September 2020 Unified Action
Be Involved in the 2020 General Election
Sponsored by the PVA Executive Committee, www.pva-nm.org
The upcoming election is crucial to determining the kind of state and country we will live in for at least the next 2 years. Our personal involvement with political campaigns can make a big difference in national, state, and local elections.
What we are asking
volunteer time for a candidate or campaign-related activity
make a contribution to a candidate of your choice
When you have done the Action, please tell us, “I did it!”
Have you checked this out yet?
Karena and Stew Oberman have been developing Yes, You Can Do Good!!, a portal to voter registration and engagement. The purpose of this portal is to identify volunteer and donation opportunities to help you get involved in the November election as well as identify sources of basic voter and election information. “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, duplicate efforts, or work at cross-purposes with organizations that have a similar focus. But we do want to give you an easy way to discover a myriad of opportunities to help us get a positive outcome in November. New opportunities are posted regularly.” Karena and Stew have an ask of you: “If you feel this effort is valuable, we would greatly appreciate it if you could distribute our Yes, You Can Do Good!! link to your list of followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and any email list you feel is relevant.
Education in the time of pandemic
Las Cruces School Board Vice President Maria Flores issued the following statement:
As we move into the fall, life as we know it is not normal and neither is school. I know that sending students back to the classroom is what students need, but I also know that we are not in control of the virus. The only way to stay safe is to practice safety, and there are no guarantees. Last week, it was announced that 70,000 children had Covid-19 due to schools reopening across the US, and there were deaths. This is our reality, one that we cannot pretend does not exist. So in response to the 40+ emails requesting that we reopen, I say NO, not yet. Sixty percent of our teachers and principals are not ready to go to Hybrid. All we can do is attempt some reentries for our neediest students, testing the system all along the way. Perhaps by January, the pandemic will have been held back enough by our behaviors to be safer to return to the classroom. Opening too soon will jeopardize our hopes for Spring.
If the on-line instruction is not working for your students, work with your teacher, work with your principal, work with the other parents in the same classroom. I know that is what my daughter and son in law do everyday with our grandsons in Michigan. If it is not working for you, ask for help. Our Student Advisory has high school students waiting to help your student with his or her work. The City of Las Cruces is putting together tutoring for both middle school and high school students. In this time of Covid, we have to find alternative ways to educate our children. They are currently learning how to live during a pandemic.
For more information or to talk about the Las Cruces Public Schools, email Maria.
Biden yard signs available in Las Cruces!
We can get Biden yard signs from Norman Todd! Norman has 12 X 18 Biden yard signs left over from the Democratic primary. Email Norman your name, address and phone number, and he and his team will deliver a sign to your house. And, when Biden/Harris signs become available, he will let you know!
The pandemic’s effect on New Mexico families
Congress and the White House are not doing their jobs during this pandemic, and Americans everywhere but especially in New Mexico are suffering tremendously. 27% of New Mexican adults living with children report their children are not eating enough because they cannot afford sufficient food. Over 400,000 New Mexicans a month are applying for new SNAP benefits. In July 25% of New Mexican renters were unable to pay their rent or had to defer payment.
Take action: Send letters to the editor to our local papers calling on members of Congress and President Trump by name to #DoYourJob and #GetBackToWork to pass a fair and just COVID-19 deal now. Urge them to help protect renters ($100 billion in rental assistance and a national moratorium on evictions), reduce hunger (15 percent boost to maximum SNAP benefit), and to help with the global response to the pandemic, ($20 billion). For members who support these priorities, thank them and encourage them to stand firm. For members who don’t, remind them of the cost of inaction (e.g. see CBPP’s new Hardship Tracker on what people are facing in New Mexico or data on COVID-19 and the Global Fund and global nutrition).
For more information, contact Rich Renner, RESULTS Las Cruces.
Personal Influence Networks 2020
Since many people will be voting absentee this year, Don Kurtz urged us to mobilize our Personal Influence Networks (PINs) the week of October 5, which is when absentee ballots will be mailed out and when early voting starts (on October 6) at the County Building. While most already know how they will vote in terms of party, we can urge them to vote to retain our district, appellate and supreme court justices and to inform themselves and vote on the two constitutional amendments. We can also urge them to fill out and return the absentee ballot request that they received from the county clerk or to directly request an absentee ballot online at NMVote.org. Ballots can be mailed back or or deposited in a drop box at the County Building and eight early voting sites, or at special tables at any of the 40 election day voting sites. We can also let them know that they can track the progress of their absentee ballot request and ballot online here.
In turbulent times, our friends count on us for guidance in voting wisely and for clear, factual information for voting securely. For more information, email Don.
Strong support for retaining District Judge Lisa Schultz
Las Cruces attorney William Corbett urged us to vote to retain Lisa Schultz as district judge, a person he has known and respected for the past 21 years. Bill pointed out that since 2006 Judge Schultz has served the public with fairness, efficiency, and compassion in our Third Judicial District. She has adjudicated primarily criminal, children and family law, and mental health cases, among other matters. Judge Schultz has addressed many difficult issues within the Judiciary concerning homophobia, public corruption, mental health, and the development of guidelines for safe co-parenting during COVID 19.
Over the years Bill has frequently assigned his college and university government and criminal justice students to observe our local courts in action. To a person, these students have been particularly impressed with Judge Schultz’s judicial temperament, legal knowledge, even-handed treatment, and respect given to all litigants and attorneys who appear before her.
Thanks for your help!
Terry Miller reported on the many thousands of personally addressed letters that were sent last week to newly registered and less frequent Democratic-leaning voters who will be likely to vote for Democrats if they vote.
Sponsored by the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County with strong support of Xochitl Torres Small’s congressional campaign and a team of over 120 local progressive activists, the letter reminded recipients that “Yes It Matters” that they vote, and explains how easy it is to request an absentee ballot. And, of course, the importance of their voting Democrat all the way down the ballot. Terry expressed her gratitude to all who made this initiative possible, coming together to make a difference in this year’s election.
For more information, contact Terry.
Judge Perea asks that you mark yes on your ballot
Judge Conrad F. Perea, Third Judicial District Court Judge, Division III, asks that you vote “Yes” for Conrad F. Perea in the upcoming Retention Election. Conrad has served on the Third Judicial District Court for three and a half years and wishes to continue serving the citizens of Doña Ana County. He is currently assigned to the very busy Criminal docket in our court. Conrad served as one of our Magistrate Court Judges from July 1999 until 2001 and again from October 2010 until his appointment to the District Court in 2017. He won the general election in November 2018. The N.M. Judicial Performance Commission gave Judge Conrad F. Perea a “Retain” designation.
Conrad appreciates the Progressive Voter Alliance for their continuous efforts to keep us informed on all matters.
For more information, contact Conrad.
Congresswoman Deb Haaland to hold a virtual fundraiser for Carrie Hamblen
As we deal with the difficult loss of a champion of the people, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, State Senate candidate Carrie Hamblen finds comfort in knowing that RBG’s values, focusing on fairness and equality for all, are going to catapult our community and country into action. Carrie has seen this with the great folks of PVA, our passionate community organizers, nonprofits leaders, and campaign workers. Now, as we are in the homestretch of perhaps one of the most important elections of our lifetime, Carrie is honored to have the endorsement of Congresswoman Deb Haaland. On Saturday, September 26th at 5pm, Congresswoman Haaland will join Carrie for a special virtual fundraiser, helping Carrie secure the District 38 seat in the New Mexico Senate. To RSVP for this special opportunity to meet and talk with Congresswoman Haaland, email Hamblenforsenate38@gmail.com. Deadline to RSVP is Saturday, September 26th at noon. Questions for consideration for Congresswoman Haaland may be submitted via the email above.
For more information, email Carrie.
Local candidates are of key importance in 2020
As an active campaign consultant and coordinator, Luis Guerrero highlighted the creative way candidates are trying to reach voters, like phone calls, texts, and social media. In emphasizing the importance of working locally, Luis highlighted the issue of reproductive rights. In the 2019 legislative session, a group of conservative Democratic senators were able to block HB51, which would have guaranteed on a state level reproductive rights for New Mexico’s women. Most of those senators were defeated in the Democratic primary, and we now have great candidates like Neomi Martinez Parra and Carrie Hamblen on the Democratic ballot, who can help pass a bill similar to HB51 in the upcoming session. This is especially important with pending changes on the Supreme Court, and the inevitable challenges to Roe v Wade. Luis reminds us to give strong support to our local candidates, even if we don’t live in their districts — they may end up making the difference on these key issues.
For more information, contact Luis.
Support Children’s Reading Alliance when you shop on Amazon
Rorie Measure reminds us that we can keep kids reading every time we shop on Amazon. Just go to the Amazon Smile icon on the upper left side of the screen and type in Children’s Reading Alliance or simply scroll down until you find it in the drop box. You pay nothing extra. Amazon will donate a small percentage of your order to the Reading Alliance.
For more information, contact Rorie.
Former city councilor publishes book on leadership
Former Las Cruces City Councilor Jack Eakman’s book Thank You for Leading has recently been published. Available on Amazon and at select book stores, this New Mexico-centric book discusses the attributes of outstanding leaders and includes interviews with Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham, Dr. David Scrase (NM Secretary of Human Services), Mayor Alan Webber of Santa Fe, Doña Ana County Sheriff Kim Stewart, and 8 other distinguished leaders. Jack has copies available that he would be happy to personalize to you. Email Jack to order yours.
Televised forums for local candidates
Shirley Baca announced that the Center for Non-Partisan Citizens Engagement, partnering with the Las Cruces Channel is hosting a series of Candidate Forums leading up to the Nov. 3rd General Election. The Forums will give voters a preview of the candidates appearing on the ballot in Doña Ana County. It will be live-streamed on the Las Cruces Channel social media network, including on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, and is broadcasting at 7 p.m. each Monday and Wednesday through the end of October. Via streaming on Facebook Live viewers and viewers will be able to ask, in real time, questions that may be posed to the candidates.
Monday, September 28 – Representative Joanne Ferrary and Commissioner Isabella Solis for Representative District 37
Wednesday, September 30 – County Clerk Amanda Lopez Askin and candidate Cheryl De Young for Doña Ana County Clerk
For more information, contact Shirley.
“Plan your vote” using the following information
Mary Lujan reminded us that Early Voting begins on October 6th, and at first will only be available at Doña Ana County Government Center. On October 17th the additional Early Voting Locations will be opened, and on November 3rd, Election Day, ALL 40 polling locations will be open. Drop Boxes will also be available at Doña Ana County Center and early voting sites during hours they are open. All polling locations on Election Day will have either a drop box or special table for voters to quickly drop off their absentee ballots.
PAID Poll Workers are still needed. Call Lorena at 575-647-7482 at the Doña Ana County Bureau of Elections.
Go to donaanacounty.org/elections to find voting polling locations or to register or update your registration. And finally, Mary urges us to vote early!
For more information, contact Mary.
State Judicial Races: More Important Than Ever!
Democratic statewide judicial candidates Justice Shannon Bacon, Justice David Thomson, Judge Zach Ives and Judge Shammara Henderson mourn the loss of a legal pioneer and tireless advocate for equality, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her loss highlights the importance of a qualified and independent judiciary in our democratic system.
President Trump has appointed nearly a quarter of all federal judges without our input. In New Mexico, however, the voters choose their state judiciary. New Mexico judicial candidates were examined by a nonpartisan nominating commission and deemed qualified to hold the office, and were interviewed and appointed to the bench by Governor Michele Lujan Grisham. While the federal courts receive much of the attention, a majority of the work in our nation’s court system is done through the state courts. As current events unfold at the federal level it is more critical than ever to understand the role the judiciary plays in defining the rights we hold under our state constitution. They ask us for help in spreading the word on these low information, but crucial judge races. They ask that we like their social media pages and share upcoming ads with our friends and colleagues. For other ways you can help, visit their websites: keepjusticbacon.com, keepjusticethomson.com, keepjudgehenderson.com, and keepjudgeives.com.
Eric Walkinshaw reported that several community members, including himself and other Casa de Peregrinos (CdP) board members, joined in on a 24 hour “Hunger Strike” where they fasted to raise funds and awareness about hunger in Doña Ana County. He says, “Last year we were able to raise $14,000 plus a generous $10,000 matching fund, raising $1,000 per hour! I want to again thank all PVA members who contributed last year and to let you all know that we are doing it again today!”
Donating is really so easy. Just go to CdP’s website www.casadeperegrinos.org where you can learn more about the Hunger Action Month and click on the donate button and pay via PayPal. Or, if you prefer, send a check made out to Casa de Peregrinos and mail to 999 W. Amador Ave., Ste F, Las Cruces, NM 88005.
For more information, contact Eric.
Do you know how to track your absentee ballot? How about where the drop boxes will be? Answers below!
Doña Ana County Democratic Party Chair Mona Trempe wants to make sure everyone has an easy time casting their vote. With just over a month to go until Election Day 2020, there is no time to waste! Keep up to date on voting information and make sure your friends and family do, too. Make sure you and they have plans to vote. Go to NMVote.org to register to vote or verify that your registration is accurate, as well as to request and track your absentee ballot. For important dates, voting locations, and other information specific to Doña Ana County visit this election information page from the County Clerk’s office, which is where you will find a list of voting sites.
According to recent news from the County Clerk’s office, there WILL be drop boxes for absentee ballots at all early voting and Election Day voting sites. All ballot drop boxes will be monitored by a bipartisan team of two election officials and ballots will be submitted each day to the County Clerk. While many Election Day dropoffs will be in monitored tabletop boxes inside polling places, several drop boxes at “high volume” voting locations will be outside. Keep an eye on the Clerk’s website news page regularly for information about drop box locations and hours.
Important dates to remember:
October 6 – Last day for voter registration online or by mail; early voting begins at the Doña Ana County Government Center (Registration is still possible in person until October 31 at the Clerk’s office or designated alternative voting locations).
October 17 – Early voting begins at Alternate Voting Locations. See a list of alternate early voting locations by clicking this link .
October 20 – Deadline for requesting an absentee ballot
November 3 – Election Day. See a list of voting locations by clicking this link.
For more information, contact Mona.
An important state house seat in play for Democrats!
Rick Lass of Grant County reports that Karen Whitlock’s campaign to win back the state representative district covering Truth or Consequences and much of Silver City is moving full speed ahead. Karen outraised her opponent in the last reporting period and outperformed her in Monday’s debate (viewable at facebook.com/silvercitynews or www.dailypressforums.com). Also in the news is the complaint filed with the State Ethics Commission against her opponent, the Republican incumbent Rebecca Dow, who has been misrepresenting herself on government contracts and financial disclosure statements.
Rick says there’a a really good chance to flip this district and add another Democratic legislator just in time for redistricting and critical decisions facing New Mexico in this time of pandemic. Please visit www.karenwhitlock38.com to donate or get involved!
Update from the Rudy Martinez campaign
Rudy Martinez’s state representative re-election campaign is gaining momentum thanks to endorsements in the past couple of weeks from Congressman Lujan, IBEW, and others. Rudy’s Voter Contact program is focussed on phoning, letters, and Personal Influence Networks. Anyone unfamiliar with Rudy can tune into one of next week’s forums- Monday at 6PM at www.dailypressforums.com or Tuesday at 6PM on KCHS 101.9 FM or 1400 AM (out of T or C). If you’d like to help out, please contact Campaign Manager Rick Lass at 505-920-0540 or Field Director Ann McCullough at 575-524-2601.
Steve Fischmann is now chairman of the PRC!
Allen Downs brought big news: at the last PRC meeting there was a vote to recall the PRC chairwoman Becenti-Aguilar followed by a vote to elect Steve Fischmann PRC Chairman. Both motions succeeded by a vote of three to two. Steve Fischmann is now chairman of the PRC!
Allen reminded us that there will be a Constitutional amendment on the ballot in November to convert the PRC from five elected commissioners to three commissioners appointed by the Governor. There are good arguments both for and against this amendment, but Allen believes it would be unwise to reduce the number of commissioners and to put their selection squarely into the realm of politics. A better plan would be to emphasize qualifications of commission candidates in the current system of five elected commissioners. Allen urges you to vote against this amendment.
Testimony and hearings that our energy warriors have been participating in are complete and we are waiting for decisions on these questions:
1. Will El Paso Electric (EPE) be allowed to buy a new 228MW gas fired generator to serve all their customers – Texas and New Mexico? (This generator would have a short useful life in New Mexico because the Renewable Energy Act requires an increasing amount of energy to be supplied by renewable sources. Remember Merrie Lee’s battle cry: NO MORE FOSSIL FUEL GENERATION!)
2. Will EPE be allowed to enter into Purchased Power Agreements (PPAs) for a 50 Megawatt and a 20 Megawatt solar facility to serve New Mexico? (By 2025, EPE will be required to supply 40% of the energy it delivers in New Mexico, from renewable sources. These PPAs will move us in that direction.)
EPE has opened a rate case and the local interveners are The City of Las Cruces, Doña Ana County, Merrie Lee Soules, Phil Simpson, and Yellow Bird Services. EPE’s requests include a 12.17% increase in residential base rates.
For more information email Allen.
More about the Constitutional Amendment to Appoint PRC Commissioners
Saraswati Khalsa of New Energy Economy expressed NEE’s concern that the constitutional amendment on the November ballot to replace the elected PRC district commissioners with appointed commissioner is undemocratic, and leaves New Mexico vulnerable to political and industry interference in utility regulation from one administration to the next.
Clearly technical expertise is important when it comes to energy regulation issues – but NEE believes those best suited to provide that expertise are the legal staff at the PRC and the Hearing Examiners who preside over the cases and make Recommended Decisions for the Commissioners to review. Our democratically elected commission provides a direct line between the voices of the people and the regulators responsible for protecting us. This means electing strong candidates who will fight for ratepayer and environmental protections, and NEE believes New Mexicans are perfectly capable of doing that. A PAC that still has not disclosed its funding sources is spending $400,000 to promote the amendment in mailers throughout the state. You can join NEE in defending democratic control of the PRC by writing your own op-eds and getting the word out to the community about this issue.
For more information, contact New Energy Economy.
Lacking a sense of community? Join this Timebank and/or Cruces Contigo!
Mesilla Valley Timebank and Cruces Contigo are initiatives of Doña Ana Communities United (DACU), a community-based organization that works to advance health equity in Doña Ana County. Visit www.da-cu.org for more info, or call 575.323.1422. You could participate in the Mesilla Valley Timebank, a place where members of our community have agreed to exchange services with one another free of charge! The next Timebank Orientation is: October 7th , 1 – 2:30 pm via Zoom. Visit the website (da-cu.org) to join. You could also participate in “Cruces Contigo,” which keeps residents of Las Cruces connected during this time of physical distancing and beyond. The program pairs individuals who agree to connect with each other a few times a week. The goals are to decrease isolation and loneliness, as well as fewer health emergencies. Contact the coordinator at 915-637-3673 or DACUErika@gmail.com.
For more information, visit their website.
Little Free Pantry started in old Mesilla
Catharine Walkinshaw reports that, thinking that our community’s needs are going to continue to increase, she and Eric have opened a “little free pantry” at the front of their house. If you know of anyone (including yourself, friends, families, etc.) who have a need, feel free to come by and take a bag of food and/or toiletries. There is a donation box for non perishable foods as well as toiletries and paper goods. Anyone can take, no questions asked; anyone can donate, also no questions asked. This is part of a movement elsewhere in the US. Check out the website www.littlefreepantry.org
Catharine’s and Eric’s address is 2134 Calle de Principal in Mesilla, on the main access streets to the plaza. Any questions, you can call Catharine on her cell at 575-932-8313.
Here’s a photo of the Little Free Pantry: