Monday, May 07, 2012
Sierra Club Chapter Endorses Luján for U.S. Congress
Conservation Group Praises Work to Protect New Mexico’s Environment
The Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club today announced its endorsement for re-election of Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D‑N.M., in the 2012 election.
“Rep. Luján has been an effective and knowledgeable advocate for New Mexico’s environment, and therefore our families and future, since his tenure on the state Public Regulation Commission,” said Susan C. Martin, Chapter Political Chair. “His grasp of energy policy and passion for protecting future generations are great assets to all Americans.”
Among the many examples of Luján’s dedication to ensuring New Mexico’s resources are available for our children to use and enjoy:
• Introduction of the Rio Grande Del Norte National Conservation Area, including the Rio San Antonio Wilderness, Ute Mountain, public lands between Taos and Rio Arriba counties and Carson National Forest;
• Introduction of the National Environmental Research Park bill to promote environmental science programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory;
• Service as chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Task Force on Green Economy and Renewable Energy;
• Support for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would create jobs, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and save billions of dollars in the long term; and
• Introduction of the Community College Energy Training Act of 2009 to support training of technicians to work in the wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy sectors.
"I am honored to have the support of the Sierra Club and its members, who are dedicated to preserving the beauty of New Mexico. From our pristine lands to our potential to be a leader in renewable energy, the Land of Enchantment has a wealth of resources that we must protect for future generations," Luján said.
Along with the endorsement, the Sierra Club will lend its volunteer strength to Lujan’s campaign. “We pledge to do all we can to ensure Rep. Luján is re-elected,” said David Van Winkle, chair of the Sierra Club Northern New Mexico Group. “Dozens of Sierra Club volunteers will contact voters on his behalf, and we will speak to the public as often as possible about his exemplary environmental record. We look forward to many more years of Rep. Luján fighting for the environment in our nation’s capital.”
Friday, June 03, 2011
AFSCME Endorses Rep. Ben Ray Luján for Re-Election in NM-03
Yesterday, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) announced its support for Congressman Ben Ray Luján’s bid for re-election to Congress. New Mexico members on AFSCME’s political committee, PEOPLE, voted unanimously to recommend a national endorsement of the Congressman.
“Ben Ray has proven himself time and time again. He’s one of the hardest workers out there, and he always takes time to listen to us,” said Paul Linville, AFSCME’s PEOPLE Committee member elected to represent Northern New Mexico State Employees.
Nationally, AFSCME is the largest union in the AFL-CIO, and is one of the two largest unions in New Mexico, representing a broad range of workers including corrections officers, janitors, police officers, nurses, water utility workers, and dozens of other jobs that are crucial to the everyday running of our state and its cities.
Donna Hill, a PEOPLE Committee member from New Mexico State University, added, “Our federal delegation helps all parts of our state. Even though Congressman Luján isn’t from Las Cruces, his leadership in fighting for good health care and education for all New Mexicans is appreciated down here.”
Silver City’s Fred Marquez, also a PEOPLE Committee member, echoed the sentiment: “We’re lucky to have a Congressman up North who represents all of the working people of our state. Without Ben Ray, we wouldn’t be climbing out of the recession like we are.”
In response to the endorsement, Congressman Luján said, "I am honored to have the support of AFSCME and the hard-working men and women they represent, people who are the backbone of our communities across the state. New Mexico’s working families have been hit hard over the past few years, and I remain committed to fighting for good jobs and a sustainable economic recovery that will rebuild a strong middle class in New Mexico."
Monday, April 25, 2011
(Updated) No 2012 U.S. Senate Run for Rep. Ben Ray Luján
Update: A spokesman for Rep. Lujan made the following statement to David Catanese about his decision not to enter the U.S. Senate race:
"I appreciate the outpouring of support I have received while traveling around New Mexico these past few months, and my focus will continue to remain on serving the hard-working men and women of New Mexico — fighting to turn our economy around, put people back to work, and move our state forward. After careful consideration, I have decided that I will not seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate race. I look forward to building on my work as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ BOLD PAC and as a member of the DCCC’s recruiting committee to recruit strong candidates who reflect the growing diversity of our country and who will be a part of our effort to take back the House. With BOLD PAC’s historic first quarter fundraising numbers and Census numbers showing the growth in the Hispanic community across the country, I am excited about the favorable position we will be in to energize Hispanic voters and help elect strong Democratic candidates."
According to a Politico story today by David Catanese, Congressman Ben Ray Luján (NM-03) has decided not to toss his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2012:
New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján has told party leaders in New Mexico he will not run for U.S. Senate, POLITICO has learned.
Luján, currently in his second term, had been seriously considering running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, but Rep. Martin Heinrich's ability to quickly coalesce the support of national Democrats likely weighed heavily on his decision.
Instead, Rep. Luján will reportedly run for re-election for his U.S. House seat in NM-03, a heavily Democratic district in Northern New Mexico.
Quoting anonymous Dem sources, Catanese also wrote:
Heinrich, also in his second term, became the first Democrat to enter the contest on April 2, just after the conclusion of the first fundraising quarter. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chair Patty Murray heaped praise on Heinrich during a briefing with reporters and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees endorsed him just last week.
"There was a pretty big message being sent," said one Democrat familiar with Luján's calculation.
In addition, Luján would be risking more than Heinrich if he pursued a run. While the 3rd Congressional District is a safe Democratic seat, Heinrich's Albuquerque seat is competitive. At just 38 years old, Lujan might be thinking he'll have another shot at a Senate seat one day.
"He could sit in his seat until he's chair of a committee or maybe even in House leadership," noted a Luján ally.
Rep. Luján currently serves as a Second Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He's also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Natural Gas Caucus, the Native American Caucus and the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. Rep. Luján sits on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the Committee on Natural Resources.
Catanese also noted that Rep. Luján's decision won't necessarily prevent a Dem primary contest for the Senate seat:
State Auditor Hector Balderas has already filed paperwork for a campaign and is expected to formally announce his bid this week.
While Balderas will go into the primary the underdog, his ties within the Hispanic community provides him with a natural base to build from. In addition, he's proven to be an effective vote-getter. In 2010, Balderas outperformed Heinrich in his district by five points and Luján in his district by two points.
Rep. Martin Heinrich was the top fundraiser among New Mexico's incumbent House members in the first quarter this year, raising a total of $343,500. He has $349,800 cash on hand in his congressional campaign account and all of it can be transferred to his Senate account now that he's decided to enter that race. He declared his candidacy on April 2.
Photo by M.E. Broderick.
To read earlier posts about the 2012 U.S. Senate race in New Mexico, visit our archive.