June 27, 2019

Update from Cabinet Secretary of Workforce Solutions: Bill McCamley

Having just arrived in town from Albuquerque, Bill McCamley said it felt good to be home. He recently moved to Santa Fe to serve as Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Workforce Solutions and said he love-love-loves working with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “She is a force of nature who is trying to change the world for the better.” NM is ranked 50th for childhood hunger and she understands this is unacceptable. With regard to children crossing the border, Bill said that the Governor told border patrol and ICE, “There will be no more kids dying here.”

In the PVA tradition of talking about a lot in a short period of time, Bill quickly went through a number of important issues, pertinent to his department, which included:

  • The state minimum wage will be going up (it has been $7.50 since 2009). Bill said there is still a lot of work to do but this will be a much needed improvement, especially for women of color in the state.
    • Upcoming New Mexico minimum wage increases:
      • $9.00 per hour effective January 1, 2020
      • $10.50 per hour effective January 1, 2021
      • $11.50 per hour effective January 1, 2022
      • $12.00 per hour effective January 1, 2023
  • “New Mexico has the most progressive climate change agenda in the country,” said Bill. “New Mexico will be carbon free by 2045 (which beats out California’s plan).”
  • The legislature put $600 million into education this year.
  • While the US Supreme Court is currently trying to decide if sexual orientation and gender identity are protected under national human rights laws, those in New Mexico who identify as LGBTQ+ are already protected in the state’s comprehensive non-discrimination law. The Department of Workforce Solutions enforces human rights laws.
  • Bill said they’re also working on filling jobs that are very much needed here in New Mexico. For example, there are 3,800 job openings for nurses in New Mexico. These are good paying jobs and good nurses are an attribute to good healthcare!
  • Starting August 23, New Mexico will be offering a new teaching apprentice program. New Mexico wants to help fill the schools with good teachers, Bill explained, and so individuals who have a bachelor’s degree can go through an alternative licensing program, paid for by the state. The purpose of this is to bring in more bilingual, STEM, and Special Education teachers; these teachers will also be mentored, to help with professional development.

Bill’s final message was to keep your heads up, keep participating, and keep spreading the positive messages he knows PVA so often does.

You can follow Bill on Facebook.

Where can you meet New Mexico’s Next U.S. Senator?

Vice-president of the Federation of Democratic Women of Doña Ana County, Debra Hathaway, announced the Meet Your Next U.S. Senator event. Only 40 tickets are being sold ($50 each), and those who attend will have the opportunity to speak with both Ben Ray Lujan and Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who are candidates for U.S. Senate. There are only a few tickets left! All proceeds will be going to the Federation of Democratic Women of Doña Ana County.

Meet your Next Senator
Sunday, July 7, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
At the home of Representative Doreen Gallegos
(address provided on receipt of ticket purchase)
Purchase tickets here (you can also mail a check).

For more information, visit the FDWDAC website, or email Debra.

Greg Smith, Running for Mayor

Greg Smith said that it’s time for Las Cruces to have a full-time mayor. He said his campaign focuses on (L)eadership, (I)ntegrity, (V)ision, and (E)conomic diversity. In other words, he said, “I LIVE for Las Cruces.” He said he is proud of what Las Cruces has accomplished, mentioning that Las Cruces has stepped up for asylum seekers. He supports ranked choice voting (RCV), which will be used locally for the first time in the upcoming 2019 election; Greg said RCV ensures that everyone’s voice is heard. He hopes to have your support for mayor on November 5.

For more information, click here and/or follow Greg on Facebook.

EPE Shenanigans

Rocky Bacchus talked about the El Paso Electric and JP Morgan deal. He summarized the events by asking if anyone would trade him his one-dollar bill for their twenty-dollar bill (no one offered to trade in case you were wondering). He shared that this $21 million (in bill credits) deal is actually being split with Texas which, after crunching the numbers, looks like only $1.4 million will be for New Mexico. PRC staff supports this, as does the state attorney general, but Rocky said that this means higher electric bills and that New Mexico is essentially giving a $20 bill in exchange for a $1 bill.

He thanked the County Commissioners, Mayor Miyagishima, City Councilors, and City attorneys, who are fighting this and who see through the scam.

For more information, email Rocky.

Antoinette Reyes, Running for City Council, District 4

Antoinette Reyes announced that she is running for District 4 city councilor and invited everyone to her official campaign kick-off on August 3. Telling us a little about herself, she said she is a 15th generation New Mexican; she’s a mother of two, a NMSU Alumna, and graduate of the Emerge class of 2017. She said she has always been an advocate and activist for change and as a city councilor she hopes to improve the lives of her constituents with a focus on public safety, infrastructure, bi-lingual communication, economic development to help small businesses, the environment, community, and sustainability. She hopes to see you on August 3!

Antoinette Reyes Campaign Kick-Off
Saturday, August 3, from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Pepe’s Restaurant, 1405 W. Picacho
Recommended contribution: $25
Donations are encouraged but not required

For more information, visit the campaign website, Facebook page, call or text (575) 342-1727, or email Antoinette.

Tracy Perry, Running for State Senate, District 38

Tracy Perry said that as a state senator, she will stand up for individuals and the community as a whole. She refuses to sit on the sidelines, and spoke about her advocacy for individuals with disabilities. “The waiting list for the DD Waiver is 13-15 years long,” she explained, adding the grim fact that people are dying as they sit on the waiting list. By doggedly attending interim meetings, she helped get 410 people off of the waiting list. But she said that’s obviously not enough, as there are still 5,033 people on the list and it grows by 40 each month. She says it is time to make a positive change for the people of District 38 now.

Some of her other goals include achieving better resources for quality public education, creating a better economy and more jobs, helping the environment, and giving voices to individuals regardless of disability or where they live.

For more information visit the campaign website or Facebook page.

Who is the Eric Clapton of the Ukulele?

Judge Joy Goldbaum explained that she is running for Presiding Municipal Judge I, and will be on November’s ballot. She said she is running for this position so she can implement treatment courts into the municipal court; when implemented, treatment courts have proven to be a successful and humane part of the justice system. She hopes to have your support on November 5.

In addition, Joy was really excited to announce that Jake Shimabukuro, an AWESOME and world famous ukulele player will be opening for Night Ranger at the City’s July Fourth Celebration at 6:00 P.M. It’s a free event and she promises that a brilliant surprise awaits you. Saying, “Jake is the Eric Clapton of the ukulele!” (or Jimi Hendrix or Pavarroti – take your pick!), Joy also said that if you are inspired to learn the ukulele, you can talk to her about where to take lessons (hint: check out the Las Cruces Ukes).

City of Las Cruces 4th of July Celebration
Pat and Lou Sisbarro Community Park
3205 Arrowhead Dr. (on the NMSU campus)

For more information, visit Joy’s campaign website or Facebook page.

Johana Bencomo, Running for City Council, District 4

Johana Bencomo said she feels humbled to announce her candidacy for City Council, District 4. Telling us more about herself, she explained that she moved to Las Cruces at age 18, and has made Las Cruces her chosen home. In 2013, she became an intern at CAFé, and is now the Director of Community Organizing. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Government, and a Master’s Degree in social work. She reminded everyone of her work on the minimum wage campaign. She wants to ensure that New Mexico’s economy is by and for New Mexicans. She has been heavily involved in the immigration issue, asserting that no more people should die coming to the U.S.

For more information visit the campaign website, Facebook page, Instagram, email Johana, or call (575) 323-1625.

Nonlethal Wildlife Services

Director of SWEC, Kevin Bixby, hopes people will attend the County Commission meeting on July 9 at 9:00 A.M. “Please come and help support the People’s Contract,” he said. Doña Ana County’s annual contract with Wildlife Services (which is a federal agency) is up for renewal on July 9. Kevin explained that in April, the county passed a resolution for nonlethal methods to control coyotes, skunks, and other wildlife animals but the commission has now reversed itself. Kevin pointed out that the types of methods used to handle nuisance wildlife end up hurting dogs and other pets more than solving these “problems.” The People’s Contract demands that any contract awarded by the County for addressing wildlife “problems” explicitly incorporate a coexistence between humans and wildlife, use proactive, non-lethal measures, and specify that wildlife are killed as a last resort. Cruel methods are prohibited with this contract, and implementation must be transparent to the community. Read more here.

What you can do to help:

  1. Contact your county commissioner and urge them to support the People’s Contract.
  2. Come to the county commission meeting on Tuesday, July 9th at 9:00 A.M. and voice your support for the People’s Contract.

For more information visit SWEC’s website.

Senator Jeff Steinborn is Running for Reelection

Jeff Steinborn announced that after doing some soul-searching, he has decided to run for reelection. He shared that it has been an interesting three years in the state senate after serving eight years in the house and he strongly feels that there is a lot more work to do. He wants to fight for workers, the environment, ethics, minimum wage, full transparency in government, and protect New Mexico from nuclear waste.

He encouraged everyone to buy a ticket for his campaign kick-off/fundraiser on July 24. He is preparing for a tough campaign and hopes to have your support. If you’re interested in buying a ticket, you can get one from Sherry Thomas (and she gets credit for the tickets she sells – so you can help her win the competition! 😉).

Sen. Jeff Steinborn Campaign Kick-Off
Wednesday, July 24, 5:30-8:30
Grapevine Plaza Event Center
3900 W. Picacho
$25 a ticket, $200 for a table

For more information, visit Jeff’s campaign website.

Wondering where Billy has been?

Billy Garrett shared an update via Cheryl Frank. He said that as you may know, he is now the Interim Director of the New Mexico History Museum. He began at the end of April and will probably be in the position until early fall of 2020. At this point, he has no particular plans in mind for whatever comes after that (which seems to be a recurring theme in his retirement).

Cynthia and their dogs will join him in Santa Fe by mid-July. They have arranged for someone to live at their house and will be back to Las Cruces every so often.

He said that he would be with us in spirit as we celebrate another year of PVA action and accomplishments. During his eight years on the County Commission, PVA was a constant source of support and inspiration and he thanks everyone for that.

Doña Ana County and Las Cruces are better places for all residents because of PVA’s commitment to the community, PVA’s willingness to address tough issues, and PVA’s engagement with the democratic processes.

-Billy Garrett

You can email Billy, or call him at (575) 915-5755.

Tessa Abeyta Stuve Running for City Council, District 2

Tessa said she is looking for volunteers to help with her campaign for City Councilor of District 2. She shared a story about how as a teenager she commuted from Los Alamos to Santa Fe for school. She said there were two options in the car – you could sit in the back seat and get an extra hour of sleep, or you could sit in the front seat, listen to NPR, and debate the issues with Dad. “You can imagine how happy my 17 year old self was with the front seat activities. But as time went on, I started wanting the front seat more and more,” said Tessa. The debates sparked a fire in her and as her dad began to play devil’s advocate in these debates, her fire grew. Tessa promised to use that fire in her for the good of Las Cruces as a representative from District 2. She wants to be a strong and active presence in District 2 and is willing to meet you wherever you live, work, and play.  

For more information visit the campaign website, Facebook page, email Tessa, or call (575) 323-0330.

Support Local Radio (Please)

KTAL-LP radio host, Peter Goodman, emphasized the importance of local radio. He said that as people read newspapers less and less, radio is more and more important. KTAL is Las Cruces talking to itself; there’s lots of great talk shows as well as music shows. “It is not always serious shit but the serious shit is why we’re here!”

He said to tune in on July 10 to hear from people on both sides of the school board recall. If you are candidate for office, or have an issue to discuss, let Peter know.

Finally, “You can donate to the station (before all the candidates starting asking!)” Peter said. It’s $101.50 for a year’s membership.

For more information, or to stream the station, visit the website.

Teresa Tenorio, Running for School Board, District 4

Teresa Tenorio announced she is running for the Las Cruces School Board, and will be on the ballot in November. She is running for the seat that Maury Castro will be leaving. She wanted to thank the current board for the policies that have been pushed in the last few years. She is a mother of three kids (fourth grade, second grade, and kindergarten). She said she’s always been an activist because “when there is a need, I rise up.” With her children attending the schools and her sister being a teacher, she’s been heavily involved in the Las Cruces education scene. She wants to be elected to the board so she can advocate for teachers, staff, and our city’s babies. 

You can find Teresa on Facebook.

Thank you for being a part of PVA – going strong for 16 years! Have a great summer!

PVA takes a break in July.

PVA meets again:
Thursday, August 22, 2019, 7pm
Munson Senior Center