ProgressNow New Mexico
Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico, gave an overview of the nonprofit’s work to promote progressive causes such as the minimum wage, voting rights, immigration reform, conservation, and more. They promote progressive policy ideas, correct conservative misinformation, and hold elected officials and corporations accountable. The group has 120,000 subscribers.
As an example of their investigative work, Pat mentioned the governor’s $2,700 coffee maker, part of the $100,000 kitchen remodel at the governor’s mansion. (“Sell the Coffeemaker” t-shirts are available on the Web site.)
For more information visit ProgressNowNM.org.
Unified Action Update for January
Cheryl Frank, unified action coordinator, reported that more than 91 people are signed up for PVA’s legendary Legislative Response Team. A member of the audience volunteered that it must be working because when she calls Santa Fe, the secretaries say, “Yikes. We’ve had 50 calls from Las Cruces already this morning.”
For more information send e-mail to Cheryl.
Unified Action for February: Raise the Minimum Wage
Sarah Nolan, executive director of CAFé (New Mexico Communities in Action and Faith) presented the February unified action, asking for support of raising the minimum wage and explaining that raising the wage from $7.50 to $8.50 would add 67 million in consumer spending and create 600 new jobs in New Mexico.
For more information about the minimum wage and economic justice send e-mail to Sarah, call her at 575-520-1624, and visit the CAFé Web site. For detailed information about the February unified action, send e-mail to Cheryl Frank.
There’s No Denying Climate Change
City Councilor Gill Sorg spoke of climate change and the need to bring carbon emissions down from 392 to 350 parts per million. He advocated the “fee and dividend” plan which would tax energy production and return dividends to those who use the least energy. In contrast, “cap and trade” plans give control of the process to Wall Street.
Safer Fireworks with HB 373
Alice Anderson said that HB 373 would improve safety by banning the use of aerial fireworks and also forbidding the use of all fireworks when there is “high fire danger.” The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee, and Alice suggested that we contact the following people and ask that the bill be voted upon:
- Gail Chasey, chair
- Georgene Louis, vice chair
- Terry McMillan, only committee member from Doña Ana County
For more information send e-mail to Alice.
Our Public Schools Are Doing Something Good
Maria Flores, newly re-elected school board member, thanked everyone for support in her campaign. She wanted us to know that good things are happening in our local schools and pointed to the Institute for Parent Engagement as an example The IPE was begun last year at Lynn Middle School and Mayfield High School and will be expanded this year to 8 more schools. The program prepares parents to become advocates for their children including skills such as how to have a productive teacher conference.
For more information send e-mail to Maria.
Update from DA D’Antonio
District Attorney Mark D’Antonio thanked the supporters of his recent campaign and promised to do what is “just and right.” He announced a new focus on reducing truancy (thereby reducing gangs, drugs, and crime) and vigilance when it comes to protecting the rights of mentally ill and intellectually disabled prisoners.
The public is invited to attend the DA’s open forums which will be held at 1 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month in the Commissioners’ Chambers at the Doña Ana County Government Building.
For more information call Mark at 575-312-3650.
Democratic Party Events in March
Stephen Jones issued an invitation to upcoming Democratic Party events.
Thursday, March 21, 6 p.m.
Schedule of Meetings Places is here
Annual Democratic Party Dinner
Guest Speaker: NM Speaker of the House Ken Martinez
Friday, April 5, 6 p.m.
GroundworkUSA Is Hard at Work for Doña Ana County
Tim Fulton, executive director, introduced himself and his organization to PVA. The nonprofit is a national organization with local chapters focused on improving lives through improving the physical environment in areas that are distressed and neglected. Groundwork Doña Ana has hired youth to undertake projects such as improving Vado and Sierra Vista Trails, planting 500 trees in city parks, and landscaping for the City of Las Cruces and the Town of Mesilla. Tim issued an invitation to an Arbor Day Celebration:
Arbor Day Celebration
Saturday, April 6, 9 a.m. to Noon
Main Street near the Science Museum
County Commissioners Move Forward on Immigration and Recycling
Commissioner Wayne Hancock announced that the commissioners, in a 5-0 vote, passed a resolution in favor of immigration reform. “We are committed to promoting equality in Doña Ana County,” he vowed.
Wayne reported that glass recycling is going to be a reality. He held up a handful of hydroponic stones made in Albuquerque from recycled glass and explained that the manufacturer is in need of more glass to recycle and would be a ready market for our glass.
For more information send e-mail to Wayne or call him at 575-525-5810.
Emerge NM Trains Democratic Women to Run for Office and Win
Ambrosia Ortiz y Prentice, executive director of Emerge New Mexico, explained her group’s goal of training Democratic women to run for public office and win. The training covers fundraising, getting out the vote, using media successfully, and talking about the issues.
For Better Health Care Support SB 226
Maury Castro brandished the “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us” issue of TIME magazine and pointed out that Health Security for New Mexicans and Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) are in complete harmony. He asked that we call Senator Joseph Cervantes and Senator Mary Kay Papen and ask that they support Senate Bill 226, which is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 226 would save money and improve health care for New Mexicans.
For more information call Maury at 575-541-6099 and write him at 6070 Flores Ct., Las Cruces, NM 88001.
SB 286 Would Update the 1935 Oil and Gas Bill
Alex Curtas, research director for ProgressNow New Mexico, asked for suggestions for getting young people involved in political action and for creating a PVA-type group in Albuquerque. In addition, he asked that we visit ProtectNMwater.org to learn about Gail Chasey’s House Bill 286, which would upgrade New Mexico’s 1935 (!) Oil and Gas Act so that oil and gas companies pay modern day fees and penalties.
For more information send e-mail to Alex and call him at 505-312-5402.
Spellbinding Demo of Leghold Trap
Kevin Bixby, executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center, spoke in favor of HB 579, which would ban leghold trapping in New Mexico. He demonstrated the trap (without harm to himself or members of the audience) and urged us to call in our support for the ban. He emphasized that HB579 is most definitely not an anti-hunting measure. Kevin noted with dismay that Nate Cote’s bill to ban coyote-killing contests in New Mexico was defeated in a 38-30 vote. Lastly, Kevin brought tickets for SWEC’s yearly Prius raffle.
Eliminate the R-Word
Cheryl Frank reminded us of Ann Coulter’s infamous tweet, in which she referred to President Obama as “the retard.” Cheryl urged us to do our part to stop using the R-word, which is always hurtful, never funny. March 6 is a “national day of awareness.” You can visit www.r-word.org to learn more and pledge your commitment to stopping the R-word.
Cheryl read John Franklin Stephen’s open letter, a gracious and powerful response to Coulter which is posted on the Special Olympics blog.
For more information send e-mail to Cheryl.
Thanks to Evelyn Madrid Erhard for Her Campaign
Peter Goodman expressed his appreciation for Evelyn Madrid Erhard’s campaign for House of Representatives and reiterated his endorsement.
For more information send e-mail to Peter.
Let Senator Mary Helen Garcia Know How You Feel About “Those People”
Mary Lujan noted that Sen. Mary Helen Garcia voted against the marriage equality bill and was quoted as saying, “Those people do not deserve to be married.” Mary suggested that you call Ms. Garcia and let her know how you feel about “those people.” The number to call is 505-986-4417.
For more information send e-mail to Mary.
Happy Birthday, Dear Mary, Happy Birthday to You
Don Kurtz announced that Mary Lujan, PVA’s totally unbiased, fair and balanced timekeeper, will celebrate the big five-oh on March 1. We all joined Don in wishing Mary a happy birthday and many happy returns of the day.
For more information send e-mail to Don.