Wednesday, August 01, 2012

2 - 4 - 6 - 8 How Do You Know Your Kids are Straight? Chick-Fil-A Protest

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At mid day in Albuquerque New Mexico the sun is real hot. But that did not keep the friends of the LGBT community from showing up to protest the latest bigoted anti-LGBT company Chick Fil-A. And it also did not keep the friends that support Chick Fil-A's bigotry and discrimination from showing up either.

There were many customers driving up to the drive thru and waiting in-line for their chicken sandwiches, I would assume in support of the Dan Cathy statement opposing same sex marriages. Then there were the pro-LGBT supporters maybe 150 on the sidewalk with signs and chicken costumes and free chicken sandwiches being handed out! 

The anti-LGBT bigots complaint is "they have a right to disagree with whomever they want to disagree with" and that the pro-LGBT agenda is being intolerant. If actions like educating the public about anti-LGBT issues stated by big businesses in our communities and deciding not to spend my own money at those places of business and urging others to not spend there money their is in tolerant.....in the words of Dan Cathy below "well- guilty as charged."

However what Dan Cathy says below: "I think we are inviting God's judgement..." now that is appears to be a tad intolerant!

The Chick Fil A President Dan Cathy who makes gobs of money selling processed chicken sandwiches started the furry recently when he went on about his family values. The following is from the Huffpost:

"Cathy's somewhat glib response: "Well, guilty as charged."

He went on to note, "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that...we know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."

Cathy then reiterated his stance during an appearance on "The Ken Coleman Show," Good as You blogger Jeremy Hooper reported.

"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,' and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about," Cathy said in that interview, which can be heard here

Needless to say, Cathy's remarks quickly sparked the ire of a number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocates and bloggers. "Regardless of where you stand, the placement of LGBT people within our societal picture and within our body of laws is the conversation at hand," wrote Hooper. "That is not the same thing as 'support for the traditional family,' no matter how aggressively the self-appointed values movement attempts to (mis)name reality!"

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So another day goes by when the right to love is held back by those who claim they have the special God given right to love. I appreciated the sign 2-4-6-8 how do you know your kids are straight. What if one of these pompous rich asses fanning the fire of this anti-LGBT fight ends up with a gay kid or grandkid?

On the positive side; the LGBT side of the brick wall was light hearted and fun. We ate our own Chick fil-gay sandwiches provided by  Roma Bakery and Deli and they were very great simple chicken sandwiches made with TLC not stick it in your face HATE.

Below is a short video from Bruce co-owner of Roma Bakery and Deli:

And below a video of Pat Davis, Executive Director of ProgressNow NM. ProgressNow NM were the organizers of the protest event.

 

August 1, 2012 at 04:23 PM in GLBT Rights, ProgressNow New Mexico, Right Wing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Keller, Maestas Criticize Romney for Calling Middle Class Tax Breaks 'Band-Aids'

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Famous photo of money-bags Romney when he and his cronies were buying up companies and laying off workers for profit

On Friday, New Mexico State Senator Tim Keller and State Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas held a press conference call to discuss Mitt Romney’s comments at the GOP debate in New Hampshire that tax cuts for the middle class were nothing more than “little band-aids” that he doesn’t support. Romney has long made noise about opposing tax cuts for the middle class, but his latest statement exposes just how out of touch Mitt really is with the lives of ordinary Americans.

Earth to Mitt: tax cuts in the thousand-dollar-plus range and beyond can make the difference in whether there's adequate food on the table or whether needed medical prescriptions are filled for working class families. A thousand dollars more or less probably doesn't mean much in the elite financial world of Romney and the other one per centers, where greens fees for golf outings can cost that much. But in the real world of working for a paycheck to make a living, it's not exacty chicken feed.

After the conference call, Sen. Keller and Rep. Maestas released the following statements pointing out the arrogance and ignorance demonstrated by Romney's statement.

“Romney and his Republican colleagues in Washington who voted against the American Jobs Act claim they are for tax breaks, but would let the payroll tax cut expire and take money out of the pockets of working Americans," said Sen. Tim Keller. "Mitt Romney doesn’t get what economists and the American people are saying: Middle-class tax cuts make sense for the economy and for our families. Instead, Romney continues to push more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and corporations while doing nothing for the middle class.”

Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas said, “Mitt Romney may claim he isn’t ‘running to support the rich,’ but his economic proposals support more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and corporations while doing nothing for the middle class. When asked about extending a payroll tax credit that averages more than $1,360 for the typical American family, Romney said he doesn’t support little ‘band aids.’ That’s just wrong."

"For the wealthiest Americans and corporations that Mitt is running for, $1,360 is not much, but for middle class families trying to make ends meet here in New Mexico it would make all the difference in the world," Rep. Maestas continued. "It can be four months of groceries or months of rent –- not to mention that middle-class tax cuts make sense for the economy. It’s clear that Mitt Romney has no plan to provide relief to the middle class and no plan to immediately create jobs.”

Wealthy elitist Republicans are like that.

The DNC has pointed out that at the same time Romney is belittling middle class tax cuts as “little band-aids,” he seems quite proud of the fact that he's leading the money race for campaign cash from Wall Street. Considering that Romney has promised Wall Street’s big banks that if he’s elected he'll allow them to write their own rules again -- just as they were doing when the economy nearly collapsed just three short years ago -- perhaps no one should be surprised that he’s raking in big bucks from the banks for his campaign. Or that he seems to have the interests of the moneyed classes as his sole concern.

You can watch the Republican presidential candidates debate again tonight at 6:00 PM mountain time.

October 18, 2011 at 05:44 PM in 2012 Presidential Race, Corporatism, Economy, Populism, Mitt Romney, Right Wing, Taxes, Tim Keller | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Action Alert: New Mexicans Renew Call for State Republicans to Return Iran-funded Campaign Contributions

On word that the US Department of Justice has indicted two men working for the Iranian government on charges that they attempted to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador and possibly injure hundreds of innocent Americans in a terrorist attack on American soil, New Mexicans are renewing last week's call for Governor Susana Martinez, Congressman Steve Pierce and the New Mexico Republican party to return tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions received from corrupt business interests who are reported to have benefited from illegal oil and equipment sales to the terrorist-sponsoring state.

In the story first published here on the Democracy for New Mexico blog last week, the New Mexico GOP and its candidates were big beneficiaries of Koch Industries donations in their 2010 campaigns. Together, they accepted $25,000 in donations from Koch Industries and KOCHPAC to fund races for governor, congress and state races across the state. Governor Martinez even used money from that same account to launch her SusanaPAC political action committee to continue her campaign efforts in 2011 and beyond.

A Bloomberg report recently called into question the legality of Koch profits which benefited the GOP. Koch is alleged to have skirted US embargoes to illegally sell oil equipment to Iran in violation of US law.

Responsible New Mexicans are continuing to call on Martinez and the GOP to return the contributions or donate them to causes working to advance New Mexican issues. To date, no response has been received.

Take Action: If you're disturbed about the kind of tainted money that is making it's way into right-wing Republican hands right here in New Mexico, you are urged to contact Gov. Susana Martinez, NM-02 Congressman Steve Pearce (or call  855-4-PEARCE (732723) or (202) 225-2365)  and the Republican Party of New Mexico.

October 12, 2011 at 05:58 PM in Action Alerts, Iran, Koch Brothers, Republican Party, Right Wing, Steve Pearce, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

New Mexicans: Urge Governor Martinez and GOP Politicians to Return Contributions from Corrupt Koch Brothers

Guess who received campaign "donations" from business interests that secretly sold petrochemical equipment to terrorism-sponsor Iran?

  • New Mexico's right-wing Governor Susana Martinez ($10,000)
  • NM-2 Congressman Steve. Pearce ($10,0000)
  • NM Republicans ($5,000)

New Mexicans should start calling for politicians who have accepted contributions from Koch Industries -- and their political arm KOCHPAC -- to return the money or donate it to charity ASAP. Of course you have to wonder why these Republicans need to be urged to return the tainted money. Have they no consciences of their own? 

A Bloomberg investigation revealed Sunday that Koch businesses, owned by conservative activists David and Charles Koch, circumvented US trade embargos to sell millions of dollars worth of petrochemical equipment to Iran. Iran is one of four countries designated by the U.S. State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism.

In a 2009 report, the State Department called Iran the most active state sponsor of terrorism, stating “Iran’s financial, material, and logistic support for terrorist and militant groups throughout the Middle East and Central Asia had a direct impact on international efforts to promote peace, threatened economic stability in the Gulf and undermined the growth of democracy.”

Of course well before the latest revelations about the Koch brothers emerged, they had a horrible reputation as greedy, crooked, obsessed right-wing operators who have little respect for the law or for the facts. They only care about one thing: protecting and expanding their already massive financial empire. And they're ready, willing and able to buy off politicos, launch underhanded attacks on unions and teachers, fund astro-turf political organizations or do whatever else they can conjure -- legal or not -- to do just that. I guess Martinez, Pearce and others in the GOP political machine just hadn't noticed all that scum on the Koch brothers pond of "donation" money.

According to New Mexico Secretary of State election filings, Koch Industries and their political action committee KOCHPAC donated $10,000 to New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and another $5,000 to the Republican Campaign Committee of New Mexico in the final days of the 2010 election. Records show that the Republican committee provided polling, fundraising, direct mail, postage and direct contributions to unidentified state candidates and county political parties through at least 27 different transactions after receiving Koch money.

Martinez has since started her own PAC, known as SusanaPac, with $5,000 transferred from the same campaign account Koch money entered.

Congressman Steve Pearce (NM-2), also received $10,000 from Koch Industries in his 2010 campaign.

Meanwhile, Koch Industries has circumvented U.S. law to make money off of business dealings with a terrorist-supporting foreign country. They're a patriotic bunch, aren't they?

That dirty money has been funneled into New Mexico's Roundhouse and Republican establishment and should be returned or donated to charities doing real work to move New Mexico forward. New Mexico's right-wing politicians have no business taking money from companies or individuals that do business with terrorist-supporting Iran. Every Republican who benefited from the Koch's illegal profiteering should immediately denounce this, but I won't hold my breath. Money is money and where it comes from doesn't seem to bother NM right-wing politios one iota.

October 5, 2011 at 11:55 AM in Iran, Koch Brothers, Republican Party, Right Wing, Steve Pearce, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, State Rep. Moe Maestas, DPNM Chair Javier Gonzales Criticize Republican Hispanic Conference in ABQ

On a conference call yesterday, U.S. Rep Ben Ray Luján, New Mexico State Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, and Democratic Party of New Mexico Chair Javier Gonzales responded to a Republican Hispanic gathering in New Mexico.  After the call, they released the following statements:

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján: “When Jeb Bush and Norm Coleman launched the Hispanic Leadership Network last year, Jeb Bush said Republicans would be ‘incredibly stupid’ to ignore the fastest growing voting bloc in America and that Republicans should ‘tone down’ their rhetoric or else risk alienating it.  What Republicans don't get is that it's not about rhetoric, but about reality, and the reality is that Republicans are not fighting for Hispanics, or their priorities."

New Mexico State Representative Antonio “Moe” Maestas: “President Obama’s record is clear -- he’s fighting for the middle class and for a better future for our country. He knows that the success of the United States is intricately tied to Hispanics’ success, and he’s fighting for us all: He expanded access to education for Hispanics, is fighting for the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, and is continuing to fight to create jobs for the middle class. And no matter how hard Republicans try to convince them otherwise, Hispanics will not be fooled by their façade. It takes more than a network and a trip to New Mexico to prove that you care about Hispanics. 

Democratic Party of New Mexico Chair Javier Gonzales: “Instead of offering ideas that would improve the lives of Hispanics, Republicans have embraced the extreme Tea Party agenda that would disproportionately hurt the middle class and Hispanics. Republicans, including those in New Mexico this weekend, are on the wrong side of every single Hispanic priority: jobs, Social Security, education, and health care.

September 23, 2011 at 02:33 PM in Democratic Party, Hispanic Issues, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Right Wing | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

NAACP, LULAC Denounce Gov. Susana Martinez's Extremist Allies on Driver's License Issue and Discriminatory Anti-Immigrant Agenda

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NM Governor Susana Martinez

In a joint press release issued today, New Mexico's chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) said they are concerned and appalled by the involvement of the Americans for Legal immigration PAC (ALIPAC) in New Mexico politics, as well as Governor Susana Martinez's continued attacks on immigrants and her apparent abuse of power.

"It has become apparent that Governor Martinez's anti-immigrant political agenda relies on support by national organizations with no ties to New Mexico and with questionable motives," said Pablo Martínez, a member of the LULAC Board and former law enforcement administrator. "We're concerned by ALIPAC's documented ties to white supremacists and other extremist organizations."

In an article in today's Albuquerque Journal, ALIPAC President William Gheen said the group will lobby New Mexico lawmakers to fight the "illegal immigrant invasion of America."

NAACP and LULAC pointed to reports by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that have repeatedly labeled ALI-PAC as an "nativist extremist" group and an organization that goes beyond mere advocacy of restrictive immigration policy to actually confront or harass suspected immigrants or their employers. Click for SPLC report.

They also pointed to statements in 2009 by the Anti-Defamation League decrying actions taken by white supremacists and Neo-Nazi groups on behalf of ALIPAC: click here and here

Both organizations stated they believe Governor Martinez overstepped her authority in August, when she instituted the now-halted "Residency Certification Program" that targeted 10,000 individuals in the MVD foreign national driver's license database. The program has since been stopped by New Mexico District Judge Sarah Singleton, who ruled on September 13 that requiring re-verification based on national origin could violate the Equal Protection Clause of the New Mexico Constitution.

"LULAC views ALIPAC's attempt to influence our New Mexico State Legislature as a continuation of a national trend of racist militancy against Hispanic civil rights," said Dennis W. Montoya, LULAC's New Mexico Civil Rights Chair and District 1 Director.

"Our shared concern is the continued harassment of immigrants by the Governor's administration, as well as her apparent lack of concern for the impact her approach is having on New Mexico families," said Sam Bone, President of New Mexico's NAACP. "This constant attack on people that have abided by the current driver's license law is an abuse of power at the very least and is not at all reflective of New Mexico's values. We worry that this driver's license repeal effort is a the first step in the erosion of civil rights for all vulnerable minorities in our state."

Montoya went on to state that the Governor's approach towards immigrants represents "her lack of connection to the people of New Mexico, and a frightening display of overt discrimination. This repeal effort isn't about what's good for New Mexico, it's a part of a larger political strategy to alienate Latino communities from Arizona to Alabama. New Mexico has worked hard to foster positive and respectful race relations since statehood, and we don't appreciate these outside ideologies based on the politics of hate."

"We encourage the legislature to stand up to the Governor and support reasonable proposals that address fraud in the driver's license process, keep all New Mexico drivers insured and protect all of us from run-ins with uninsured motorists," said Bone of the NAACP.

Photo by M.E. Broderick.

September 22, 2011 at 06:59 PM in Border Issues, Civil Liberties, Hispanic Issues, Impeachment, Legal Issues, NM Legislature 2011, NM Legislature Redistricting 2011, Right Wing, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Guest Blog: Who Stands to Gain From Hanna Skandera's Faulty Approach to Education Reform?

Mikecorwin This is a guest blog by Michael Corwin, Executive Director of the Independent Source PAC of Santa Fe. It's cross-posted in the PAC's new 8-page electronic and print publication, New Mexico's Spyglass (pdf) -- which is a must-read for anyone interested in learning the facts that expose "the actions, agendas, and hypocrisy of conservative candidates, elected and appointed officials and interest groups." Great work by a new organization with a top-notch investigative team. Everyone interested in holding government accountable should check out more of their work on their website, as well as in their new publication.

The National Research Council says Hanna Skandera’s brand of “Education Reform” does not work. So why is the Martinez Administration so gung ho about an approach that is clearly not what’s best for the children? Who really stands to gain from their faulty approach?

Skandera and Martinez have begun instituting the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s (“FEE”) one size fits all cookie cutter agenda of ending “social promotion,” “incentivizing” teacher and school performance, replacing experience and training with “effectiveness,” replacing teachers with technology guides, using “proprietary” curriculum and teacher training and privatizing public school through “choice.”

The National Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences. It conducts research to provide advice to the nation’s decision makers through a congressional charter. It is agenda free.

FEE is entirely agenda driven. Well, it is also driven by its desire to enrich its friends and cohorts with taxpayer money that should be going to teacher salaries and school infrastructure.

Holding Back Students Doesn't Work
In testimony on “High Stakes Testing and Social Promotion” before congress, Robert M. Houser, who chaired the Committee on Appropriate Test Use Board on Testing and Assessment for the National Academies, stated, “with respect to retention in grade, the research evidence is overwhelming: Simply holding back students who have not achieved to the appropriate standard does not work.”

Not only does ending social promotion not work according to Houser, “but flunking them, holding them over for a repeat year, and simply assuming that this will help them overcome their educational deficits, is ineffective and may even aggravate an already untenable situation.” Houser’s research found:

  • Students who have been held back typically do not catch up.
  • Low-performing students learn more if they are promoted- even without remedial help—than if they are held back.
  • Students who are held back are much more likely to drop out before completing high school.

Relative to New Mexico, a minority majority and poor state, was Houser’s finding that “minorities and poor children are the most likely to be held back.”

Test-Based Incentive Programs Don't Work
The National Research Council has also weighed in on “incentive programs, which impose sanctions or offer rewards for students, teachers or schools on the basis of students’ test performance” in a recent report entitled, “Current Test-Based Incentive Programs Have Not Consistently Raised Student Achievement in the U.S.” The study found that school-based incentives gains occurred only in elementary grade mathematics, and are so small that claiming these incentives will help us compete internationally is a joke. In fact, incentives to test scores showed only a .08 standard deviation, improving from 50th percentile to 53 percentile versus the 84 percentile achieved in high performing countries. It will never make us competitive. The National Research Council using “low-stakes tests” that are not linked to incentives found that “the overall effects on achievement tend to be small and are effectively zero for a number of incentives programs.”

The study found that attaching incentives to test scores has several detrimental impacts:

  • They encourage teachers to focus narrowly on the material tested (teaching to the test).
  • Students knowledge of untested materials may stay the same or even decrease.
  • Test scores give an inflated picture of what students actually know with respect to the full range of content standards.

As a result the report found, “it is unreasonable to implement incentives tied to tests on a narrow range of content and then criticize teachers for narrowing their instruction to match the tests.”

Education should not be about teaching to the test. It should be about teaching how to think and provide fundamental skills that allow the student to become a productive member of society.

What Does Work?
So what really does work? According to the National Research Council, smaller class sizes, better-trained teachers and principals, challenging curriculum, high expectations, good after-school programs and summer school “can make a large and positive influence”.

In other words focus on the needs of the individual students, identify those that need assistance and provide it to them. For generations, American students that had trouble learning to read were given pull out training by remedial reading teachers.

This was a very effective approach, but then districts eliminated those positions. Why not bring them back? There are also thousands of retired teachers and other volunteers, who are happy to donate their time to do pullout remedial reading.

Skandera's Approach Benefits "Proprietary" Programs
Skandera’s approach to educational reform relies heavily on protecting the financial interests of companies and their “proprietary” curriculums and training programs … Teach for America, K-12, Inc., Laying the Foundation and of course FEE.

Perhaps this is due to Skandera’s lack of classroom experience and history of working for companies that sell training programs.

Skandera’s approach has only nominally asked those that are in the trenches -- teachers -- about approaches that will work. It is time for those who really care about education to do just that.

This is a guest blog by Michael Corwin, who is the executive director of Independent Source Pac and a licensed private investigator. Corwin has been conducting civil and criminal investigations since 1988. He has provided political opposition research and rapid response investigations in approximately 170 political races. He operates the firm Corwin Research & Investigations, LLC in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Corwin is the author of the books the "Everyday Detective" and the "Training Manual on Private Investigation." He has been a featured speaker and conferences and seminars. Corwin’s cases have been featured in the local and national media including an Edward R. Murrow award winning Dateline NBC episode. From 2006 through 2010 Corwin conducted investigations for the New Mexico Judicial Standards Commission.

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

September 13, 2011 at 06:21 PM in Education, Guest Blogger, Independent Source PAC, NM Legislature Redistricting 2011, Right Wing, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

CWA: Governor Susana Martinez’s Dangerous New Agenda Raising Red Flags

Cuidado! The Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 7076 in Santa Fe released the following statement today strongly warning that the agenda of Governor Susana Martinez increasingly appears to be headed towards imposing union-busting measures on government workers that are even worse than those we've seen in other states. And her misguided agenda, pumped by the infamous Koch brothers via ALEC, could also lead to a system of growing cronyism and political patronage. A must-read column:

Is New Mexico the latest battleground for ideologically-motivated union-busting?

In an apparent egregious political miscalculation (and despite surefire warning signs coming out of Wisconsin and Ohio) New Mexico appears next in the line of states battling over the voice of middle-class state workers. At the behest of Governor Susana Martinez, New Mexico appears dangerously close to forcing through a power-grabbing contract with its employees — a contract that, if approved, is likely to have serious consequences for the rise of public corruption and cronyism in the state. This most recent case of government overreach has left political observers and New Mexicans alike wondering whether the state will play host to the next showdown over basic workers’ rights.

A System of Cronyism and Political Patronage: New Mexico workers are not unfamiliar with the brand of government overreach Susana Martinez has proposed in the most recent round of negotiations. State employees are already restricted in what they are allowed to negotiate for — they’re currently prohibited from bargaining for pensions; and have in the past been forced to take furlough days, pay cuts, and heavier workloads with little say in the process.

Martinez’s demands go even further, and if implemented, have dangerous implications for the escalation of corruption and cronyism in New Mexico State Government.  Among her proposals:

  • Sick Days: Workers will be prohibited from using sick days to care for an ailing spouse or child.
  • Flex scheduling: a system that allows workers to rearrange schedules or request make up hours in case of an emergency — will be abolished.
  • Annual Reviews: A total elimination of annual performance evaluations. Under Gov. Martinez’s proposals, evaluations will take place only when a supervisor chooses to conduct them. The right of workers to challenge negative performance evaluations — a favorite tool of managers wishing to engage in retaliatory action against workers — will also be eliminated.
  • Outsourcing: The Governor has requested, through her contract proposal, free reign to outsource as many state jobs as possible to the private sector, allowing her to reward her largest private sector contributors with lucrative public contracts. 

Not even Gov. Walker in Wisconsin, whose anti-union policies drew hundreds of thousands of protestors to the state capitol for weeks, or Ohio’s Governor Kasich, who will face a popular referendum on his anti-collective bargaining in November, attempted to remove so much from state workers. Gov. Martinez’s proposals translate into a near-feudal public employment system, where upper-level managers possess exclusive, un-checked control over workload, performance reviews, discipline and preferential treatment.

Mirroring Wisconsin and Ohio: These days adopting or copying the anti-worker policies of Governors Walker and Kasich in Wisconsin and Ohio would strike any keen political observer as foolish and politically risky — no matter how dire a particular state’s economic projection. This summer both Governors have found themselves and their parties in real danger of losing significant political support after forcing anti-collective bargaining, pension-slashing legislation through their state’s legislatures.  Their critical mistakes — leading to the loss of two Republican seats in the Wisconsin state senate and the potential renegotiation of SB 5, the anti-collective bargaining law Kasich carefully shepherded through the state legislature — now appear as obvious warning signs; helpful indications of what not to do as a state leader.

Gov. Martinez seems to have missed that memo. Her administration is currently attempting to negotiate a new contract with the state’s employees that far “out-Walkers” what the Wisconsin Governor himself shepherded through the state’s legislature. Policies like the ones she’s proposing have no doubt been deemed politically toxic by governors of other states, but for some reason the Governor seems intent on fully silencing the voices of the state’s workers. 

Unseemly Influences: A number of outside forces have helped to shape Martinez’s new direction.  During the 2010 campaign cycle, the infamous Koch brothers — notorious for their close ties to ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) and for their principled donations to ideologically extreme right-wing Governors, causes and national-level elected officials — contributed $10,000 to the Martinez campaign. Martinez also received $1.3 million from the Republican Governor’s Association, who themselves took over $1 million from the Koch brothers.

But it’s not just Martinez’s campaign contributions that make for obvious ties between her administration and the outside right-wing groups most known for tampering with state legislative activity. State political blog Clearly New Mexico reported earlier this year that “error-ridden language from a bill crafted by the billionaire Koch Brothers and served up as a template for a number of states” had recently surfaced in the New Mexico state Legislature. The legislation — a near replica of one of ALEC’s model bills, provided to state legislators for a small membership fee — would have pulled the state out of the Western Climate Initiative (a regional pact formed in 2007 to reduce the effects of climate change).

In an odd and unlikely coincidence, withdrawing from the WCI also happens to be listed as one of the top recommendations of the Governor’s Small Business-Friendly Task Force, which appears to recommend Martinez “revise or rescind virtually every pending environmental” regulation “and a number of existing ones.” [Clearly New Mexico, March 17, 2011]

Possible VP Impact: Gov. Martinez’s high approval rating and sound victory over Democrat Diane Denish in her 2010 race for Governor has led members of both the state and national media to consider her a top contender for the Republican Vice-Presidential Nomination. However, if Wisconsin and Ohio serve as any indication, Martinez’s anti-worker proposals have the potential to severely damage her image and thus impact her chances of receiving the nomination. Both Walker and Kasich watched their popularity plummet after instituting union-busting legislation and now face nasty uphill political battles months after passing their respective bills.  

Such ideologically extreme anti-worker proposals have the potential to define Gov. Martinez to a broad swath of people to whom she may be unfamiliar — in a way that has the potential to be unfortunately damaging in 2012. Hard talk around unions may be what works in a GOP primary and might prove popular with the GOP’s ideologically extreme base  — but what’s important for the general election and the vice-presidential nod is another thing altogether. 

September 13, 2011 at 04:40 PM in Jobs, Labor, Right Wing, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Independent Source PAC: Is there a Hidden Agenda in Governor Martinez’s Education Agenda?

Governor Susana Martinez has added “social promotion” to the list of items she wants legislators to address in the special session on redistricting that started this past Tuesday. According to Michael Corwin, Executive Director of the new Independent Source PAC, the move is part of a nationwide agenda on the part of right wingers with questionable ethics out to make a buck on the backs of taxpayers.

“Ending social promotion sounds so harmless. It even sounds like a good thing -- if a kid isn't proficient in 3rd grade, hold them back," stated Corwin. "But, what Susana Martinez and (Education Secretary designee) Hanna Skandera haven't told you is their actions are part of a national agenda put forward by the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE). Once you know about the people behind FEE, it becomes clear that the child's best interest is not what's at stake here,” Corwin added.

Corwin points out that the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) was formed and is operated by Jeb Bush, Zachariah P. Zachariah and Brian Yablonski. While you often hear about Bush -- the former governor of Florida and the public face of FEE -- it is Zachariah and Yablonski who have managed to fly below the radar. And for good reasons, as their ethical misdeeds are legendary:

Zachariah:

  • Under investigation by the Federal Government for fraud and insider training for several years.
  • Eventually sued by the federal government for using insider information to make illegal profits and for sharing that insider information with his brother and a friend so that they could also make a bunch of money.
  • Was successfully sued in a class action lawsuit for refusing to pay mandatory overtime as required by law.
  • Was successfully sued twice by two different women for gender discrimination.
  • As a member of the Florida Board of Medicine recently voted to allow a convicted rapist just released from prison to practice medicine because the rape didn't happen during his work hours.

Yablonski:

  • Is a Vice-president of the St. Joe's Company, which is currently under federal investigation for fraud and other illegal practices by current and former company officials dating back to 2007.
  • A Florida grand jury convened to investigate government corruption highlighted the Fish and Wildlife Commission, of which he has been a commissioner since 2004, as the poster child for corruption in Florida.

According to Corwin, FEE is funded by for-profit educational technology companies with a vested financial interest in "reform," including getting paid with our tax dollars for permission to use their proprietary training programs and curriculums on those students who will not be "socially promoted."

“It appears Hanna Skandera is FEE's champion in New Mexico -- and the phrase “ending social promotion” is their new stalking horse in the attempt to open the state’s cash register for out-of-state education pirates,” Corwin said.

“The relationships between all of these public, private and non-profit entities that Skandera, Bush, Zachariah, Yablonski and others are involved with should start popping up red flags here in New Mexico, as Martinez and Skandera appear to be offering up our children as guinea pigs for this corporate education experiment,” declared Corwin.

“Do we really want our children's future determined by such ethically challenged men as those that founded and oversee FEE? Are they really in this for the benefit of our children or the benefit of their bank accounts?” asked Corwin.

For more background Information on this issue and to see the source documents backing up the information offered by Corwin, go to the Independent Source PAC website. For further information please contact: Michael Corwin Independent Source Pac http://www.independentsourcepac.org corwinri@mac.com (505) 250-0244

September 8, 2011 at 07:27 AM in Education, Independent Source PAC, NM Legislature Redistricting 2011, Right Wing, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Susana Martinez/GOP to Sen. Mary Jane Garcia: Na Na, Na Na Na!

Grease5
Susana: Pink Lady Complex?

As the Santa Fe New Mexican's Steve Terrell Tweeted yesterday afternoon, State Senator Mary Jane Garcia (D-Dona Ana), the Majority Whip, appeared with Governor Susana Martinez at a press conference about the governor's bill to stop social promotion -- to hold third graders back a grade until they can read at the appropriate level. Although Garcia had supported a similar bill last session, yesterday she unexpectedly said the bill shouldn't be debated in the upcoming special session:

"It's premature," Garcia said of the bill. She pointed out that taxpayers will have to fork out about $50,000 a day for legislators to attend the special session, and she stressed it's not the right time to push for educational reform, given the need to focus on redistricting of political boundaries based on the latest census numbers.

... "I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to you beforehand. But I made this decision just last night," Garcia said to Martinez. "I was mobbed with calls from everybody, saying, 'You can't do that. You can't take away a parent's rights. We don't want our kids to be held back. We want them to go on and achieve.' " 

Sen. Garcia then apologized again to the governor, and Martinez replied, "that's ok, everyone is entitled to their opinion." I guess Susana was more miffed at Sen. Garcia than she let on. Or she believes that revenge is best when served up (at least somewhat) cold.

Later in the afternoon, the Republican Party of New Mexico sent out a scathing press release repeatedly attacking Sen. Garcia for "taking a cheap shot" at Gov. Martinez, and then dredging up incidents from the past to try to embarrass Sen. Garcia. Susana might just as well have saved everyone time and effort and instructed the GOP spinner to write a press release containing only the phrase "na na, na na na!" repeated over and over again. It's that juvenile and vengeful. Well, nobody ever claimed that Susana Martinez or the NM GOP are models of dignity, restraint and maturity.

Images If this is how Susana expects to capture the VP slot on the GOP presidential ticket, I'd have to say her judgment is more than a little off. Then again, tea partyish right wingers seem to really like women candidates who "talk tough," cultivate a rough "law and order" image, pack "heat" and use rhetoric that exhibits the worst qualities of nasty banter heard in high school locker rooms from the 1950s. Think "Grease" or any number of entirely forgettable teen B-movies of the 50s era. All Martinez needs to complete the picture is a hot pink jacket and a ratted up bouffant hairstyle held together by a can of Aqua Net.

Governor-shooting
Susana "Pinky Lady" Martinez at the shooting range

Saying that Sen. Garcia "once again proved that no cheap shot is below her," the release quotes GOP executive director Bryan Watkins saying, "Garcia would rather take political cheap shots than improve our schools."

The release goes on to inform readers that, "Garcia has a history of taking cheap shots, including against Barack Obama, who she called arrogant." It then moves on to a report of Garcia "attacking" Martinez last year related to the Baby Brianna bill, and ends with the outrageously inaccurate claim that Gov. Martinez puts New Mexico above partisan politics. Yeah, we've all noticed that, right?

Granted, some of the statements attributed to Sen. Garcia are not exactly politically correct, but the venom expressed in the press release is rather shocking, even for the New Mexico GOP. And that's saying something.

Susana Martinez has been taking a lot of guff for trying to pack the agenda of the upcoming special legislative session on the already contentious issue of redistricting with bills meant to nurture wedge issue frenzy -- like another stab at repealing driver's licenses for foreign nationals and the social promotion bill touted yesterday. Sen. Garcia is quoted in a KOB.com story as being very critical of the governor's plans for the session:

"We may end up being here the whole year and not get the redistricting done," said Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, a Las Cruces Democrat. "I want to focus on redistricting, and I'm thinking of the $50,000 we're gonna spend every day to keep us here in Santa Fe."

She'd Kick You in the Kidneys
Another Dem legislator is also seeing the nasty "Pink Lady" side of Susana Martinez. According to an Albuquerque Journal story,

Rep. Eliseo Alcón, D-Milan, made it clear Wednesday that he didn’t see any compassion in Republican Gov. Susana Martinez as he made a speech outside the Roundhouse doors.

“I believe that our governor up there on the fourth floor, if she were to see you laying on the floor right there because you were hurt, she would probably go kick you in the kidneys just because she can,” Alcón said. “And that would be all she would do. She feels that just because she is governor she can hurt whoever she can.”

As the Journal reports, Alcón was speaking after an announcement that Martinez’s administration would be sued over an administrative action that requires 10,000 foreign nationals with in-state licenses to prove their residency in New Mexico or risk losing their licenses – a move her critics, and the lawsuit, claim is discriminatory.

Gov. Martinez is developing quite the reputation as a cruel and callous operator, which many right wingers no doubt think is very, very cool. What she's losing in the process, however, is any perception that she knows how to govern wisely and fairly. This is one GOP governor who's never out of campaign attack mode -- and it's ordinary New Mexicans who will suffer for that fact. 

August 30, 2011 at 03:37 PM in Education, Immigration, NM Legislature Redistricting 2011, Redistricting, Right Wing, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Farmington Tea Party Protestor Tells Congressman Ben Ray Lujan to 'Get Out of Politics and Make Room for an American'

BenRayLujan
Photo from Farmington Daily Times online

An article today on Think Progress reports on an ugly incident that took place yesterday in Farmington, New Mexico as Democratic Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03) was preparing to tour Goodwill Industries as part of a tour of local nonprofit organizations. About a dozen rowdy Tea Party protestors showed up to confront him and at least one of them was clearly out of line -- exhibiting the kind of bigotry and xenophobia that Tea Party advocates continually claim are not present in the Tea Party movement:

Tuesday in New Mexico, the strains of racism and ethnocentrism that exist in the Tea Party movement emerged again. As Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) prepared to tour a nonprofit organization in Farmington, he was met by a dozen Tea Party protesters, one of whom asserted that Lujan was not an American. The Farmington Daily Times reports:

Darrel Clark of Farmington said he came for “a chance to see the elusive representative.”

He needs to get out of politics and make room for an American,” Clark said.

Luján is a lifelong New Mexican. Clark later explained that he meant an “American patriot.”

Though Clark did not elaborate on what he meant by “American patriot,” it’s not hard to understand his implication.

 Congressman Lujan, always the gentleman, didn't take the bait:

Luján appeared to take the protest in stride.

"It's important that we get out to visit our constituency," Luján said. "We think that's important, and we'll continue to do that ... Luján noted that the protesters were "mostly respectful."

According to one protestor, the demonstration was associated with the San Juan County 9/12 Project (aslo see Facebook page), a Tea Party-aligned group: 

"I thought we'd come out and share our thoughts with him," said Joe Rogers of Farmington, who called friends to join the protest.

As the Think Progress article noted,

The Tea Party continues to claim that racism, ethnocentrism, and xenophobia are not driving forces in its movement, but the actions of its members continue to belie those claims. Many of the movement’s causes have targeted Latinos — advocating for harsh immigration laws, referring to them as “anchor babies” and “welfare queens,” urging followers to attack Latinos, and fighting to rewrite the 14th amendment to remove its guarantee of birthright citizenship.

Where is the Republican Party of New Mexico in all of this? I would think that any legitimate political party organization would quickly be issuing a statement refuting awful statements like that of right winger Darrel Clark. Then again, the GOP nationwide has long looked the other way when its Tea Party supporters and other extremist segments of its base use hate-filled invectives and over-the-line speech to attack Democrats. Both Tea Party members and all Republicans should be ashamed of this incident, and publicly condemning the racist speech of Darrel Clark and anyone else on the right who is stooping to this kind of behavior. I won't hold my breath.

August 24, 2011 at 05:45 PM in Hispanic Issues, Racial Minorities, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Republican Party, Right Wing | Permalink | Comments (15)

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Free-Wheeling Conversation With Diane Denish: Part 2

Di-Pic- Here is Part 2 of our recent interview with former Lt. Governor and Democratic candidate for governor, Diane Denish. In this installment, Diane discusses the Susana Martinez administration, the congressional races in CD1 and CD2, Democratic messaging and the media. 

Late last month we published Part 1 of our interview, which covered Diane's views on the U.S. Senate race in New Mexico, the Darren White controversy, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, the federal debt ceiling, jobs, fracking and mining. Thanks again to Diane Denish for taking the time to discuss the issues with us in an informal setting.

SUSANA MARTINEZ ADMINISTRATION

DFNM: How is the Susana Martinez administration doing in your view?

DD: Well I think she's just a new version of Bill Richardson. She's putting her friends who helped her with money in high places within her administration.

I'm also disappointed because she really has not put out one agenda about jobs. We should all hope that she does really well because we need jobs, we need work. Her focus has been on law enforcement, and the Darren White thing gives her a chance to put more focus on that.

I read the recent Albuquerque Journal article about her first six months, even though we no longer subscribe to that paper. In their headlines, they mentioned jobs, but there was nothing in the article about any efforts on her part to create jobs. They focused on her push about the drivers' licenses; critics mentioned that she was not engaged and that she doesn't like to meet with people -- which I had heard from others.

Martinez is still in the phase of blaming Bill Richardson for everything and continuing to talk about possible pay to play from the past. I'm disgusted by it. Most of the stuff that came out in the gubernatorial campaign was a surprise to us. We used to say, what could possible be next? 

DenishObamaABQcr DDD&TeagueShake_DCJan08 DianeDenishMeetup1.10

DFNM: What about Martinez's approval numbers in the recent Public Policy Polling survey, including some support from Democrats?

DD: Well, I think Dem support in the PPP polling was at about 32% -- not bad but really not strong either. I understand that in Senate campaign polling in February Martinez was at about 62% approving -- and that she's now at 52%. In the PPP poll, she was at 49% favorable to 45% unfavorable. Martinez isn't faring that well in the first congressional district. She should be above 52% in the first six months. She's doing good compared to other new GOP governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin or Rick Scott in Florida, but not good for a first-time, brand-new governor early on.

DFNM: Did you see the report showing that New Mexico is dead last in job creation? Do you see anything that's being done at the state level to create jobs?

DD: No, I don't see anything concrete being done. In fact, the Martinez-backed filibuster of the capital outlay bill in the legislature by Sen. John Ryan was a job killer. The way Gov. Martinez and Republican legislators have approached the film industry is a job killer. They've been killing jobs -- and they don't have a focus on how to create jobs. I don't see any plan.

Martinez and the Republicans are working to kill the SBIC, which has been the source of capital for micro loans that create jobs. I believe Martinez has mostly been on a mission to get rid of whatever the previous administration did to create a vision for the future. I really believe this should be a fight about a real vision and about jobs and how we're going to get there -- not a battle on purely partisan grounds.

Same thing at the city of Albuquerque. This Darren White thing -- that's just a big mask -- this city and state are losing jobs by the boatload. We need to focus on a combo of old and new industries, and we're not doing anything about the new industries under Republican governance, like green energy.

As far as environmental issues in the governor's race, I tried to stick as close as I could to Democratic values. I did disagree with Governor Richardson on the pit rule -- and it's not what controls drilling. If they think there's oil down there they will go get it.

Now it's all about natural gas -- they're all selling us a bill of goods. I just read about Chesapeake Energy having what's being called their "Enron moment" in a New York Times story. The claim is that national gas reserves are performing at 7-10%. Well, that remains to be seen.

What controls drilling is the market. Do a smart regulation policy. Oil and gas drilling and markets are very different -- it's not one size fits all. Environmentalists killed me on my pit rule position, but I was pro-choice, pro-labor, pro-teacher, pro-small business. I was everything else that I could be in terms of taking strong Democratic positions in my race. Remember -- I was raised in redneck country. I have come a very long way!

DDD&LujanTalk_DCJan08 AdamsDenish DenishABQ

CD 1 CONGRESSIONAL RACE

DFNM: What's your take on the Democratic primary race in CD1 to replace Rep. Martin Heinrich?

DD: I think the field has yet to play out. I think there will be more entries into that field. No predictions until I see all the candidates who will be in there. I think the district will change a bit during redistricting, but not enough to make it substantially different than it is now. I think Michelle Lujan Grisham is taking a strong look at it. I think Stuart Paisano is still on the list. Those are two names that I've heard.

I think Eric Griego is going to be in the primary race until the end. That Progressive Change endorsement really was a boost for him. We'll see.

DFNM: Can Democrats hold onto the CD1 seat in 2012?

DD: It's going to be a real battle and we're gonna have to work our tails off to do it. Everybody's going to have to work hard because the electorate is very volatile and we can't predict where we're gonna be in the economy. I think if Obama stands his ground on this budget battle and doesn't give up too much territory, that will work in our favor. There are a number of things that have to happen for us to maintain that seat, and I think it will be hard.

Even if we win, the seat will be hard to maintain going forward. I hope somebody says to the next person coming in, "if you win, we want you to be there for five terms so we can solidify this is a Democratic seat." It takes 3-4 terms to really do it, and we never ever had the seat before Martin so it's tough.

I understand Martin has the right to make the decision he made to leave the CD1 seat -- that the life of a congressman is a grind and that he has children -- but I wish we'd had those conversations with him before Jeff Bingaman retired, or last year, and let him know he had to make a commitment to hang in there for 10 years in the House. I can certainly understand why he wants to run for Senate.

However, when you talk to my friend Harry Teague, he says he always envied Martin, with a house right in ABQ in the middle of his district and near the airport. Harry had to fly into El Paso, Midland or Albuquerque, then drive around his huge CD2 district three or four days and then drive back many miles to get on a plane. So CD1 is our prime district in terms of structuring your life in a way that you don't have to be so beat up and tired out.

DDD&HeinrichShake_DCJan08 DianeDenishConventionCr DenishColon

DFNM: Your name was mentioned a lot for both this House seat and the U.S. Senate seat. What made you decide not to enter either race?

DD: I took a look but, as I have always said, it's not really the life I want. The Senate is very prestigious but New Mexico is where I really belong, where I want to be. As for the House seat, there's the two-year election grind, and it's also bothersome to see those congressional candidates sitting in those cubicles making those phone calls day in and day out all the time to raise money.

However, a whole lot of people encouraged me to run for the House seat. I got lots of encouragement from Emily's List and others, but my own family wasn't very supportive. I didn't think it was the right race for me. If the right opportunity came around, I think I would run again. I'd like to maybe run for office one more time -- not just to run for the sake of running, but because it would be something meaningful to me. Timing is everything.

Being in the House or Senate is a different thing than wanting to be governor. I'd look for opportunities for executive leadership in Albuquerque or the state. I think I'm more suited to that than Congress.

CD 2 CONGRESSIONAL RACE

DFNM: So how is former CD2 congressman Harry Teague, having lost to Steve Pearce?

DD: He's doing good. He thought it was the adventure of a lifetime to serve his home district in Congress and he enjoyed it.

DFNM: Who can take on Pearce and win?

DD: If one of the great, strong women representatives in that district or somebody in the Las Cruces area would decide to run, that would help. But I don't know that any of them wants to do it. This year, working with my friends on the national level on different things, I've learned that this has been one of the toughest years to recruit candidates that they've ever had. That difficulty doubles when it comes to women, because they say, who needs it? The money, the intellectually dishonest way that the media plays out,the savage 30-second ads (on both sides) all make it a hard sell. They think, why would I put myself through that?

DianeDenish DenishElectionNight DenishPancakesCr

DEMOCRATIC MESSAGING AND THE MEDIA

DFNM: How can Democrats get their message out if many media outlets -- including the ones like TV news and local newspapers that ordinary people access -- refuse to cover the issues from any perspective other than a right-wing slant?

DD: We're terrible at that and the media doesn't help. For instance, during my campaign for governor, media wouldn't look into things we thought represented important failings on the part of Susana Martinez. The information we provided was based on significant research showing that many things she did as DA were designed to protect the sheriff's department. Nothing was ever printed about that.

The consolidation of the media across the country is a real threat to democracy because are about eight companies that own everything -- print media, radio, tv -- and that affects everything we do. Here's an anecdotal story: I went to UNM and taught a class on ethics in business, media and politics. I spoke to a student who interviewed Clear Channel execs and were told straight out that they promote the conservative agenda.

If that's fair, then who in big news media promotes the progressive agenda? The students couldn't name any major progressive news outfits except maybe NPR, which is seen as "neutral." This brings us to Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post -- and Rupert Murdock. He has had a terrible impact on news and politics, but he may finally be getting his due.

As for newspapers, the New York Times is what I read now. I need a hard-copy newspaper in the morning and that used to be the Albuquerque Journal but it's now very clear that most of what they provide is biased and slanted. They ignore or play down stories that don't fit their ideology. We now subscribe to the daily Times, not just the weekend editions, and we never manage to get through the entire paper. There are so many great stories, but there are very few of those kinds of news sources left, and many people don't have easy access. Where I come from they don't even sell the New York Times. so people don't really have access to the facts that are out there in the so-called "liberal media."

DFNM: We often have all the arguments and facts on our side, but we don't have the messaging to make the argument persuasively and widely enough to make a difference. 

DD: We don't, and I don't think either the local or the national folks are doing it that well. For example, in the 2000 in the Gore v. Bush presidential race, the Supreme Court pick won and I don't think the American people really understand that. On the local level we have all these communications trainings for candidates and all, but the party doesn't say, "we're going to hire a really professional and experienced communications officer and we're going to fund that generously." Instead, they bring in inexperienced people or people who work on it only part time.

DFNM: On the other hand, Republicans spend a lot of money on communications, supporting blogs and news outlets, developing effective short-term and long-term messaging strategies and hiring seasoned people to get the message out. Look at the local Rio Grande Foundation. They operate with relatively astounding amounts of money and other resources.

There don't seem to be any sophisticated communication strategies being implemented by Democrats that compete effectively with GOP operations. Even at the national level, Obama does his thing to work towards his reelection, but what's our bigger message as a party?

DD: I know. Consider The Independent. They take nonprofit foundation money so they can't really be seen as "partisan" in any way, even if the Rio Grande Foundation certainly is. They're not a useful business model in helping our cause. Their funding almost guarantees that they can't really be going after the stories they need to go after to show our side of things.

Click on photos for larger images. All photos by M.E. Broderick.

August 15, 2011 at 03:30 PM in Democratic Party, Diane Denish, Eric Griego, Media, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, NM-02 Congressional Race 2012, Rep. Harry Teague (NM-02), Right Wing, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (3)