rest at the Rotunda for the Day

Church sunsetSpeaker Lujan was a leader. A leader for people and for the earth. The rotunda was full of people this afternoon. The lines were very long to pass by the Speakers dressed casket and to share respect to the Lujan family. My heart ached.

Carmen Lujan looked strong and beautiful, but you could see the past year of taking care of her best friend husband lover soul mate has taken it's toll. We hugged, and I for one did not want to let go. We are still here on the side of the living. I can feel the pain that Carmen is feeling and will feel. Loss is so hard. Even when you know the end is coming the living partner gives their all to comfort the sick and give them the up most dignity for every hour they are here.

Congressman Lujan was steadfastly standing next to his mom, and his other brother on the other side and sisters on the other. All beautiful children, brought into the world and protected and cared for by their Dad. Just a Dad to them. Further down the family line was the grandchildren. Picture boards were in different locations in the rotunda showing Mr. and Mrs. Lujan smiling very proudly in practically every shot.

Gov. Richardson spoke, Representative Ken Martinez spoke, other democratic leaders were in attendance. Missing was Gov. Martinez and other republican leaders. More sad evidence of the lack of cooperation this 60 day session will be mired in. If one of your colleagues dying does not unite us for even one day, we are living in a very sad time.

When Barb was sick and when she passed Congressman Ben Ray Lujan reached out to us many times. I asked him to speak at Barb's celebration of her life ceremony, he of course said yes. Congressman delivered a heart felt remembrance speech. The whole time not mentioning one word of what his family was going through with their own loved one, their Dad.

I remember hearing the news of the Speakers battle with lung cancer in the roundhouse the first day of the session in January. My heart ached. I watched the speaker in the session and was blown away with his stamina. Wow. The word ego was not a word used to describe the Speaker. Humble, humility, strong willed, principled, these are the words that describe this Dad. EGO to me means "Edging God Out" we have too many in our society with huge ego right now.

May the strength of the universe and the God of their understanding be with the Lujan family as they travel this wonderful gorgeous planet. The Speaker did a great job while here on this planet, worked for the greater good til his end. We must too.

December 27, 2012 at 09:44 PM in NM Speaker of the House | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21, 2012 Winter Solstice

Earth-chrysallis
earth-chrysallis from Eden Sky

Here we are at the end of the Mayan Calendar, December 21, 2012. Through the years Barb and I read about this day and this time. One of the things she said a few days before she left the planet was; "I hope I at least make it to the year 2012." That was not to be, but I wanted to assemble a post that would share some of the believes she would say, and that I beleive in as well, or at least hope for.

Let's start with the concept of a Paradigm Shift.
This is a great positive take on the 2012 Prophecy ~ by Eden Sky

To put it simply, it is not the end of the world that is coming, it is the end of a world age. This shifting of World Eras is a cycle change that will steadily shift our human orientation from an ego-based perspective dominated by separation, fear, greed, and destructive, imbalanced tendencies - towards one based in conscious interconnectedness, fueling our tendencies for harmony, compassion, and life-affirming energies and actions. This represents a shift beyond the patriarchal cycle we have been in, sometimes called a "male-dominant linear perspective," into an Age in which masculine and feminine energies and perspectives are balanced, ideally uniting mind and heart, logic and intuition, spirit and matter. The most blatant example of this shift is in re-prioritizing our values and Placing Planet and People over Profits, in true recognition of the intricate, interdependence of the One Web of Life. It is obvious we cannot survive or thrive on this planet without this transformation of our worldview.

Eden Sky's conclusion:

In conclusion, let us strive to evolve into our deepest human potential to be wise and loving human beings, that we may contribute as consciously as possible to the greater well being of human culture, understanding our place upon this glorious Planet, and within this sentient Universe. Let us honor our place in the vast cycles of time, and heed the calls of our ancestors who left these prophecies for us, now. Let us activate the wisdom given to us by Dr. José Argüelles who urged that we honor our Earth as a Living Work of Art and realize that we can each be instruments of harmony and beauty, serving as Planetary Artists! The tasks to be accomplished in these momentous times call us to cooperate on new and grander levels, that we may manifest ever greater harmonies together. Let us synchronize and unify in deep courage, compassion, creativity, willingness and joy with our brothers and sisters of humanity, to be who we truly are here to be, and do what we are truly here to do. Let us awaken our dormant powers. Let us dream the highest dream. Let us ride the upward spiral through the accelerated currents of change. Let us face the death of the body that we may live from a place of realizing who we are as an essence; a heart. Let us seriously invest in cultivating our intuition and inner-knowing. Let us celebrate and nurture our interconnectedness. Let us paint new beauties upon the canvas of our Earth. Let us be grateful for this life we are given, here and now, ever-evolving as children born of the One Great Mystery.

December 21, 2012 at 07:01 AM in History, Holidays | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bingaman, Udall Seek Answers on REAL ID

From Senator Udall:

U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide New Mexicans with immediate assurances that their travel plans early in the new year will not be disrupted by a federal law governing drivers' licenses.

While the senators support strengthening the standards governing IDs, they are concerned that as many as 38 states - including New Mexico - will not be able to meet the January 15, 2013 deadline to comply with the law. DHS has previously told the senators that New Mexico drivers' license holders will still be able to travel domestically and enter federal buildings using the state licenses but has not made a public announcement of its plans regarding REAL ID implementation.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the senators said enforcing the January 15 deadline could cause a significant disruption in air travel. In their letter, the senators urged DHS to quickly clarify its plans regarding the implementation of the REAL ID Act:

"The lack of guidance by the Department of Homeland Security is causing a great deal of anxiety for our constituents, who are seeing news reports that they may need a passport in order to fly on domestic flights after January 15. We have been expecting an announcement that your Department will extend the deadline or delay enforcement of the Act, but to date there has been no statement either way. Such delays mean that many people may alter or cancel their travel plans or bear the expense of obtaining a passport they do not need," Bingaman and Udall wrote.

In 2005, Congress passed legislation -- called the REAL ID Act -- requiring states to tighten requirements related the issuance of drivers' licenses because they are used as a standard form of identification for a variety of federal purposes, including air travel. In 2009, DHS extended the REAL ID Act compliance deadline until January 15, 2013.

"If the Department intends to extend the deadline, please make such an announcement immediately. If the Department does not intend to provide such an extension, please issue a public statement as soon as possible to reassure the traveling public that you will work to mitigate the adverse impact of REAL ID," Bingaman and Udall wrote.

The full text of the letter is available here.

December 20, 2012 at 09:15 AM in Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Speaker Lujan Passes Away

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Speaker Lujan words of wisdom; Feb. 15,  2012

It is with a very heavy heart that we write a blog post regarding the passing of our New Mexico Speaker for the House of Representatives Ben Lujan. Speaker Lujan passed away last night at around 10:45 from lung cancer. 

A tireless man working for the good of the people, and the earth.

The following press release was issued from his wonderful son, our Congressman, Ben Ray Lujan:
Speaker Ben Lujan succumbs to lung cancer. He died at approximately 10:45 Tuesday evening after a short stay at CHRISTIS St. Vincent’s hospital. His wife Carmen, children including Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and their grandchildren were all at his bedside. He died peacefully without complications. Funeral arrangements are pending. He was a member of the House since 1975 and served as Majority Whip, Majority Floor Leader and House Speaker. On opening day of the 2012 legislative session, he announced that he was not going to seek re-election and disclosed that he had stage 4 lung cancer. 

The Sierra Club released the following statement:
New Mexico loses an environmental champion. When New Mexico Speaker of the House Ben Luján passed this morning, the world lost an environmental hero.
Over and over through the years, Luján protected the people of New Mexico from destructive legislation that would have put our children and grandchildren in jeopardy. He initiated and advocated for many successful laws that preserve our unique quality of life in the Southwest.
The Speaker's continued work for the state during his illness was a sign of his steadfast dedication to the greater good, and in that time he made important progress in protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink.
New Mexico and the world are truly better places because Ben Luján served our state. The Rio Grande Chapter will miss him, and we send our condolences to Lujan's wife, Carmen, his son, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, and his entire family.

034 cropWhat a gift to New Mexico to have Speaker Lujan in our presence. To watch his wife Carmen and the Speaker together you could see true companionship, true love and commitment. To watch how proud they were and humble is a lesson to us all.

My heart goes out to Carmen and their family and to Congressman Lujan you are gifted as well. Take good care in these days ahead.

My Favorite poem regarding the passing of our loved ones:

The Ship by Bishop Brent
A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says She is gone.
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large now as when I last saw her. Her diminished size and total loss from my sight is in me, not in her.
And just at that moment, when someone at my side says she is gone, there are others who are watching her coming over their horizon and other voices take up a glad shout - There she comes!
That is what dying is. An horizon and just the limit of our sight.
Lift us up O Lord, that we may see further.

December 19, 2012 at 02:53 PM in NM Speaker of the House | Permalink | Comments (2)