DPNM News Clips – April 11, 2016

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ABQ JOURNAL: State adds 15K registered voters since year-end
By Dan Boyd / Capitol Bureau Chief
Saturday, April 9th, 2016 at 11:45pm

SANTA FE – New Mexico’s voter rolls grew by more than 15,000 voters in the past three months, a trend likely driven by interest in the upcoming presidential primary election and the implementation of a new state system that allows eligible voters to register online.

Of the 15,318 voters who registered from the end of 2015 through March 31, nearly one-third – or about 4,800 voters – did so via the online portal implemented at the start of the year, Kari Fresquez, the interim election director for the Secretary of State’s Office, said this week.

In all, there were more than 1.21 million voters registered statewide as of the start of this month, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

However, there’s no guarantee the increase in voter enrollment will lead to a higher turnout for the June 7 primary election.

Lonna Atkeson, a University of New Mexico political science professor, said some independent voters, or those who decline to affiliate with a political party, may not realize they are not allowed to vote in the primary election under New Mexico law.

Recent attempts to allow independents and voters belonging to minor political parties to participate in the primary election have been unsuccessful to date – both in the Legislature and in the judicial system.

But Atkeson said the state’s swelling voter roles do appear to show both election-year enthusiasm and the effect of making it easier for voters to register.

“I think the fact we have online voter registration is important,” Atkeson told the Journal . “And I think there’s so much attention being paid to the presidential election, that that’s generating excitement.”

Neither the Republican nor the Democratic presidential nomination has been sewn up yet, as Hillary Clinton holds a lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race, and front-runner Donald Trump is trying fend off Ted Cruz and John Kasich on the GOP side.

New Mexico is among the last wave of states holding primary elections and, as such, is typically all but irrelevant in determining a nominee. But the stakes could be higher this year if one, or both, of the two main parties’ nominations remain in limbo when eligible New Mexico voters cast their ballots.

This year’s increase in registered voters has been more pronounced than that of at least some recent election years. In 2014, for example, voter registration went up by just 1,129 people during the same three-month period leading up to that year’s primary election.

Meanwhile, of the total number of New Mexico registered voters as of March 31, roughly 46 percent – or 561,705 – were registered Democrats and about 31 percent – or 377,715 – were registered as Republicans, with the rest either declining to state a party affiliation or being members of another political party.

Although most voters are registered as Democrats or Republicans, the 2.7 percent increase in voters affiliated with minor political parties – including the Libertarian, Green and Constitution parties – actually outpaced the growth of voters registered with major parties during the recent three-month period. There were 40,652 voters registered with minor political parties as of March 31.

The turnout was below average for New Mexico’s last presidential year primary election, with only about 25 percent of registered Democratic voters and 24 percent of Republicans casting ballots in the 2012 primary.

Timeline
May 10: Voter registration deadline
May 10: Absentee voting begins (including in-person at county clerk’s office)
May 21: Early voting begins at alternative sites
June 3: Last day county clerks may mail an absentee ballot
June 4: Absentee and early voting ends
June 7: Primary election

 

SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN: Our View: This election, N.M. votes matter
Posted: Saturday, April 9, 2016 7:00 pm
The New Mexican

In a political year like no other, it appears that the New Mexico primary election — despite being held in June — could matter this presidential year.

Both the GOP and Democratic battle for the nomination is going the distance. Voters in New Mexico, who generally never get a choice in their party’s presidential primary — the nominee is already selected — can make a difference come June 7.

For the GOP, the race is between Donald Trump and Everyone Else, with party establishment types and moderates worried that Trump as nominee will destroy the party not just in 2016 but for the foreseeable future. They want a contested convention, with anyone but Trump being chosen on a second or third ballot. Democrats have a two-person battle, between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, a campaign that has turned increasingly nasty in recent days. It’s a fight of math (Clinton leads in votes cast and delegate count) and momentum (Sanders has been winning recent primaries and caucuses, much like Clinton did against eventual winner Barack Obama back in 2008).

New Mexicans should enjoy this rare opportunity to join what has turned into a national pastime, watched by both political junkies and average Joes and Juanas. The nation appears engaged in what happens in the presidential race. That’s a good thing, especially the increased engagement of younger voters and independents who often sit primaries out. Democracy cannot work without citizen participation.

As for the outcome in New Mexico, polling is light and there is uncertainty for both parties. Trump’s no-nonsense approach is likely to attract a segment of New Mexico’s GOP voters; Cruz comes from next-door Texas, and his brand of evangelical conservatism has its adherents in New Mexico.
The Clintons — Bill and Hillary — have a history with New Mexico. Bill Clinton was a protégé of the late Gov. Bruce King, even delivering King’s eulogy. The couple stopped in Albuquerque in 1992, on election night, and visited often (for a president, anyway) over the years. Former Gov. Bill Richardson was a Clinton Cabinet appointee, and many New Mexicans worked for the Clinton administration.

That was the ’90s, though, and a long time ago. Many voters weren’t born when Bill Clinton was president. As we in Santa Fe know, younger people and progressives love Bernie Sanders and will be organized and emphatic in their support of the Vermont senator. Enthusiasm goes a long way to winning primaries, and the more extreme members of the base in both parties often turn out in greater numbers. New Mexicans, though, have the opportunity to matter this primary season.

Trump is struggling to get to 1,237 delegates to win the nomination in the first round, and New Mexico has 24 GOP delegates at stake. Clinton needs 2,383 delegates, and even New Mexico’s 43 delegates can help her (or Sanders) reach the finish line.

As a border state, the rhetoric of this campaign, especially on the GOP side, matters. The wall that Trump is promising to build would snake across New Mexico, to the detriment of the environment and to the people who live there. His ugly rhetoric about Mexicans disgusts most New Mexicans, even those who cling to Spanish ancestry. They’re smart enough to realize that to racists, all brown skin looks alike.
GOP Gov. Susana Martinez — who endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio just before he flamed out — has called her party on its ugly language about immigrants. So far, she hasn’t weighed in on Trump v. Cruz. (And least we forget, Ohio Gov. John Kasich remains in the primary; he’s counting on being the sane choice on a third round of voting at the convention.)

Democrats have had the pleasure, until recently, of watching a substantive campaign between two smart, qualified candidates. Last week’s descent into discussions of whether Clinton is “qualified” to be president — a mistake on Sanders’ part to go there — is an exception. He has walked back his unfortunate statement. We trust the Democrats will get back to what matters, presenting their policy solutions to the nation’s problems. As Clinton stated so clearly: “I’ll take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz anytime.” That’s the right idea.

After all, once the primaries end, both parties have to abandon rancor and unite behind their party’s nominee. The less personal the debate, the more likely a party can enter the general election united. Come November, New Mexicans have another consideration, too. Former Gov. Gary Johnson is running for president as a Libertarian.

The lengthy primary season has exposed the nation to raw politics in its best and worst. Importantly for New Mexicans, this drawn-out fight gives voters here the unusual opportunity to influence the presidential election. Let’s not pass it up.

Felicia Salazar
Communications Director
Democratic Party of New Mexico

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/dpnm-news-clips-april-11-2016/

DPNM Chairwoman Debra Haaland Welcomes First Lady Michelle Obama’s Announcement to Visit New Mexico

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04/04/2016
Contact: Felicia Salazar
Phone: (505)750-2585

The first lady will deliver commencement address at the Santa Fe Indian School Albuquerque, N.M. – Today, the Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairwoman Debra Haaland, the first Native American woman to lead a statewide party in New Mexico, welcomed the announcement that First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the commencement address at the Santa Fe Indian School (SFIS) on May 26.

“I am so excited that First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the commencement address at SFIS,” said Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairwoman Debra Haaland. “The young people who attend high school there are the future leaders of their tribal communities and of our state, and this experience will be an inspiring memory for them.”

Chairwoman Haaland also credited President Obama for his initiatives to engage tribal communities.
“President Obama has demonstrated an invested interest in Indian communities– he has consistently worked to ensure tribes have a seat at the table and that decisions affecting our communities are made with our input. His efforts have truly made a difference and will shape how future government to government interactions are managed.”

The First Lady’s participation in the Santa Fe Indian School’s commencement is part of President Obama’s White House Generation Indigenous Initiative, which focuses on improving the lives of Native youth through new investments and increased engagement. This initiative takes a comprehensive, cultural approach to ensure all young Native people can reach their full potential.

The Santa Fe Indian School is owned and operated by the 19 Pueblos and is a leader in Native American education.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/dpnm-chairwoman-debra-haaland-welcomes-first-lady-michelle-obamas-announcement-to-visit-new-mexico/

SANDOVAL COUNTY TREASURER MONTOYA ELECTED TO NATIONAL LEADERSHIP POST

NACo

N E W S R E L E A S E

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MARCH 9, 2016
Local Contact: Judi Walker, jwalker@sandovalcountynm.gov, 505-867-7579
NACo CONTACT: Brian Namey, bnamey@naco.org, 202.942.4220

LauraMMontoyaWASHINGTON, D.C. – Sandoval County Treasurer Laura M. Montoya was recently elected Vice Chair of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Next Generation Network, a group of approximately 300 county officials and staff dedicated to professional development and community service.

“It’s an honor to serve as a leader in NACo’s Next Generation Network. I look forward to sharing our experiences and expertise in developing sound policies at the national level,” Montoya said.  “We share a passion for public service and address issues that affect counties across the country.”

The Next Generation Network provides a forum for young county officials nationwide to network, become engaged in NACo and develop a new generation of leaders.  It identifies and supports the educational and professional development needs of leaders and draws on their talents, ideas and expertise to inform NACo’s work.

The Next Generation Network incorporates a service project during their annual meeting. As part of NACo’s 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition in Los Angeles County, Calif., Next Generation is planning a service project which will focus on packaging and delivering hygiene and food products to help combat poverty.

Montoya has been active in NACo since 2013 and is a member of NACo’s Programs and Services Standing Committee and the Rural Action Caucus Steering Committee. Montoya is also a member of the National Association of County Collectors, Treasurer’s and Finance Officers (NACCTFO).  Montoya was appointed by NACo President Sallie Clark to serve as Vice Chair of the Finance, Pensions and Intergovernmental Affairs Steering Committee (FPIGA) which comprises almost 100 elected officials.

 

The National Association of Counties (NACo) unites America’s 3,069 county governments.  Founded in 1935, NACo brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public’s understanding of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service.  More information at: www.naco.org.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/sandoval-county-treasurer-montoya-elected-to-national-leadership-post-2/

Martinez Supreme Court Appointee Violates Judicial Conduct Rules

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02/26/2016
Contact: Joe Kabourek
Phone: (505) 303-0748

Nakamura Inappropriately Solicited Donors, Joins Long List of Martinez Cronies Who Don’t Follow Rules

Chairwoman Debra Haaland, on behalf of The Democratic Party of New Mexico, on Friday filed a complaint against Gov. Susana Martinez’s hand-picked New Mexico Supreme Court Justice, Judy Nakamura, who sent out a personal fundraising solicitation in January—in direct violation of the New Mexico Code of Judicial Conduct—making her the latest of the governor’s cronies to try to get away with breaking the rules.

Party officials cited in their complaint a January 13 email sent by the New Mexico Republican Party that contained a “message from Judge (sic) Judy Nakamura.” That message, signed with Nakamura’s name, directly solicited contributions to the justice’s campaign.

Rule 21-404 of the Code clearly states that: “Candidates shall not personally solicit. . .contributions for their owNakamuran campaigns.”

“The rules are clear,” said Joe Kabourek, Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director. “Judicial candidates, like Judy Nakamura, cannot personally solicit donations. Period. Justice Nakamura, handpicked by Gov. Susana Martinez to serve on the New Mexico Supreme Court, is not following the rules. New Mexicans deserve leaders—especially judges and justices—who not only uphold the rules, but follow them as well.”

Kabourek further said that Nakamura’s actions were the latest in a string of Martinez allies and appointees—as well as Martinez herself—who were caught breaking the rules.

“Gov. Martinez and her cronies think they are above the law,” Kabourek said. “They are not. From bullying law enforcement officers, as the governor did, to stealing money from campaign coffers, as her Secretary of State did, there is a clear pattern. Martinez and her cronies think they don’t have to follow the rules.”

Holding public servants accountable for their actions, regardless of who they are, is the only way to address these problems and ensure the public can trust their leaders, Kabourek said.

“It doesn’t matter in New Mexico if you are the Secretary of State or a justice on the Supreme Court,” Kabourek said. “The law is the law and the rules are the rules. No one is above the law. No one should be allowed to violate public trust.

According to Rule 21-406, the complaint, which was filed with the Judicial Standards Commission via U.S. mail, must be heard within 10 days of being filed.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/martinez-supreme-court-appointee-violates-judicial-conduct-rules/

Behavioral Health Providers Cleared; Now Who Will Investigate Governor?

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Martinez Shut Down Behavioral Health System on False Pretenses, Gave Contracts to Donors

The Democratic Party of New Mexico welcomed news on Monday that the Attorney General Hector Balderas had cleared the last of the behavioral health providers charged by the state with fraud, but the party also called for an investigation into Gov. Susana Martinez and her role in effectively shutting down more than a dozen behavioral health providers and then giving lucrative contracts to one of her largest campaign donors to do take on the work.

“The Attorney General’s decision, while welcomed, doesn’t begin to bring justice for the providers who lost their livelihoods, the patients who lost their care and the students who went without critical support services,” said Joe Kabourek, Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director. “These providers and their patients did nothing wrong, but Susana Martinez did. She shut down these community-based businesses with no evidence so that she could throw millions of dollars in contracts to a fat-cat donor. The real investigation that’s needed here is an investigation into Gov. Susana Martinez’s decision to strip care away from thousands of New Mexicans while lining the pockets of her campaign contributors.”

Optum Health, whose Arizona-based behavioral health providers were whisked in to provide services after the governor and her administration shut down local providers, has been a major contributor to the governor’s campaigns, the Republican and even “wined and dined” the governor’s official staff in advance of getting the lucrative contracts, according to local newspaper reports.

“This is cronyism, plain and simple,” Kabourek said. “Susana Martinez shut down hard-working, local behavioral health services providers in order to pay back her high-dollar campaign contributors – and New Mexican families paid the very high price.”

This latest example of the governor’s using her authority to benefit a wealthy few is, unfortunately, nothing new, Kabourek said.

“From the FBI’s investigation of the governor to her own secretary of standing ending up in jail on corruption charges, the Martinez Administration has been plagued by scandal after scandal,” Kabourek said. “The unjustified destruction of our state’s behavioral health system to benefit her wealthy friends is just another example of Gov. Susana Martinez abusing her power to benefit her wealthy friends. New Mexicans deserve better and they deserve answers.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/behavioral-health-providers-cleared-now-who-will-investigate-governor/

DPNM: Espinoza’s New-Found Interest in Election Law Politically Expedient

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02/03/2016
Contact: Doug Pacheco
Phone: (505) 231-5990

Rep Introduces 3 Elections Bills 24 Hours After Filing Candidacy for Sec of State

The Democratic Party of New Mexico on Wednesday called Rep. Nora Espinoza’s new-found interest in
elections law a political stunt that has her, once again, using her official position in the Legislature to
boost her candidacy for Secretary of State.

Specifically, within 24 hours of filing as a candidate for Secretary of State, Espinoza introduced three
election-related bills—issues she hasn’t addressed in her previous nine years in the Legislature.
“For nine years Rep. Nora Espinoza has been in the New Mexico House of Representatives,” said Joe
Kabourek, Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director, “and the first time she introduces any
elections-related legislation is less than 24 hours after she files to run for Secretary of State? New
Mexicans deserve better. After the scandals that rocked the Secretary of State’s office during Dianna
Duran’s tenure, people want change. New Mexicans deserve a Secretary of State who understands how
to make state government accountable and transparent—not a Secretary of State who conveniently
discovered elections law after she announced her candidacy.”

Last week, DPNM also filed an ethics complaint against Espinoza after she directed local radio show
listeners to go to her official legislative website to get information about her candidacy for Secretary of
State. Use of official government resources for campaigning is strictly prohibited.
According to DPNM, Espinoza’s recent introduction of legislation looks like she is again trying to leverage
her official position to benefit her campaign.

“Rep. Espinoza never cared about election law until today,” Kabourek said. “Now she’s looking to use
last-minute legislative proposals to try to boost her candidacy for Secretary of State. Rep. Espinoza’s
constituents elected her to represent them, not to grandstand during the legislative session to promote
her own career.”

In a 30-day budget session, only non-budget bills that receive a “message” from the governor can be
heard. As of Wednesday afternoon, the governor’s website did not show any new messages issued since
Espinoza introduced her bills.

“Gov. Susana Martinez has already endorsed Rep. Espinoza for Secretary of State,” Kabourek said. “The
governor’s own political action committee sent out an email last week asking the governor’s supporters
to get behind Rep. Espinoza’s candidacy. Will the governor give her hand-picked candidate a message on
her elections bills to help raise her profile? Given the scandals and corruption that have plagued the Martinez Administration, it seems likely that Gov. Martinez will once again work the system to support one of her cronies.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/dpnm-espinozas-new-found-interest-in-election-law-politically-expedient/

Does Martinez Still support GOP SOS Candidate Who Used Government Resources for Campaign?

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01/30/2015
Contact: Joe Kabourek
Phone: (505) 830-3650

The Democratic Party of New Mexico is calling on Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday to clarify whether she still supports prospective Republican secretary of state candidate Rep. Nora Espinoza after KOB 4 revealed yesterday that Espinoza had used official government resources for her campaign.

“Does Gov. Martinez continue to support Rep. Nora Espinoza’s bid for Secretary of State?” asked Joe Kabourek, Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director. “Does Gov. Martinez condone the use of government resources for campaigning? Given the recent scandals that have plagued the Martinez Administration and the secretary of state’s office, these are important questions that deserve immediate answers.”

Gov. Susana Martinez on Wednesday sent out an email through her political action committee, SusanaPAC, urging people to support Rep. Nora Espinoza for secretary of state by helping collect the signatures legally required to place Espinoza on the ballot. At the same time, evidence surfaced showing that Espinoza was using her legislative website and contact information to support her campaign for secretary of state.

“It is very clear: Rep. Nora Espinoza was using legislative resources during the legislative session to campaign for Secretary of State,” Kabourek said. “Espinoza said herself on the radio that her legislative website was the place to go for information about her campaign. New Mexicans need a strong, ethical secretary of state. Will Gov. Martinez continue to put politics over ethics and maintain her support for Espinoza?”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/does-martinez-still-support-gop-sos-candidate-who-used-government-resources-for-campaign/

Martinez Administration’s Scandals, Cronyism Hurting New Mexico Economy

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Research Shows Gov. Needs to Allow Ethics Reforms to Create Jobs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01/28/2016
Contact: Joe Kabourek
Phone: (505) 830-3650

According to research recently released by a University of New Mexico professor, the state’s reputation for corruption and cronyism – which landed New Mexico at the top of a recent list of the worst-run states – is part of the reason that the state’s economy is failing and, in order to create jobs, Gov. Susana Martinez must finally act to pass meaningful ethics reforms.

“This study confirms what most New Mexicans already know: The lack of public trust in government under the Martinez Administration is hurting our state and businesses are holding back because of it,” said Joe Kabourek, Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director. “If Gov. Martinez is serious about turning our economy around and creating jobs, she needs to stop holding ethics reform hostage and start working across the aisle to clean up her administration.”

The study specifically cited an independent ethics commission and improved campaign finance reporting as two key ways to restore trust in government and to encourage businesses to set up shop and stay in New Mexico.

While legislators on both sides of the aisle have introduced legislation to address these issues, Martinez has failed to allow the legislature to act – something only the Governor can do.

“We must act now to restore faith in New Mexico’s leaders,” Kabourek said. “From a federal grand jury investigation of the governor to the former secretary of state spending time in jail, public trust in government is at an all-time low. The governor can’t continue to ignore these problems. Hard-working New Mexicans are paying the price as their jobs disappear and they can’t find work to put food on the table.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/martinez-administrations-scandals-cronyism-hurting-new-mexico-economy/

State of the GOP States: A State of Disarray

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/state-of-the-gop-states-a-state-of-disarray/

DPNM: Gov Issues 26 ‘Messages’; All Send Wrong Message to New Mexicans

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/21/2016

Contact: Joe Kabourek
Phone: (505) 830-3650

Martinez Allows Legislature to Consider Her Pet Issues, But Ethics Not on Agenda

Despite more than a half dozen bills on ethics and campaign reform having been filed already in this legislative session, the 26 executive messages that Gov. Susana Martinez issued on Wednesday involved only the governor’s pet issues and did nothing to indicate consideration of bills that would directly address the egregious ethical lapses in her administration, said Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairwoman Debra Haaland.

“It is clear that ethics in state government is not a priority for Gov. Susana Martinez,” Haaland said. “Instead of getting down to the business of fixing state government and restoring New Mexicans’ trust in their leaders, the governor is playing politics again.”

The more than two-dozen messages issued on Wednesday included teen curfews, mandatory flunking for third-graders and revoking immigrant driver’s licenses. The governor has not been willing to talk about ethics and campaign reform since news broke that she is under federal grand jury investigation and since her secretary of state was convicted on corruption charges, but Martinez had alluded in her state of the state address that she would allow some campaign finance issues to be considered.

“Why is the governor afraid of having an open debate about the kinds of ethics reforms that we need in New Mexico?” Chairwoman Haaland said. “Whether it’s creating an effective ethics commission or allowing for the governor’s discretionary fund—which she used for her now infamous pizza party—to be audited, there are good bills ready to be considered that will start to change the culture of corruption that has flourished under the Martinez Administration.”

The primary focus of this year’s 30-day legislative session is to pass a budget for the state. Only the governor has the power to allow non-budget bills to be considered. That means it is up to the governor to keep her word and support ethics reforms. Given the short duration of the session, the longer it takes for a bill to be considered, the less likely that bill is to pass. There are 28 days left in this year’s session.

“The people of New Mexico cannot wait any longer,” Haaland said. “The time is now for Gov. Martinez to break her own silence and allow the Legislature to debate ethics reform legislation. What is the governor waiting for?”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/dpnm-gov-issues-26-messages-all-send-wrong-message-to-new-mexicans/

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