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Friday, August 31, 2012

Luján Announces Nearly $2 Million in YouthBuild Grants for Northern New Mexico

Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District announced on Wednesday, August 29th that Santa Fe Community College and Luna Community College in Las Vegas are receiving YouthBuild grants that total nearly $2 million. The grants, which are awarded by the Department of Labor, help out-of-school youth earn a GED or high school diploma while learning critical occupational skills in construction, health care, information technology, and other fields. Many participants have been in the juvenile justice system, are aging out of foster care, have dropped out of high school, or are otherwise at risk of failing to reach key educational milestones that lead to career opportunities.

“YouthBuild is a tremendous program that gives young people a second chance to get the education and training they need to get a job and contribute to their community. In addition, it gives them the confidence to achieve their goals,” Congressman Luján said. “The young adults who complete YouthBuild programs demonstrate the determination and perseverance that will be so important to building a successful future for themselves and for their communities.”

Santa Fe Community College is receiving $1,096,661 and Luna Community College is receiving $852,920. The YouthBuild grants announced today are the first awarded under new program regulations, which expand occupational skills training beyond construction to include fast-growing industries such as health care and information technology. The construction skills training programs teach valuable skills to participants who build or rehabilitate housing for local low-income or homeless individuals and families. The non-construction skills training programs include leadership development and community service elements to ensure that youth maintain a connection to their communities through service and volunteerism.

August 31, 2012 at 09:00 AM in Education, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03) | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Their View: A Simple Solution to an Urgent Problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarita Nair To Run For Lujan Grisham Seat On Bernalillo Co Commission

Logo sarita

Sarita nairAlbuquerque attorney Sarita Nair announced her campaign for the District 1 Bernalillo County Commission seat that Michelle Lujan Grisham will vacate on September 7th. Sarita stated:

"I am grateful to Michelle Lujan Grisham for her service to the County and I congratulate her on the thoughtful, courageous decision to step away from the Bernalillo County Commission as she continues her momentous campaign to represent New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District.

"I am enthusiastic about putting my experience as a community planner, lawyer, and advocate for families and small businesses to work for the people of Bernalillo County. In meeting with the people of our District, I hear again and again that they want an energetic, solution-oriented advocate who understands the challenges of the County. Now is the time to pull together with our neighbors to tackle our infrastructure, economic development and planning issues. I am that candidate.

"For the past 15 years I have had the privilege of working on a wide range of issues: from multi-million dollar public-private partnerships to preservation of environmentally sensitive areas; from counseling non-profit, political and faith-based organizations to advocating for land grant water rights; and from community garden preservation to voter protection. These opportunities have given me the skills, experience and network to get the job done for the people of the County."

The first step in Sarita's campaign will be to win the votes of the Democratic Party County Central Committee members who live in District 1, about 150 people, in order to appear on the ballot in the general election. The winner of that election will go on to run against the Republican nominee. Sarita's experience and enthusiasm for campaign work makes her ideal for this intensive ten-week process. "It would be a joy and an honor to work on the coordinated campaign with the other Democratic candidates on the ballot," explained Sarita. "My commitment to raising the money necessary for a successful campaign and getting out the vote will be critical as we head to this pivotal election in November."

Sarita is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Community and Regional Planning and School of Law. She received her undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She has been recognized nationally for her work in business law and for her efforts to increase diversity in the legal profession. She also enjoys pro bono and board service to a diverse group of organizations. Prior to becoming a lawyer, she worked in international development, focusing on environmental planning. She worked on her first issue campaign - to save an open space lot from development - before she was old enough to vote, and has been involved in issue and candidate campaigns ever since. She was a founding board member and served as President of Emerge New Mexico, which trains Democratic women to run for public office and win.

August 30, 2012 at 01:00 PM in 2012 Bernalillo County Commission Race, Bernalillo County, Candidates & Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

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

Guest blog by Shannon Enright-Smith.

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

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

The Right Judge for the Job

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

8/30: End of Summer Party/Fundraiser for Mary Ellen Broderick Campaign for HD30

Come on out to O'Neill's to support Mary Ellen's race to win House seat 30! The host list is growing! Mary Ellen WILL bring a fresh voice for YOU to the Roundhouse!

Meb fr 8.30 001

August 28, 2012 at 04:44 PM in 2012 Legislature Races, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 27, 2012

GOP Push Poll in House District 30 by Mary Ellen Broderick

Barb and me 19yrs
Barb Wold and Mary Ellen in 2008 after the CA Prop 8 passed.

Earlier this week it was reported by many voters in House District 30 that they received a push poll regarding my race against Republican Nate Gentry.

The topic of the push poll – Mary Ellen Broderick is a lesbian! 

Voters heard questions such as “Would you vote for Mary Ellen Broderick if you knew she was a lesbian?” and “Would you vote for Mary Ellen if you knew that she is going to try to get Gay Marriage passed?”

Earlier this year, as I was mulling my run for the House, knowing full well that there was a good chance that the Republican smear machine would come after me, I decided to be a candidate because the problems we face as a state and as a community are too great to sit on the sidelines. My decision was and still is “the time is now.”

Think of all the issues that are so critical to make progress on right now, this is my platform:

  • People out of work and the jobs they lost are not returning
  • Big tax giveaway’s to out of state corporations while local small businesses get a cold shoulder
  • Education spiraling continually downwards, underfunded, and with reform ideas that simply don't work.
  • Protecting and preserving our natural environment
  • Providing affordable healthcare for children and seniors
  • A woman’s right to choose what is best for her is being challenged and a redefinition of rape by the GOP is happening right now.
  • Working families are under attack

Whether or not we solve these problems as a state with forward-looking vision is what this election is about. I have the fresh perspective of an average person that the Roundhouse absolutely needs as we work towards the solutions to these issues.

But let’s talk about my sexual orientation. Yes I am gay, I am a lesbian. I had a wonderful soul mate for 23 years who passed away in December of last year after a short 3 month battle with colon cancer. We were never married, but I am a widow. Would I have loved to have been married to Barb and share all the same rights as heterosexual married couples? You bet. Did I live the vows we were never able to speak in front of our peers and community? Yes I did. I helped Barb with the hardest part of the traditional marriage vows taken – “ In sickness and in health til death do us part.” We were together longer than many married couples and it hurt deeply to pick up Barbs remains and have the words “Never Married” on the death certificate.

So, it is with the inspiration of my life experience that I am running for House District 30 exactly because there are many more urgent matters facing us as women and men, girls and boys.

Barb worked til her dying day trying to affect some outcome of all the troubles facing us now and I hope that I will be able to do so as well in my own way. I am doing what I think is right and what I have every right to do. To whomever is responsible for this push poll, listen up - I am ready for the onslaught of disparaging remarks and fliers because I loved another woman. I run for this NM House of Representatives seat with a deep seeded worry about many issues and matters facing all of us.

To my friends and supporters - I need your help right now. Don't let the Republicans define my candidacy. I am ready for whatever comes my way.

Please visit my website, https://www.electmaryellenbroderick.com/, and sign up to volunteer or make a contribution on myactblue page to show those who wish to run a campaign of misinformation and bigotry that this is not what New Mexico stands for.

August 27, 2012 at 08:00 AM in 2012 Legislature Races, Candidates & Races, Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights | Permalink | Comments (4)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Year of the Women 2012? Happy Women's Equality Day!


92 years ago today August 26th Women got the right to vote. After ratification eight days earlier, the Nineteenth Amendment was formally added to the U.S. Constitution today in 1920. In commemoration of this important event, in 1971, August 26th was declared Women’s Equality Day.

And here in NM on August 26th, 2012 we can report that two woman won two hotly contested primary races for a District Judgeship, and for a NM Supreme Court Judgeship. 

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Martin Luther King

Christina Argyres is Selected as Democratic Nominee for District 2 Judicial Court Judge

Christina Argyres was selected Saturday, by the State Central Committee’s Bernalillo Committee members, as the Democratic candidate for 2nd Judicial District Court Judge Division 2.

Christina Argyes ran against Frank Sedillo, Jeff Rein, Jennifer Romero, and Edward Benavidez and won in the second round of voting against Frank Sedillo.

Official vote count: Christina Argyres – 84 – 67.2% Frank Sedillo – 41 – 32.8% Of 125 total votes cast

State Central Committee Selects Barbara Vigil as Democratic Nominee for New Mexico Supreme Court Vacancy

The Democratic Party of New Mexico’s State Central Committee selected Barbara Vigil as the Democratic nominee for the New Mexico Supreme Court vacancy Saturday, August 25, at a Special State Central Committee meeting.

Barbara Vigil ran against John Kelly, Cate Stetson, Michelle Hernandez, and Victor Lopez and won in the second round of voting against John Kelly.

“The Democratic Party of New Mexico is united behind Barbara Vigil and we will work tirelessly to hold the seat,” said DPNM Chairman Javier Gonzales.

Justice Patricio Serna vacated the position August 23rd after announcing his retirement. Serna served as a New Mexico Supreme Court Justice for nearly 16 years.

Official vote count from second ballot: Barbara Vigil - 197 - 52.53% John Kelly - 178 - 47.47% out of 375 ballots cast.

August 26, 2012 at 10:47 PM in 2012 Judicial Races, Democratic Party, Women's Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chief Judge Barbara Vigil Democratic Nominee for NM Supreme Court

Barbara vigilPhoto to the right was on Michael Padilla's fb page. Thank you Michael Padilla.

On Saturday August 25, 2012, the Democratic Party of New Mexico nominated Chief Judge Barbara J. Vigil as its nominee to the NM Supreme Court for the November 6 General Election ballot at a Special State Central Committee meeting. This Supreme Court position is to replace retiring Justice Patricio M. Serna, who retired on August 24.

“Justice Serna has honorably served New Mexico as a Justice of the Supreme Court for 16 years,” said Judge Vigil. “I hope to continue his legacy of admirable leadership by serving in the important and honorable position.”

Justice Serna’s retirement was effective midnight August 24. The Governor will appoint a replacement to his seat. However, voters will ultimately choose the person for the position in the General Election which is November 6. The winner of the election in November will fill the remainder of Serna’s term which runs through 2016.

“Having served on the First Judicial District Court for 12 years, currently as Chief Judge, the State Central Committee today recognized me as the most qualified candidate for this position,” said Vigil. “I have presided over thousands of court cases and have over 27 years of extensive legal experience in both the public and private sectors. I look forward to traveling the state over the next two months to earn the support of the voters in November.”

Judge Barbara J. Vigil is the Chief Judge of the First Judicial District Court in New Mexico. The First Judicial District encompasses the counties of Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties in northern New Mexico. Judge Vigil is respected across the state of New Mexico as being a fair, dedicated and experienced Judge.

Judge Vigil has served as District Court Judge for over 12 years and has presided over thousands of cases in the areas of complex civil litigation, family and domestic relations matters, child abuse and neglect cases, juvenile delinquency cases, criminal proceedings and appeals of administrative decisions.

While serving as District Court Judge, Judge Vigil also served 10 years as a Children’s Court Judge. Judge Vigil was instrumental in the creation of Juvenile Justice Boards in Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties. These boards served as a vehicle for the receipt of state and federal funds for many social programs serving at-risk youth.

As a licensed lawyer for over 27 years, Judge Vigil has served on many community and legal boards and commissions, including the New Mexico Drug Court Advisory Board and the New Mexico Women’s Bar Association.

Prior to being elected to the bench, Judge Vigil owned her own law office, handling a cross spectrum of cases for individuals and institutions. As a Judge and lawyer for nearly three decades, Judge Vigil has extensive legal experience in both the public and private sectors in virtually every aspect of the law. This includes legal representation of both Plaintiffs and Defendants in state and federal courts.

Judge Vigil earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from New Mexico State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law. Judge Vigil was raised in Santa Fe, NM, and has resided in New Mexico her entire life.

August 26, 2012 at 10:13 PM in 2012 Judicial Races, Democratic Party | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dem State Central Committee and Dem NM Supreme Court Candidate Decision

Welcome to Abq. Democratic State Central Committee (SCC) members!

You all have a very important decision to make this weekend. On Saturday the Dem SCC is tasked with voting for one of five candidates that would be the best democratic candidate to run against the republican candidate for NM Supreme Court on Nov. 6th.

Below are short videos of each candidate summarizing their experience and why they should be the choice for the Demcoratic nominee for NM Supreme Court Judge.

Michelle Hernandez below:

Chief Judge Barbara Vigil below:

Cate Stetson below:

Victor Lopez Below:

John Kelly below:

August 23, 2012 at 11:20 PM in 2012 Judicial Races, Candidates & Races, Democratic Party | Permalink | Comments (0)

08/30: End of Summer Party for Mary Ellen's Race for NM HD30

Mary Ellen Broderick is running as a democrat for the NM House of Representatives District 30. "The more I am in this race the more I am committed." Mary Ellen needs your commitment as well.

Please attend Mary Ellen's August 30th, Thursday evening O'Neill's Fundraiser Party you can download the invite here.

There is so much at stake!

Meb 8.30.12 001

August 23, 2012 at 03:49 PM in 2012 Legislature Races, Candidates & Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 20, 2012

9/14: Women Wine and Chocolate - Emerge NM Annual Celebration

I encourage all to attend or donate to Emerge NM. I am grateful to be an Emerge student of this class of 2012. It is perfectly timed with my candidacy for House Rep seat 30.

Every class is pacted full of information, great speakers, practical tools, and fun!

15 Emerge graduates have stepped up to run for elected public office this 2012 election cycle.

If we want more women in office this is the path to accomplish this effort. Emerge is the perfect name for this organization. The women who pass through this class truly feel as though they are Emerging from a cocoon, breaking through the haze after a long sleep and finding our potential.

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August 20, 2012 at 09:49 AM in Events, Women's Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

NM State Supreme Court Candidates at Bernalillo Co Dem Forum - Part 3 - Closing Arguments

On Thursday August 16, 2012, the Bernalillo County Democratic Party hosted a candidate forum for the 5 individuals vying to be the democratic nominee for the newest New Mexico Supreme Court Justice.

This is Part 3 a continuation of previous post Part 1 and then previous post Part 2.

Part 3 here encompasses the closing statements from each candidate. Listen closely.

Chief Judge Barbara Vigil closing statement below: 

Cate Stetson closing statement below:

Victor Lopez closing statement below:

John Kelly closing statement below:

Michelle Hernandez closing statement below:

August 19, 2012 at 05:00 PM in 2012 Judicial Races, Candidates & Races, Democrat | Permalink | Comments (0)