Sunday, September 14, 2008

Congressman Says New Mexico Can't Afford Teacher Merit Pay.

Saturday afternoon, nearly 200 South Valley Democrats skipped the lower State Fair Admission fees and decided to attend the opening of Barack Obama's 34th office in New Mexico instead.

The Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Joe Baca (CA43), who was born in New Mexico, told the crowd he's never forgotten his local roots, and they can count on him to be the state's "6th" congressional member in congress.

Later, he told "The Word" that creating good paying jobs is the best way to lower the number of people living below the poverty level (estimated at 17 percent) here.

He says Democrats will fix the No Child Left Behind program, which was never properly funded, and get back to teaching kids how to think critically rather than teaching them test answers.

But in this audio interview, Baca told us there's no way to budget merit pay for teachers.

It's is difficult to determine if Baca represents 21 or 22 members in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, because last year one of it's members quit.

California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez quit the group and accused Baca of calling her a "whore."

In February 2007, The Politico reported:

The Sanchez withdrawal is a blow to Baca and his allies who have been trying to bring the caucus back together after a series of internal spats last year. Many of the more junior members and the women have butted heads with him and senior lawmakers.

... six members withdrew from the group's political action committee after Baca and his allies authorized political contributions to family members who were running for state and local offices.

Chairman Baca told the Politico that Sanchez' claims were baseless,but you can read here about two other Representatives complaining last winter about their treatment, by Baca, in the Caucus.

Baca indicated it is likely that Ben Ray Lujan Jr. will join the caucus in Washington if he's elected in November.

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