April 2022

Unified Action: Support the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act

Mary Martinez White described the damage done by the atomic bomb test at the Trinity site on July 16, 1945. She explained that since 1990 the US Government has been compensating citizens who were exposed after WWII to radiation from the Nevada Test Site. New Mexicans were not included in that legislation. Now there is legislation that would expand compensation to include New Mexico and other western states where citizens were exposed to radiation from nuclear tests. 

Mary asked that we contact Rep. Harrell and ask for her active support of H.R/S.2798, the Radiation Exposure and Compensation Act (RECA) Extensions and Amendments. Ask her to contact Rep. Jordan and other members of the Freedom Caucus.

For more information send email to Mary or call her at 505-629-8516, visit Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, and read the National Geographic’s coverage.


Yvonne Flores spoke of the abysmal turnout in primary elections (11% of eligible voters, for example, in a recent primary). She urged everyone to vote and to be involved in voter turnout efforts.

For more information send email to Yvonne.

Guardianship horror story continues

Earl Nissen spoke of the continuing restrictions the court is placing on Dorris Hamilton. Dorris is still confined in an assisted living facility and is not allowed to visit her own home. She has a court appointed attorney in spite of the fact that her son is now officially her guardian. Earl characterized Judge Arrieta’s numerous rulings in this case as “inexplicable.”

For more information send email to Earl.


Rio Hamilton, son of Dorris Hamilton, noted that the court-appointed attorney is still being paid a monthly stipend by Dorris’s estate even though the court-ordered guardianship is no longer in effect. ”If any of you know my mother,” Rio said, “you can imagine that she is really fed up.” Rio noted that every legal opportunity to restore Dorris’s independence has been denied by Judge Arrieta.

For more information send email to Rio.

Laura Montoya, running for New Mexico State Treasurer

Doña Ana County Treasurer Eric Rodriguez spoke in whole-hearted support of Laura Montoya for New Mexico State Treasurer. He said Laura is passionate about public service, savvy about legislation, and committed to creating economic opportunity for all. Eric invited everyone to several events with Laura on May 4.

K-TAL radio interview, 9 a.m.
Branigan Library, 3 to 4:30 p.m.
Bosque Brewing Co. on Telshor, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

For more information send email to Eric.

Ruben Reyes, running for Doña Ana County Assessor

Ruben Reyes, with 27 years’ experience in the assessor’s office, asked support in his bid to become county assessor. He would like to help the public understand their rights as well as the way the assessor’s office works. He’d like to bring back person-to-person interactions (as opposed to referring everyone to the internet for answers to questions) and reach out to smaller communities.

For more information send email to Ruben and follow him on Facebook.

What are you going to do about November?

Gayle Eads has an answer: join a postcard writing campaign. The task is to send 100 postcards each month to voters in swing states. The goal is to help reelect incumbent senators in tough races, senators like Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada. The postcard campaign will begin after the primaries.

For more information send email to Gayle or call her at 575-430-1341.

Robert Lara, running for 3rd Judicial District Court, Division 2

Robert Lara spoke of his experience in family, civil, probate, and election law. He said that he has worked with the district court for five years doing research and writing recommendations for the cases that come before the court. He invited everyone to join him at an upcoming meet and greet.

Meet-and-Greet with Robert Lara
Elena Memorial Plaza in Sunland Park
Thursday, May 5, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

For more information send email to Robert and visit the campaign website.

James Frietze, running for sheriff

Melissa Ames spoke in support of James Frietze, a candidate for Doña Ana County Sheriff. She listed several goals Mr. Frietze proposes for the sheriff’s office including mental health training, mandatory community contact, and reestablishment of bicycle patrols.

For more information visit the candidate’s Facebook account.

Judith Baca, running for probate judge

Judith Baca asked for support as she runs for probate judge. She cited qualifications including 28 years of experience with the district court and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.If elected she wants to educate the community regarding the importance of wills and probate matters. She promised to resume performing marriages as a public service.

For more information send email to Judith and visit her Facebook account.

“Vote for Judge Judy”

Shirley Baca spoke in support of her sister, Judith Baca, for probate judge, asserting that she has the experience to do the job well. “Vote for Judge Judy,” she urged.

Shirley invited everyone to tune in to Speak Up Las Cruces on Wednesday morning from 8 to 10 a.m. She hosts the program with Peter Goodman and Walt Rubel.

For more information send email to Shirley.

EPE TEP and WHEV RIDER, anyone?

Allen Downs explained that El Paso Electric’s Transportation Electrification Plan has some great incentives. Individuals and businesses can get rebates toward the purchase and installation of smart Level 2 chargers. The Whole House Electric Vehicle rider applies to individuals and businesses that have an electric vehicle. They can get a nice rebate on all the electricity they use between midnight and 8 a.m.

For more information send email to Allen.

Ravi Bashker, running for NM House District 38

Ravi Bashker, M.D., asked for support as he runs for NM House District 38, a newly-redrawn district which extends from Socorro to Radium Springs and the northwest quadrant of Doña Ana County. He spoke of his experience as an immigrant, as a veteran of the US Public Health Service, and as a doctor in private practice for 50 years. He spoke of the needs of small communities including broadband access, flood control, education, and health care.

For more information send email to Ravi and call him at 505-480-6172.

It’s not easy being progressive in Wyoming, but it can be done

Marian and Jim Erdelyi thanked PVA for being an inspiration. They started a Progressive Voter Alliance in Larami four years ago, and it is going strong. They gave special thanks to Don Kurtz, Ann Gutierrez, Dick and Sherry Thomas, Ann McCullough, and others who helped them get started. “If you’re ever in Laramie on the third Monday of the month,” they said, “be sure to come to our meeting.”

For more information visit PVA Laramie on Facebook.

Alex Rossario, running for magistrate judge

Alex Rossario, magistrate judge running for reelection, expressed thanks to his supporters. He pointed out that COVID made it extremely challenging to get enough signatures to get on the ballot. He noted that all the current magistrate judges are Democrats and are running unopposed.

For more information send email to Alex.

¿Qué tal? KTAL?

Peter Goodman announced that KTAL, our community radio station, will be holding candidate forums including for District 38, which was just scheduled for May 11. Visit the KTAL website where you can check out schedules, explore the archives, contribute, suggest programs, and volunteer. 

Peter put on his lawyer hat to emphasize the importance of making sure you don’t end up with a court appointed guardianship. He urged everyone to get their wills and advance directives in order and cautioned, “Strangers can take over your life.”

Tara Jaramillo, running for NM House District 38

Tara, a speech-language pathologist and NMSU graduate, asked for support as she runs for NM House District 38. She explained that when her daughter was diagnosed with autism, she realized that the support she needed was not available, so she established Positive Outcomes, a company that provides home-based therapy and other services to individuals with disabilities. Tara said, “I am running because I believe that we need to work on mental health services in New Mexico, especially in rural areas.”

For more information send email to Tara and call her at 575-838-7246.

Volunteers for Tara: Don’t say it’s not your district!

Pat Aguirre, campaign field organizer extraordinaire, announced that she will be working on Tara Jaramillo’s primary campaign. Volunteers are welcome and Pat emphasized that you don’t have to live in District 38 to help–everyone in Doña Ana County needs to care about District 38. Pat invited everyone to a fundamental campaign event:

Door-knock with Tara
Hatch PicQuick parking lot, 624 Franklin Street
Sunday, May 1, 1 to 3 p.m.

For more information send email to Pat and call her at 805-208-0193.

Recipe for troubled times

Ron Cauthon began by expressing a widely held sentiment, “I’m afraid. I’m scared. I can’t believe what is happening to our country.” He recommended his preferred treatment: music. In particular he recommended the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus singing “Let There Be Peace,” and “One Voice.”

For more information send email to Ron.

Our majority-minority state

Elisa Sanchez said, “I just want to remind everybody: New Mexico is not New Hampshire. It is not Vermont. New Mexico is a majority-minority state.” She said the legislature passes all kinds of laws and creates all kinds of policies and never addresses the issue. “We will always be fiftieth in everything until we recognize who we are.”

For more information send email to Elisa.

Cherokee Nation gives to Oklahoma schools

Violet Cauthon reported that the Cherokee Nation, of which she is a member, recently announced a gift of $7.5 million to 107 school districts in Northern Oklahoma. “I just think that’s remarkable,” she said, “It makes me proud.”

For more information send email to Violet.

Round Two

PVA Rules: After everyone who wishes to speak has had a chance to speak once, everyone who wishes to speak a second time may do so.

Earl Nissen said that the Doña Ana Crisis Triage Center is a disaster and that RI, the Arizona company contracted to run the center, has been incompetent in every way.

County Commissioner Shannon Reynolds (email or call 575-650-7388) agreed with Earl and vowed to do what he could to see that the county addresses the crisis center problem. 

Dr. Bhasker spoke of the sky-high cost of prescription drugs and the damage caused by Presbyterian’s monopoly on health care.

Peter Goodman said, “Ron inspired me,” and added his own anti-anxiety recommendations: 1. Midnight Diner, a Japanese TV show that “starts every night with this guy opening up his diner. It’s just slender and magical and fun, nothing heavy, nothing political unless perhaps it’s tolerance.” 2. We Can Do Hard Things, a podcast hosted by Glennon Doyle who (famously) divorced her husband and married soccer star Abby Wambach. “They talk about real human situations.” 3. Hidden Brain, a podcast that is science plus ordinary human stories.

And with that we called it a night.

PVA meets again May 26, 2022

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