Sunday, October 31, 2010

Photos and Videos: Labor 2010 GOTV Rally in Albuquerque

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Check out photos (above) and video clips (below) of some of the speeches from Saturday's high-energy Labor 2010 GOTV BBQ and Rally in Albuquerque. Besides lots of hard-working labor folks and other Dems, candidates from up and down the ticket attended to thank folks for all their hard work on the campaigns. These strong supporters of working families and economic justice urged everyone to keep on working from now right through Tuesday, when the polls close at 7:00 PM.

Senator Jeff Bingaman, Senator Tom Udall, governor candidate Diane Denish, lieutenant governor candidate Brian Colón, Rep. Martin Heinrich, State Auditor Hector Balderas, State Treasurer James L. Lewis, Secretary of State Mary Herrera, land commissioner candidate Ray Powell, Rep. Moe Maestas, Rep. Al Park, Rep. Eleanor Chavez, Rep. Ben Rodefer, Rep. Karen Giannini, Rep. Jack Thomas, New Mexico House candidate Alex Russell, City Councilor Ike Benton, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, Appeals Court Judge Robert Robles and Metro Court Judge Christina Argyres were all on hand to share one main message:

If Democrats vote, Democrats win!

Also in attendance was Republican and former Governor Dave Cargo -- who has strongly endorsed the Diane Denish - Brian Colón ticket. As Cargo has said, the Republican Party of today isn't his Republican Party. And he's backing Democrat Denish over extreme right-wing Republican Susana Martinez. Good decision!

Regardless of what the pundits or the polls may say, the only real poll is on Election Day, when voter turnout is what matters. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state by a healthy margin and if our voters turn out in good numbers, we will win -- no doubt about it. So get your body down to a campaign office, the Dem Party or OFA tomorrow, Monday and all day on Election Day if possible. There's so much at stake and unity and action are the keys to victory! Yes, we can! Si, se puede!

All photos and videos by M.E. Broderick.

October 31, 2010 at 12:17 AM in 2010 General Election, 2010 NM Governor's Race, 2010 NM Legislature Races, Brian Colon, Diane Denish | |

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Harry Teague Rallies Early Voters in Doña Ana County

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Note: Early voting began on October 16, 2010 and will continue through October 30, 2010. Click on your county for early voting locations in your area. Sample ballots are available here.

Contributing writer Stephen Jones checks in with more on-the-ground coverage from Southern New Mexico.

Congressman Harry Teague joined other Democratic candidates in rallying Democratic voters at a series of early vote events in Doña Ana County on Saturday. Events were held at Chaparral, Sunland Park, Anthony, Mesilla and Las Cruces.

“I want to continue to be your strong independent voice in Washington,” Congressman Teague told voters. He outlined his accomplishments of his first term and reminded voters that he, unlike his predecessor, has had an open door and engaged in frequent outreach the 2nd Congressional District. He pointed to his many Harry in Your Hometown events, his sponsorship of the national “Katie’s Law” and his initiative to slash Congressional pay for the first time in 77 years. “When I went to Washington, the nation was bleeding millions of jobs. From that difficult start, we have turned the corner,” Teague said.

He contrasted his own strong record with that of his opponent, Steve Pearce, the Republican who preceded him, and now seeks to recapture the office. “They drove us into the ditch,” Teague charged. “Now Pearce says he has ideas to turn us around. If he had so many good ideas, he probably should have raised them when he held the office.” Teague summed up the accomplishments of his predecessor with a single sentence, “He’s pretty much all hat and no cattle,” he said.

Other Democrats outlined the accomplishments of Doña Ana’s Democratic office holders including Teague. Councillor Nathan Small of Las Cruces reminded voters that many of the Republican candidates for state office are running on a platform of rolling back regulation of the mining industry. “Do you know when the last time we had new regulations on that industry in New Mexico? 1872!” Small said. “Just how many generations into the past do they want to go?”

State Representative Jeff Steinborn noted the progress that has been made in education, health, and economic development in recent years. He urged voters to get out and vote to keep the state moving forward. He reminded Democrats that this is a turnout election. His colleague, State Representative Nate Cote emphasized that Democrats from Doña Ana County have been leaders in bringing transparency and ethics to the legislature, while State Representative Joseph Cervantes reminded voters what New Mexico was like under gridlocked government. “My colleagues never experienced the government by veto and complete lack of direction that passed for a governing philosophy under Republican leadership in New Mexico,” he said.

Other candidates appearing at the Doña Ana Events were State Representative Mary Helen Garcia, State Representative Joni Gutierrez, Appellate Judge Mannie Arrieta, Magistrate Judge Olivia Garcia, Bill McCamley, candidate for Public Regulation Commission, Andy Segovia, candidate for Doña Ana County Assessor, Juan “JR” Stewart, candidate for Sheriff, Jose “Joel” Cano, candidate for Magistrate Judge, and Billy Garrett, candidate for Doña Ana County Board.

Photos by Stephen Jones. To see more posts by Stephen, visit our archive.

October 17, 2010 at 11:20 AM in 2010 General Election, 2010 NM Legislature Races, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Democratic Party, Las Cruces, NM-02 Congressional Race 2010, Rep. Harry Teague (NM-02) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Today 10/16: Las Cruces Early Vote Rally with Harry Teague and Dems

Please join Harry Teague, Nate Cote, Jeff Steinborn,
Billy Garrett and other local candidates
for an Early Vote Rally
Meet the candidates and vote early!
The event will be held at:
Johnson Park
Corner of Picacho and Main St., Las Cruces
Saturday, October 16th, from 5:00 – 6:00 PM

For more information, contact Luke at or (575) 556-4965.

October 16, 2010 at 09:53 AM in 2010 General Election, 2010 NM Legislature Races, Las Cruces, NM-02 Congressional Race 2010, Rep. Harry Teague (NM-02) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Candidates Address Colonia Residents at Chaparral Forum

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Contributing writer Stephen Jones checks in with more on-the-ground coverage from Southern New Mexico.

Southern New Mexico candidates faced off at a well attended community forum held at the Betty McNight Multi-Purpose Community Center in Chaparral, New Mexico, a small rural community near the Texas border in south central New Mexico. About sixty residents turned out from Chaparral and surrounding communities to attend the event, which was sponsored by the Chaparral Community Development Association.

The forum drew candidates from both Doña Ana and Otero Counties. The community straddles the County line. Chaparral is designated by the State of New Mexico as a Colonia, a rural borderland community in an unincorporated area which has traditionally lacked adequate infrastructure.

County Assessor
The forum of both Democratic and Republican candidates was generally low key and friendly, though occasionally took on an edgy tone. “I’m an American and a God-fearing father of six,” said Tyson Murphy, the Republican candidate for Doña Ana County Assessor, in his opening remarks. The comment and tone seemed to be aimed at the largely Hispanic audience, many of whom were Spanish-speaking and immigrants.

In his opening remarks, Andy Segovia, the Democratic candidate for County Assessor responded, “I’ve come down to this community and worked to serve you. I’ve been here to support you,” Segovia said. Segovia is currently the deputy in the County Assessor’s office. Segovia and Tyson are vying to replace the outgoing Doña Ana County Assessor, Gary Perez. “Over the past eight years we’ve developed award-winning systems in the Assessor’s office,” Segovia said, “I’m bilingual and I am able to reach out to all of our communities. I’m always able to help you.” Asked what changes he would make to the office, if elected, Murphy said he would bring “fresh eyes” to the operation and “have an open mind toward changes.”

Most of the other opening remarks centered on the panel of candidates recounting their backgrounds and qualifications for the specific offices they were seeking.

Judicial Candidates
The three judicial candidates on hand, Democrats Jose “Joel” Cano, Appellate Judge Mannie Arrieta, and Rick Wellborn, his Republican opponent, spent considerable time explaining the different judicial levels and functions of the Doña Ana County Court system. Cano, who is seeking the position of Magistrate Judge, termed his office “the quality of life judge.” Magistrate Judges primarily handle traffic and minor civil cases. The Appellate Court is charged with major civil and criminal caseloads.

Cano, who is a retired police officer, suggested that the magistrate court needed to make greater use of legal provisions that permit communities to develop community service programs. “I’ve worked at every level of the community,” he said, “and I intend to bring that experience to the Court.” Arrieta and Wellborn resumed their ongoing debate over experience and how best to address the backlog of legal cases pending before the Court. Arrieta has 25 years of experience in primarily civil law. Wellborn has 15 years of experience, primarily in criminal law. 68% of the cases in the Appellate court are civil cases.

Another issue raised was the pending closure of the Anthony, New Mexico Magistrate Court, which is eleven miles from Chaparral. If the court is closed, Chaparral residents will have to travel to Las Cruces, 36 miles away. All of the candidates urged local residents to work with their representatives to keep the court open.

Another contentious issue was immigration. Asked whether they would support the formation of an oversight commission to address complaints over enforcement practices in the region, all three Sheriff candidates responded they would not. Sheriff Todd Garrison, the Doña Ana County incumbent, responded that his office was the authority charged with enforcement, in coordination with Federal authorities, and he would not support a new authority to address the issue. Juan “JR” Stewart, the Democratic candidate, reminded the audience that immigration enforcement falls under Federal and not under local authority. He promised to work for fairness and coordination between all existing law enforcement authorities. Wally Anderson, the Democratic candidate for Otero County Sheriff, said that illegal immigration was caused by illegal employers and that State and Federal authorities needed to address what he called “the real issue.” Anderson has received support from the Border Patrol Unions.

Another controversial immigration issue was the New Mexico law that allows residents to acquire driver’s licenses without a Social Security number. Representative Joseph Cervantes pointed out that local law enforcement had actively lobbied for current law, and that the New Mexico policy had drastically reduced uninsured drivers and traffic enforcement issues. While New Mexico’s law has enhanced enforcement, Cervantes said, uninsured drivers and high auto insurance rates remain a major problem for neighboring states.

Representative Nate Cote (D-53) responded that he had not been in the legislature when the current statute was passed, but was willing to revisit it. “I think we can address the issue of non-citizens holding New Mexico driver’s licenses, while allowing people to drive and acquire insurance,” Cote said. “I’m opposed to it, right off the bat,” said Rick Little, the Republican candidate for the 53rd District. He said he would work to repeal the law.

Economic Development
The role of the legislature in economic development was also discussed. Reps. Nate Cote and Joseph Cervantes addressed the Colonia development funds that they have worked to acquire, including a million dollars in funds for Chaparral. “I was proud to get those funds for this community,” Cervantes said. Asked if he believed in “trickle-down” economics, Rick Little said “I do.” He called for a “tax break” for communities like Chaparral. Little said New Mexico needed to become a “business friendly state. Government isn’t going to spend us out of the problem,” he said.

Building Codes and Infrastructure
Local building code violations were also discussed extensively at the Chaparral forum. Code violations and substandard infrastructure are ongoing problems in the Colonias. Asked if State and County candidates were willing to act against violators, the candidates responded affirmatively. “We already have the laws,” said Janet White, an independent candidate for Otero County Board, “but if elected officials aren’t willing to enforce them they aren’t worth very much. Lack of enforcement leads to lack of credibility,” she said. L.C. Marshall, the Democratic candidate for Otero County Commission District 1, concurred, but also pointed out that he was already involved in working to insure that landowners met standards for code enforcement. “We’ve looked at a new subdivision here in Chaparral with 107 lots,” Marshall said, “and are working to make sure it meets the codes."

Members of the Chaparral Association at the forum pointed out that people who buy lots on unimproved lands have no reason to expect the seller to supply infrastructure, including roads, sewers and water. On the larger issue of code enforcement, Representative Cervantes noted that New Mexico’s Colonia law had created new code standards to protect the communities, and that residents should work with their representatives and the Attorney General’s office to ensure enforcement.

Public Regulation Commission
Stephanie DuBois was the only candidate seeking election to the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) to appear at the forum. She outlined the duties of the office, which regulates insurance and utilities in the state, and promised to be a watchdog for the public on the commission. “I’m running a publicly funded campaign,” she said. “My opponent is accepting  donations from the companies that are regulated by the commission. 16% of his contributors are from Texas. I might ask what interest Texas has in your public regulation commission.” DuBois' opponent is Patrick Lyons, who currently is the sitting Land Commissioner.

Asked what the first thing she would do if elected to the PRC, DuBois responded that she would establish methods of communication for her office. “The thing I hear most often from voters is that they have no way to communicate with members of the commission.”

Photos by Stephen Jones. To see more posts by Stephen, visit our archive.

October 14, 2010 at 10:41 AM in 2010 General Election, 2010 Judicial Races, 2010 NM Legislature Races, 2010 NM PRC Races, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10/20: Rep. Mimi Stewart's We Can Do It Fundraiser with The Adobe Brothers

Here's why we need to keep Mimi

MimiStewartFrom Rep. Mimi Stewart:
Are you a New MexiCAN
or New MexiCAN'T?

Be a part of Mimi Stewart's We Can Do It! Fundraiser with the fabulous western swing band The Adobe Brothers!

No doubt it looks tough this November, but that's all the more reason to get your friends, family and neighbors calling, walking, and helping push Democrats out to vote.

We're committed and we're working!

I would be honored for you to join me for a FINAL fundraiser and learn how you can get involved in my re-election campaign these final few weeks:

We Can Do It Fundraiser!
Wednesday, October 20, 5:00 PM-7:00 PM
O'Niell's Pub, 4310 Central Ave. SE, Albuquerque
Music featuring The Adobe Brothers!
($25 suggested donation, ALL contributions appreciated!)

Don't Miss Mimi's Big Walk!

Walk Albuquerque's Gateway neighborhoods for Mimi! On Saturday, October 23rd, from 9:30 AM-12:30 PM. Meet at Mimi's house at 313 Moon NE.

Sign Up TODAY! Email Mimi at or call Juan at 907-3788.

October 12, 2010 at 11:51 AM in 2010 NM Legislature Races, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

10/12: Santa Fe Fundraiser for Rep. Benjamin Rodefer

Please join us for an important fundraiser to help
Democratic Rep. Benjamin Rodefer
retain one of the most contested swing seats in New Mexico.
Speaker Ben Lujan
Rep. Luciano "Lucky" Varela
Rep. Brian and Kelly Egolf
Conservation Voters NM Action Fund
Morty Simon and Carol Oppenheimer
Sally Rodgers
Trudy and Ed Healy
John and Linda Buchser
Earl and Deborah Potter
Peter Page

This Tuesday evening, October 12, 2010
5:30-7:00 PM, Hotel Santa Fe
Appetizers will be served. $75+ contribution requested.
1501 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Donations may also be made instantly online at

October 9, 2010 at 10:52 AM in 2010 NM Legislature Races, Events, Santa Fe | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Guest Blog by NM House Candidate Alex Russell: Remember the Energy, Stay Committed, Join Me on 10/7


This is a guest blog by Alex Russell, a Democratic candidate for the New Mexico House in District 29, which includes parts of Paradise Hills and other areas of Albuquerque's West Side. We hope you'll join Lt. Gov. Brian Colón, State Auditor Hector Balderas and Rep. Al Park to support Alex at his final campaign fundraiser on October 7th. See below for info.

With less than a month to Election Day, we as Democrats have to stay focused on what our families really need, and we need to turn out and vote for it. I am running for our New Mexico House of Representatives because my community needs new leadership and direction.

Two years ago, I remember being at the downtown Hyatt on election night -- there was a feeling of energy and new beginnings. President Obama was elected by a large margin and Democrats carried the day. Shortly after that, Republicans talked about rebuilding, and today it seems they have found a way to again to become relevant in our local conversation by simply rehashing failed policies and repackaging them as novel and fresh.

When I decided to seek the position as State Representative for District 29, it was because I felt I needed to do my part to ensure our nation, our state, and our community pursue the direction that is best for our families, our coworkers, and ourselves. Almost a year later, I am more committed than ever to fighting for the change we need.

AlexRussellblue_campaign_logo As a fellow Democrat, I ask you to remember the energy and enthusiasm we felt two years ago and to continue in your commitment to bring the change we need to New Mexico by casting your vote and electing leaders we can believe in, and who have our best interests at heart. I also ask that you ignore the GOP’s fear mongering, as this is not a solution to the challenges we face. Like so many local candidates I need your vote, because in elections like mine every vote counts, and in our county and statewide elections every vote counts too.

I appreciate Democracy For New Mexico giving me the opportunity to add this post, and kindly ask you to join me, Lt. Gov. Candidate Brian Colón, State Auditor Hector Balderas and Rep. Al Park at my final fundraiser this Thursday, October 7th, from 5:00 to 8:30 PM at the Chama River Brewing Company.

This is a guest blog by Alex Russell. You can also find him on Facebook. 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.

October 6, 2010 at 11:11 AM in 2010 NM Legislature Races, Events, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (4)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Democrats Launch Election Stretch Run in Doña Ana County

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Contributing writer Stephen Jones checks in with another report from Southern New Mexico.

Surrounded by his family, Andy Segovia, Democratic candidate for Doña Ana County Assessor called on Democrats to fight for good government and urged voters to get out and vote at a well attended fundraising event at Mesilla Park on Friday. “I’m running for County Assessor because I believe in public service,” Segovia said. “I believe in working for people.” 

Jose L. "Joel" Cano, Democratic candidate for Magistrate Judge, echoed Segovia and promised to bring fairness to the Doña Ana County Magistrate Court if elected in November. Segovia and Cano, countywide candidates in New Mexico’s second largest county, have been working hard to raise the visibility of county offices that are often overlooked by voters in state and local election campaigns in southern New Mexico. 

A Turnout Election
Stressing that the campaign is now a “turnout election,” State Representative Mary Helen Garcia, whose district includes Sunland Park on the far southern border of New Mexico, was on hand in Mesilla Park on Friday to help rally area Democrats for the final push to victory in November. She praised Segovia and Cano for their leadership in the County and called on voters to also stand behind the entire Democratic team. 

Rep. Garcia warned that Democratic values should trump surname when voters cast their ballots next month, and that Democrats should “Come out big, and bring five of your friends to the polls with you.”

We Are Going to Win This Thing
On Saturday morning Segovia and Cano joined State Representative Nate Cote at the meeting of the Doña Ana County Democratic Women and again stressed their shared themes of good government and effective leadership. “Compare my record to my opponent, and I’m sure you’ll agree that electing me is the right thing to do” said Cano.

Segovia stressed the importance of Democrats remaining on message with County voters and not to “get derailed” by desperate negative campaigning on the other side. “We are going to come out and we are going to win this thing,” Segovia said. “I promise to make you proud.” When elected Segovia promised that, “First of all I am going to listen. Second of all, my office will provide fair and equitable services."

Representative Nate Cote said Doña Ana and neighboring Otero Counties were well positioned to become major economic engines for all of New Mexico. “We have the educational facilities and the people here to succeed,” Cote said, “We need to continue to provide the leadership to develop the infrastructure and support for education we’ve already begun here. It’s important you help us get Democrats elected,” Cote told the group.

Rep. Jeff Steinborn: Rocking the Robledos
On Saturday evening State Representative Jeff Steinborn and Democrats turned out to rock the Robledos at a well attended fundraiser held at the foot of the Robledo Mountains in northern Doña Ana County near Radium Springs. Music by the Mountains was Steinborn’s major fall fundraising event as the election season enters high gear.

Besides the food and festivities at the affair, the crowd was treated to Jeff Steinborn on the drums performing for the Rhythm City Dogs, the headline band, and one of three musical acts that wowed the crowd on Saturday night. Besides standing up for good government in Santa Fe, Representative Steinborn is an accomplished musician.

Others on hand at Steinborn’s Music by the Mountains event were Segovia, Cano, Las Cruces Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Thomas and Las Cruces Councillors Gil Sorg and Nathan Small.

Photos by Stephen Jones. To see more posts by Stephen, visit our archive.

October 3, 2010 at 12:44 PM in 2010 General Election, 2010 Judicial Races, 2010 NM Legislature Races, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Democratic Party | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NM House Candidate Joel Davis: Stop Subsidizing Out-of-State Corporations

JoelDavis Attorney Joel A. Davis, the Democratic candidate for New Mexico State Representative in District 44 in Rio Rancho, called a press conference yesterday and laid it on the line regarding his incumbent opponent. “It’s arrogant to point the finger about higher taxes, not bring a single idea to fix the problem or bother to even show up for work in tough times.” Davis, standing in front of a shut-down Rio Rancho small business, was referring to Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert, who did not present a single bill in the past legislative session to fix looming budget problems and missed hundreds of key votes.

Davis pointed out that the incumbent was one of two missing Republican legislators who could have shot down the budget she loudly complained about, but who were absent when it was time to vote. The budget passed narrowly with a two vote margin.

“You simply have to show up to work and take practical, thoughtful and deliberate action,” Davis said. “If she really cared she would have showed up for work and killed the budget bill. What would happen to you if you didn’t show up to work 2 to 3 days per week … every week?”

Davis suggested that instead of playing ‘silly electioneering games’ the incumbent should have shown up to work and presented at least one practical idea on how to ensure decent schools, and plan for our future.

“Our district deserves hard work and thoughtful approaches to our problems,” Davis said, “For instance, it’s time to stop subsidizing out-of-state corporations, like Wal-Mart, with tax loopholes, while we pay the difference!”

Davis was referring to the tax reform, known as “combined reporting,” which closes tax loopholes that major multistate corporations use to avoid state corporate income taxes while small businesses and citizens have to pay state income tax.

Davis then directed a question at incumbent Rep. Powdrell-Culbert: “How can you possibly think it is okay for small businesses and New Mexican’s to pay higher state income taxes while Wal-Mart skates?”

“Right now Wal-Mart does not pay a penny to New Mexico for income taxes, while you and I, and our local small businesses make up the difference at a cost between $24 million and $70 million per year according to several studies,” Davis explained.

“In a time when we are talking about raising taxes, why does the incumbent give lip-service to lowering taxes?" Davis asked. "When she bothers to show up, why does she vote to make each of us pay more because of her out of touch notions?”

“My Economic Blue Print for New Mexico doesn’t have room for out-of-state corporations that take our money and run out of state while we pay higher taxes. It is just plain wrong, and it is hurting small business,” emphasized Davis.

Joel Davis has a real chance to take this seat if folks step up and help him. Please call his campaign at (505) 301-3394 for yard signs, post cards or to volunteer. Contributions may be mailed to: Joel Davis for New Mexico, PO Box 45318, Rio Rancho, NM, 87174. You can also contribute online here.

September 29, 2010 at 03:18 PM in 2010 NM Legislature Races, Corporatism, Economy, Populism, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (0)

TONIGHT 9/29: Reception Supporting Re-Election of Rep. Karen Giannini

Please Join Hosts
State Senator Tim Eichenberg, Bernalillo County Democratic Party Chairwoman Ana Canales, Carl & Julie Akins, Former State Senator Janice Paster and Reena Szczepanski
For a Reception In Support Of
Rep. Karen Giannini
NM House of Representatives, District 30
Wednesday, September 29th, 5:30 PM
Artichoke Cafe, 424 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque

Click for flyer. Suggested Contributions: Hosts $250, Sponsors $100, Supporters $50. RSVP to: Matt Ross at (505) 263-4879, or

September 29, 2010 at 09:13 AM in 2010 NM Legislature Races, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Santa Fe Mayor David Coss Endorses Stephanie Richard in NM House District 43 Race

Stephanierichard Santa Fe Mayor David Coss endorsed House candidate Stephanie Richard today in her run for the House District 43, which represents all of Los Alamos County and parts of Santa Fe and Sandoval counties.

“I am pleased to offer my support to Stephanie Richard. Stephanie is sharp, energetic and has made her priorities clear: she’ll focus on local job creation and work to improve education. My mother taught and my daughter teaches and Stephanie understands that education is the foundation for creating quality jobs and attracting businesses to the area,” Mayor Coss said in a written statement.

Mayor Coss added, “Taxpayers benefit when state and local governments work collaboratively and I look forward to working with Stephanie soon.”

“It’s an honor to have Mayor Coss’ endorsement,” Stephanie Richard said. “I hope to work closely with elected leaders in the region on shared priorities. Jobs and schools are points of intersection. One of the smartest things that New Mexico can do to start reviving the economy is to invest in education, and I am committed to that.”

Stephanie Richard is a lifelong educator who has worked both abroad and in Northern New Mexico. She will focus on the needs of families in our district—and investing for our future, today. Local job creation, improved schools and support for small businesses are her priorities.

Richard is challenging long-time Republican incumbent Jeannette Wallace, who is considered very vulnerable this year, in the General Election on November 2, 2010. Stephanie is a smart and savvy progressive candidate and needs our help, even if we don't live in her district. We can pick up this seat if we help her get the on-the-ground and financial resources she needs. Check out her website and get involved!

September 27, 2010 at 12:02 PM in 2010 NM Legislature Races, Santa Fe | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Southern New Mexico Candidates Square Off at League of Women’s Voters Forum

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Contributing writer Stephen Jones checks in with another report from Southern New Mexico.

Candidates for Public Regulation Commission, State Representative, and District Judge addressed voters at the Las Cruces League of Women Voters candidate forum held at the Munson Senior Center in Las Cruces on Wednesday evening. While all of the candidates for Public Regulation Commission demanded accountability and ethics on an elected board noted for its mismanagement and corruption, candidates for the State Legislature from both parties stressed the importance of education and jobs to the future of the region, and called for greater efficiencies in government services.

State Rep Candidates
When questioned about what government waste should be cut, Republican candidates for State Representative called for “lower taxes, less regulation, and less spending,” but failed to provide specifics. Debra L. White, Republican candidate for State Representative in the 36th District, said she would “cut bureaucrats.” When pressed for areas she would cut, White responded, “I got nothin’,” adding, “I’m not sure, really, I’m new at this. Give me a day and I’ll get back to you.” Terry McMillan, Republican candidate for State Representative in the 37th District, stressed his commitment to protecting education and health, which he termed “critical to our future,” but suggested we must stop “the unrestrained growth of government.” To restrain growth he said New Mexico needed to “cut the waste out of Medicare and Medicaid,” which he termed “important resources,” but the “biggest strain on insurance companies.” Medicare and Medicaid are public, not private insurance programs.

Ricky Little, Republican candidate for State Representative, in the 53rd District, said cutting taxes was the key to economic stability. “When you add up State, Federal and local taxes it comes to 63%,” Little said. Little added, “Our taxes are more than other states, like Texas.” Nate Cote, Democratic State Representative in the 53rd District, countered that our top tax income rate is 5.3%. “We had the biggest income tax cut in state history in 2003,” Cote said, “down from a top rate of 8%.”

State Representative Joseph Cervantes (D-52) said, “We have to be honest about the costs of government.” Cervantes noted that the economic downturn had deeply stressed New Mexico’s treasury, but that the state was in much better shape than most other states, including “all of our neighboring states.” Responding directly to Little, Cervantes said, “Someone here raised the Texas example. Texas is facing bankruptcy.” Besides education, jobs and health care, Rep. Cote said New Mexico had to rebuild its infrastructure in order to keep employers in the State.

PRC Candidates
In the two hotly contested contests for Public Regulation Commission (PRC) from the southern tier, all four candidates agreed that the PRC must step in and take a direct role in overseeing insurance rates and utility fees, something they found “lacking” in the current board. All four candidates agreed that the elected members of the PRC should be responsive and responsible for insurance oversight, which is currently in the hands of the Superintendant of Insurance, an office which is supposed to be accountable to the PRC, but whose decisions the PRC members, as elected officers, have no veto power over.

The long history of corruption on the PRC was also a central issue raised by the candidates. “This election comes down to two things,” said Bill McCamley, Democratic candidate for PRC in District 5, “accountability and ethics.” Bill Hall, the Republican candidate for District 5, called on the PRC to “act responsibly” in decisions made by the board, “before the legislature abolishes it and it winds up appointed by the Governor.” Poor governance from Santa Fe was another issue raised by all four candidates. Bill McCamley promised to bring meetings of the PRC out into the districts to allow the public to participate.

“I have no DWI's, never sexually harassed anybody, and haven't hit anyone in the head with a rock!” said Stephanie DuBois, Democratic candidate for PRC in District 2, referring to legal, ethical and criminal lapses that have occurred on the current PRC. She promised that she would be a full time member of the PRC. “The job pays $90,000. Voters have the right to expect a full time representative,” she said. DuBois also promised to demand that utilities prove they need rate hikes before she agreed to vote for one.

Patrick Lyons, the Republican candidate for District 2, promised to bring the PRC “up to snuff.” He pointed to his record as Land Commissioner, the only state office to have “a flat budget” during his tenure, he said.

District Judge
District Judge Mannie Arrieta and his opponent Richard Wellborn vied with each other over who had the most experience. Arrieta, who is seeking re-election, has a strong background in civil law. Wellborn, an assistant District Attorney, also has a background in criminal cases. The vast majority of cases in the District Court are civil cases. Arrieta has 26 years of experience in legal practice, Wellborn has 15 years of experience.

Others Participating
Also presenting at the forum were State Representative Joni Gutierrez (D-33) and her Republican opponent Virginia Robertson. Representative Jeff Steinborn and Representative Andy Nunez were unable to attend due to family issues. State Senator Mary Jane Garcia is presently hospitalized due to a mugging in Albuquerque and did not appear. Other candidates on hand, but not presenting at the forum, were Andy Segovia, Democratic candidate for Doña Ana County Assessor, Jose “Joel” Cano for Magistrate Judge and Billy Garrett, Democratic nominee to Doña Ana County Commissioner.

Photos by Stephen Jones. To see more posts by Stephen, visit our archive.

September 23, 2010 at 10:53 AM in 2010 Judicial Races, 2010 NM Legislature Races, 2010 NM PRC Races, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Las Cruces | Permalink | Comments (5)