Tuesday, January 06, 2009

NM-03: Lots of Excitement on Rep. Ben Ray Lujan's First Official Day on the Job


Ben Ray Lujan, our new Congressman in New Mexico's Third District, was officially sworn in today at the nation's capitol, along with 434 other members of the U.S. House. He takes over the seat representing Northern New Mexico that was previously held by Tom Udall, now our state's Junior Senator.

BenraylujanPhone Chat: We got to talk briefly by phone with Rep. Lujan late this afternoon, as he and his guests were headed over to a ceremonial swearing-in and celebration hosted by the Hispanic Congressional Caucus. Rep. Lujan is expected to be a very active participant in the Caucus as time goes on.

Congressman Lujan sounded excited, and maybe a bit overwhelmed, by the whirlwind of activities he's experienced so far in Washington. He said he's been so busy over the past few days -- in constant motion with meetings, dinners and Congressional events -- that he hasn't really been able to absorb it all just yet.

Host to Forty: Rep. Lujan told us he was hosting 40 members of his family at today's swearing-in events including his dad, Ben, Speaker of the New Mexico House, his mom, Carmen, and other members of the extended Lujan clan. Ben Ray said the smile hadn't left his mom's face all day, and that his dad, too, was beaming with pride as they made the rounds in the historic city. Talk about Cloud 9 for the Lujan family.

Committee Assignment: Ben Ray expressed his satisfaction in being selected to serve on the Committee on Homeland Security. The Committee oversees the Department of Homeland Security, an umbrella group comprised of a wide variety of vital government programs and departments. He told us he looked forward to being involved in many issues, like cyber-security, that will help determine the future missions of Los Alamos and Sandia Labs and benefit the people of his district in many ways.

Rep. Lujan emphasized to us that helping to restore the rule of law and Constitutional protections in terms of human rights, civil liberties and privacy will be one of his most important goals in working with the Homeland Security Committee to end the abuses of the Bush era. You can read more below about the responsibilities of the HSC in a statement released by Rep. Lujan yesterday.

Go, Ben Ray and the Lujan Team: It appears that Congressman Lujan is off to a great start in Washington, where change is in the air and energy is crackling. Good luck, Rep. Lujan -- we all wish you the best and want you to know we have your back as you step into the national spotlight and take the next step in what we hope will be a long career serving the interests of the people.

More on the Lujan's Appointment: A statement released yesterday announced Rep. Lujan's appointment to the Homeland Security Committee:

Rep.-elect Ben Ray Lujan has been appointed to the Committee on Homeland Security. Many of the Committee's jurisdictions are significant to the 3rd Congressional District, including programs, resources and missions at Los Alamos National Laboratories and Cannon Air Force Base.

"As a member of the Committee on Homeland Security, I will be able to work on behalf of important programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Cannon Air Force Base--promoting our nation's security and providing thousands of jobs in the district," said Lujan. "As a Committee member, I will also work hard to protect the civil rights and liberties of all Americans, maintaining these essential protections while keeping our country safe."

The Committee oversees transportation security, border and port security, critical infrastructure protection, cyber security, emergency preparedness, emerging threats, intelligence, information sharing, privacy, civil rights and civil liberties. The Committee has an authorization and oversight role over the Department of Homeland Security. The Committee was created as a select, non-permanent Committee following the September 11th attacks.

Lujan will use his experience working with first responders on emergency preparedness as the Chairman of the Public Regulation Commission to make an immediate impact and provide an important voice on the Committee. With the Public Regulation Commission, Lujan worked with firefighters, the state legislature and other governing bodies statewide to overhaul the New Mexico Fire Fund so that all distributions from the fund, which add up to millions of dollars, will go to improving fire services around the state. The Commission also oversaw the State Fire Academy, which trains between 2,500 and 3,000 first responders every year. In his role as Chairman of the Commission, Lujan worked to fund the program and make sure that the first responders in New Mexico received the best training to protect their communities.

On the Committee on Homeland Security, Lujan will advocate for important programs and institutions in New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District. Los Alamos National Laboratory is a prominent employer and key part of Lujan's district. The lab is on the cutting edge of a number of new technologies that will make our country more secure, including technology that will combat emerging threats to public areas. The lab has long kept our country safe through technological advances.

Cannon Air Force Base resides in the eastern part of New Mexico's 3rd Congressional district. The base recently changed its mission to respond to the needs of the military in the 21st century. Cannon supports special forces missions, which are becoming increasingly important to our country's safety as it becomes more likely that future conflicts will include nontraditional engagement. Intelligence and information sharing are critical to the success of Cannon Air Force Base's new mission and goals. As a member of the Committee on Homeland Security, Lujan will work with these institutions to keep our country safe and create jobs in the district.

January 6, 2009 at 10:24 PM in Government, NM Congressional Delegation, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | |

Thursday, January 01, 2009

NM-01: Javier Benavidez to Coordinate Rep. Heinrich's Community Engagement

JavierbenavidezWhat an excellent choice. A little birdie told me that Javier Benavidez will start work on January 5th as NM-01 Congressman Martin Heinrich's coordinator of community engagement in the District. According to the grapevine, Benavidez will be working alongside Rep. Heinrich and organizing across the office's various departments of field, communications, policy, casework and scheduling to coordinate constituent services and other outreach tasks.

Born and raised in New Mexico, Javier graduated from St. Pius High School in Albuquerque in 1996, earned a B.A. in political science from Santa Clara University in 2000, according to Facebook. This year, he finished a double master's degree at the University of New Mexico in Community and Regional Planning, and Public Administration. Javier previously worked for four years with Heinrich as a policy analyst when Martin served on the Albuquerque City Council, and was involved with many projects including smart growth, community-oriented economic development and a fair wage campaign. He's leaving a job with Conservation Voters New Mexico, where he was a highly effective outreach director, to join the Heinrich team.

Benavidez has also served on the boards of various community organizations involved in struggles for social justice. He's been a board member at 1000 Friends of New Mexico, the Southwest Organizing Project and the Sawmill Community Land Trust. He's also hosted a couple of local radio shows and is well known in Democratic and environmental political circles. Over the years, Javier has worked long and hard for a variety of progressive candidates and causes, and is just an all-around great guy. Congratulations, Javier! We know you'll do a super job in a vital role.

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January 1, 2009 at 01:09 AM in Local Politics, NM Congressional Delegation, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Monday: Rep.-Elect Luján to Hold Office Hours in Santa Fe

If you live in New Mexico's Third Congressional District, here's another good chance to express your views before the start of the 111th Congress -- or just say good luck. On Monday, December 22, Rep.-elect Ben Ray Luján will hold office hours in Santa Fe. Luján will meet with constituents and hear their concerns so he can address them in the 111th Congress. I haven't heard of any other members of our Congessional delegation doing this, have you? Wish they would.

Santa Fe Office Hours with Ben Ray Luján
Monday, December 22, Noon-3:00 PM
Sen.-elect Udall's District Office
811 St. Michael's Drive, Suite 104 Santa Fe, NM 87505

December 20, 2008 at 02:19 PM in Events, NM Congressional Delegation, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Today: Rep.-Elect Luján to Hold Office Hours in Rio Rancho

At least one of our new members of Congress is touching base with his constituents to hear what their views are before heading off to Washington. Always good to see. Today, Friday, December 19, NM-03 Rep.-elect Ben Ray Luján will hold office hours in Rio Rancho. Luján will meet with constituents and hear their concerns so he can address them in the 111th Congress.

Rio Rancho Office Hours with Ben Ray Luján
Friday, December 19, Noon-3:00 PM
Congressman Udall's District Office,
3200 Civic Center Circle NE, Rio Rancho, NM 87144

December 19, 2008 at 09:27 AM in Events, NM Congressional Delegation, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 15, 2008

NM-03: Luján Names Angela Ramirez as Chief of Staff

RamirezMatt over at New Mexico FBIHOP had on this yesterday after attending Ben Ray Luján's town hall meeting on Saturday in Rio Rancho. Today, Rep.-elect Luján officially announced the hiring of a Chief of Staff, Angela Ramirez) (right), to lead his Congressional offices.

"Angela Ramirez has extensive experience on Capitol Hill, leading the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and working with members to develop successful policy agendas," said Luján in a statement. "Angela will be a valuable asset as I begin to serve the people of New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District and shape policy on their behalf."

Angela Ramirez has served as the executive director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus since February 2006. Prior to this position, she was a legislative assistant and then senior legislative assistant for Congressman Joseph Crowley of Queens, New York. In addition to working in federal government, she has served as a Senate fellow in the California State Senate and as a trial preparation assistant for the New York District Attorney's Office. She has also been a healthcare consultant with the Advisory Board Company in Washington, DC.

Angela is originally from Sacramento, California. She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Political Economy and a certificate in Spanish.

Poking around, I found an article written last year by Ramirez for a Princeton publication that sheds some light on her background and what she values about working in politics -- helping people by having an impact on issues that matter. In that and many other ways, she seems like a good match for Rep.-elect Luján. Good luck Angela!

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December 15, 2008 at 11:36 AM in Local Politics, NM Congressional Delegation, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Reminder: Ben Ray Luján Town Hall Meeting in Rio Rancho Saturday

Luján at Rio Rancho Town Hall during campaign

Here's an excellent opportunity to discuss issues you care about with NM-03's Congressman-elect Ben Ray Luján before he heads off to Washington next month. Incoming Rep. Luján is hosting a town hall meeting in Rio Rancho this Saturday, December 13, from 5:00-6:00 PM at the Rio Rancho City Hall Council Chambers, 3200 Civic Center Circle, Rio Rancho, NM 87144.

Ben Ray says, "Thank you for all of your hard work and for helping us bring home a strong victory. Please join us, and share your thoughts and questions on issues that are important to you!"

This is the last in a series of Thank You New Mexico Town Halls held by Luján. He's been meeting with constituents in Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Clovis, Farmington and  (also this Saturday) over the past few weeks, a sign that Ben Ray intends to stay in close contact with the New Mexicans he will be representing in Congress.

December 12, 2008 at 11:18 AM in Events, Local Politics, NM Congressional Delegation, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | |

Friday, November 21, 2008

NM-03: Luján to Hold Thank You New Mexico Town Halls Across District

Ben Ray Luján (r) talks to voter at town hall before election

That Ben Ray Luján (or maybe I should start getting used to calling him Congressman Luján). He never stops. Fresh off his week-long trip to DC to attend the freshman orientation for new members of Congress, he'll be reaching out again to New Mexicans in the Third Congressional District -- starting on Monday.

Congressman-elect Ben Ray Luján just announced the schedule for his Thank You New Mexico Town Hall Tour to express his gratitude to the voters of New Mexico and to talk with them about the issues facing the state and the country:

"I'm excited to meet with the people of the district, thank them for their support and talk to them about the challenging issues facing our state and our country," Luján said.

As part of the Thank You New Mexico Tour, Luján will hold several regional town halls. Every town hall is open to the public. I know I'm going to try and go to one of them to hear Ben Ray's take on his week in Washington and his plans for the future.

Here's the schedule for his Thank You events:

Thank You New Mexico Town Halls:

For Mora, Colfax, San Miguel, Harding and Union Counties
Monday, November 24, 6-7 PM

Donnelly Library, New Mexico Highlands University
9th and National, Las Vegas NM, 87701

For Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, Taos and Los Alamos Counties
Tuesday, November 25, 6-7 PM

Santa Fe AFSCME Office
1406 4th St, Santa Fe, NM 87505

For Quay, Curry and Roosevelt Counties
Wednesday December 10, 2008, 5:30-7:00 PM

Carver Public Library
701 N Main Street, Clovis, NM 88101

For San Juan County
Friday, December 12, 2008, Time TBD

Location TBD, Farmington, NM

For McKinley County
Saturday December 13, 2008, Noon-1:00 PM

McKinley County Courthouse, Commission Chambers
207 West Hill Street, Gallup, NM 87301

For Sandoval and Bernalillo Counties
Saturday, December 13, 5-6 PM

Rio Rancho City Hall Council Chambers
3200 Civic Center Circle NE, Rio Rancho, NM 87144

During the election, Luján held Standing up for New Mexico Town Halls in every county in the District, allowing him to meet with voters and discuss the issues important to them. As a member of Congress, Luján will hold regular town halls to keep an open dialogue with the people of New Mexico.

Photo by M.E. Broderick.

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November 21, 2008 at 02:35 PM in Events, NM Congressional Delegation, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Blue Blowout in New Mexico

State Treasurer James Lewis at Dem Victory Party,
Albuquerque Convention Center:
Of the people, by the people, for the people. A clean sweep.

I don't even know where to begin writing about this. I don't think it's totally sunk in yet. Intense emotions bubble to the surface. Sharp realizations of the extent of our victories puncture my thoughts. But I haven't yet grasped the true enormity of the change that was set in motion yesterday in precincts large and small as the people came out in huge numbers to end the bleeding and start the healing.

James Lewis riffs on victory

All I can say is, we did it. Yes we could, and we did. WE DID! It's almost beyond my comprehension at this stage, but we turned our state into a True Blue New Mexico and took our country back from the forces of ruin. The corner is turned. The change is coming. Positive messages beat negative smears. Hope defeated fear. And the painful shackles of the Bush-Cheney-Rove years are broken at last. Can you believe it?

The crush of people at victory party witness Obama speech

I mean, people, New Mexico's entire Congressional delegation is BLUE! And the victory margins were substantial. We didn't edge them out -- we ran the table in every race. Check out these preliminary results for NM as of 9:39 AM today:

President NM
56.7% Barack Obama
42.0% John McCain

U.S. Senate
61.2% Tom Udall
38.8% Steve Pearce

55.4% Martin Heinrich
44.6% Darren White

55.7% Harry Teague
44.3% Ed Tinsley

56.8% Ben Ray Lujan
30.4% Dan East
12.8% Carol Miller

I'll be writing more today on each of these races and on other contests around our state and our nation. But for now, I'm having trouble just absorbing what went down yesterday -- and beginning to discern its meaning and power. Bravo, New Mexicans. Bravo Americans. The Change We Need is coming. And it's coming from inside every one of us.

Photos and video by M.E. Broderick. See more photos from last night and more videos.

November 5, 2008 at 10:38 AM in 2008 General Presidential Election, 2008 NM Senate Race, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, NM-02 Congressional Race 2008, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

March to Blue in New Mexico (with Updates)

I give up on updates. We're winning EVERYTHING!

MSNBC and ABC call New Mexico for Obama!!!!!!!

ABC calls Ohio for Obama!
Brian Sanderoff calls NM-03 for Ben Ray Lujan!
Fox and Sanderoff call Udall for US Senate!

November 4, 2008 at 07:28 PM in 2008 General Election Voting, 2008 General Presidential Election, 2008 NM Senate Race, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, NM-02 Congressional Race 2008, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3)

New Mexico Congressional Campaigns in Great Spirits, Working Hard

We spoke with NM-03 Congressional candidate Ben Ray Lujan before Noon today and he was very upbeat and excited, but still deterrmined to devote every minute to campaigning until the polls close at 7:00 PM tonight. You know how he is -- always on the go, always reaching out, always working to get more votes for the team. Ben Ray made a point to call and wish Mary Ellen a happy birthday. There was actual singing involved. And it wasn't that bad. Can you believe M.E.'s turning 50 on what is arguably the most important Election Day of our lifetimes? She'll always remember it, that's for sure.

We also heard from Michael Huerta of the Harry Teague campaign in NM-02. No surprise, it looks and feels like a tight race down there and Harry and company are using every last minute to contact more voters. Things seem to be running smoothly at the polling places down South, and campaign staffers and volunteers are in constant motion around the district. Hopes are high. 

Just a few minutes ago we got a chance for a few words with NM-01 Congressional candidate Martin Heinrich, who was in a car traveling to his next stop while juggling two or three calls and no doubt checking his watch. Martin said things seem to be going smoothly at the polling places -- good news. Although he said they're optimistic about a big turnout for Democrats, he wanted us to urge our readers to call everyone they know to make sure they get out and vote.

We also spoke with Heinrich campaign manager Jon Blair just a moment ago and he said they sent out some huge canvassing groups today. There were 125 volunteers in the morning canvass at the main campaign office alone, plus more at their five satellite offices and additional folks working with the Udall and Obama teams. There have been groups of 50 volunteers working the phones most of the day, while Martin travels all over the district, shaking hands and winning more votes.

Last Minute Help Needed at Heinrich Campaign
There are still some Heinrich supporters who haven't yet voted, and Martin stressed they want to leave no vote uncast. If you have time, the Heinrich campaign still needs phone banking help at the main office on 4105 Silver SE, as well as at their satellite offices. If you can help, call the campaign at (505) 244-0022 and find out where you're needed most. This could be the closest race of the three, and we need Martin to head to Congress come January. He's the real deal.

November 4, 2008 at 04:16 PM in NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, NM-02 Congressional Race 2008, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 03, 2008

(Updated) NM-03: Luján to Meet Voters Today in Las Vegas, Mora, Taos; Election Night Party Tuesday

Update: You can listen to an excellent interview with Lujan conducted by Peter St. Cyr at What's the Word. Ben Ray discussses his plans for the next few days, as well as his priorities when (if) he takes the oath of office in DC.
Today, Ben Ray Luján, the Democratic nominee for Congress in NM-03, will meet with voters in Las Vegas, Mora and Taos. Full Schedule, Monday, November 3:

Noon-1:30 PM: Ben Ray Luján will attend a Canvass Kickoff rally in Las Vegas with Chairman Brian Colón and State Auditor Hector Balderas, Las Vegas Campaign for Change Office, 213 Plaza Street, Las Vegas

2:00-3:00 PM: Ben Ray Luján will visit with voters and local businesses in Mora

5:00-8:00 PM: Ben Ray Luján will attend a Last Call for Change phone bank in Taos with Chairman Brian Colón and State Auditor Hector Balderas, Taos Campaign for Change Office, 729 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, Taos

Ben Ray Luján will also host an Election Night Watch Party on Tuesday, November 4, at 7:00 PM at the Hotel Santa Fe, 1501 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe. All are welcome.

November 3, 2008 at 10:44 AM in Events, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Clean Sweep in the Making? Albuquerque Journal Poll Has Obama, Udall, Heinrich, Teague, Lujan Leading

Following on the heels of the last SurveyUSA poll that has Obama leading McCain 52-45% (58-39% with early voters), and Tom Udall ahead of Steve Pearce 56% to 42% (61-35% with early voters), the final polls of this election cycle conducted by Research and Polling Inc. for the Albuquerque Journat show Democrats ahead in the Presidential contest and all the Congressional races. Unfortunately, the Journal polling has small samples and a high margin of error in the U.S. House races, at plus or minus 5%. The surveys interviewed about 400 voters in NM-01 and NM-02, and only 201 in NM-03.

The Presidential and U.S. Senate sampling is somewhat better, with an MOE at plus or minus 3%, based on phone interviews with 1,002 registered voters statewide. 

As usual, the Journal has failed to release the full cross-tabs, so we're operating somewhat in the dark here. Weighting methodology? Not revealed. Breakdown of respondents who've already voted vs. those who say they will? Not revealed. You get the picture. But the results nonetheless provide an interesting snapshot of New Mexico's registered voters who said they had voted or will vote during the period October 28-30, 2008, and the trends are all tilting Democratic:

Obama (D) 51%
McCain (R) 43%
Undecided 5%
Other 1%

Obama 52%
McCain 42%

Obama 50%
McCain 44%

Obama 66%
McCain 25%
Undecided 7%

Obama 43%
McCain 52%

Ages Groups:
18-34: Obama 56%, McCain 38%
35-49: Obama 43%, McCain 49%
50-64: Obama 57%, McCain 38%
65+: Obama 50%, McCain 45%

Central (ABQ Metro): Obama 58%, McCain 36%
North Central: Obama 70%, McCain 30%
Northwest: Obama 26%, McCain 69%
Southwest: Obama 48%, McCain 41%
Eastern: Obama 34%, McCain 58%

Independents (Decline to State):
Obama 49%
McCain 34%
Undecided 11%

Obama 83%

McCain 88%

According to the Journal:

"There is not a lot of cross-over voting going on, and, for the Republicans to win, they typically need to get around 20 percent of the Democratic vote and slightly more independents," Sanderoff said. "McCain hasn't picked up as many Democrats as he needs and Obama is ahead on independents. "People are pretty much voting along party lines, but the independents are moving toward Obama," Sanderoff said.

U.S. Senate
Tom Udall (D) 53%
Steve Pearce (R) 39%
Undecided 8%

NM-01 U.S. House
Martin Heinrich (D) 47%
Darren White (R) 43%
Undecided 10%

NM-02 U.S. House
Harry Teague (D) 45%
Ed Tinsley (R) 41%
Undecided 14%

NM-03 U.S. House
Ben Ray Lujan (D) 51%
Dan East (R) 23%
Carol Miller (I) 12%
Undecided 14%

November 2, 2008 at 10:38 AM in 2008 General Presidential Election, 2008 NM Senate Race, NM-01 Congressional Race 2008, NM-02 Congressional Race 2008, NM-03 Congressional Race 2008, Polling | Permalink | Comments (3)