Monday, November 10, 2008

State Treasurer Savoring "Obama-time"

Months before New Mexico State Treasurer James Lewis was re-elected president of the Western State Treasurers Association he stood on the steps of the state capitol in Santa Fe and told a crowd gathered there that he was going to endorse Barack Obama.

In March and April, Lewis campaigned and was elected as an Obama delegate to the DNC in Denver this August.

On Tuesday night, Lewis could be seen cherishing the historic 2008 election while watching network newscasters declare Obama had captured the 270 electoral votes needed to be elected.

Lewis told the crowd of about 2500 people at the ABQ Convention Center that he had a premonition about Obama. He said, "I knew he was a special person." Lewis believes the 47-year old president-elect has the fortitude and the vision to lead the country though some of the most pressing issues, including the economy.

We had a chance to talk to Lewis on Friday.

Lewis tells us he's looking at the election of the 44th President of the United States in its historical perspective. He says the country has come along way since the Jim Crow laws, used to block African Americans from voting. Lewis even reminded us that before the 1965 Voting Rights Act his relatives were prevented from voting because they didn't know how many "bubbles were in a bar of soap."

"This is a proud moment for me," said Lewis. "It's a sense of achievement."

Lewis says any young person who goes out and gets a good education and has a strong work ethic can acheieve anything they want.

"He's getting the last laugh," said Lewis about Obama's election on Tuesday.

Lewis said, "Obama had a history of pulling people together. We need someone like him during these tough economic times."

"He'll surround himself with competent people and will listen to his advisors," said Lewis who has not yet heard if he'll be appointed to a transition team. In 1993 Lewis was picked by the President-Elect Clinton and worked with four or five other people developing a transition report for the export/import bank.

For now he's preparing for the legislature and and projected revenue shortfalls.

Lewis also took a few minutes analyzing what the New Mexican Republican Party might consider doing to re-establish itself after stunning defeats in all three congressional districts.

Our colleagues at Democracy for New Mexico captured Lewis on stage election night in this video. And the ABQJOURNAL covered the state's African American community exuberant reaction to Obama's election here.

You can also listen to our interview with Mr. Lewis in Denver during the DNC in our audio archives.

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