Saturday, August 16, 2008

Special Session Measures Pass!

Governor Bill Richardson praised the state House of Representatives for passing measures to help schools cover rising fuel costs, to expand eligibility for child care, to reduce the tax burden for working families and to supplement the 2008 general election budget.

“Tonight, the members of the House of Representatives took the first, bold steps to provide relief to working families who are hurting because of rising fuel costs and struggling to get health care for their children as well as cover child care costs,” said Governor Richardson. “The Senate, working as a committee of the whole, earnestly debated several bills and I understand they will continue their work tomorrow [Sunday].”

Bills passed on Saturday included:

HB 2 School Bus Fuel Costs

HB 4 Working Families Tax Credit

HB 6 General Election Funds

HB 7 Child Care Programs Funds

Governor’s Health Care Reforms Introduced in Santa Fe.

Governor Bill Richardson’s Health Care Reform Package has been introduced in the 2008 Legislative Special Session. The three bills introduced in the House and Senate focus on insurance reform, including covering all uninsured New Mexico children, consolidation of public programs, and electronic protection of patient privacy.

“My health care reform package will give 50 thousand uninsured children access to health care, will assure patient’s medical records remain private, will reform health insurance, and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy,” said Governor Richardson. “This package is fiscally responsible, meets the urgent need to cover every child, and makes insurance more affordable at a time when state government can afford to help its citizens.”

Senate Bill 22, Health Insurance Reform is sponsored by Senator Mary Jane Garcia. This legislation focuses on insurance reform issues that include; guaranteed coverage despite pre-existing conditions, requiring insurance companies spend 85 percent of premiums collected on direct services, a phased in reduction of rate increases due to health experience for small employers and a requirement that children through age 18 enroll in a health coverage plan as well as the funds to cover all children eligible for public programs in the state.

Senate Bill 19, the Health Care Benefits Act is sponsored by Senator Tim Jennings. This bill creates the Health Care Benefits Administration and phases in consolidation of public health coverage programs which will lead to more efficient and effective administration.

House Bill 5, the Electronic Medical Records and Health Information Exchange Act is sponsored by Representative Peter Wirth. This Act will protect patient privacy during electronic medical record exchanges and clarify when and how electronic medical records can be used.”

Udall Calls War In Iraq A Foreign Policy Blunder

On Saturday morning, Page One Bookstore hosted a Town Hall Meeting for Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Tom Udall.

Listen to Udall's remarks delivered to about seventy people.

Udall says he entered public service to "stand up and do the right thing."

During the meeting, Udall told voters about his record in state government and in Congress.

He reminded them he voted against the war in Iraq from the beginning. He says historians will write that it was the country's worst foreign policy blunder ever.

Udall also spoke to the group about his record as NM State Attorney General. He told the group he's proud of his record fighting DWI, domestic violence and corruption in government despite it "not being very popular."

The candidate says his staffers are running a positive campaign.

"We have tried to keep it positive. Our objective is to introduce people to what we've been working on in congress."

Udall also analyzed several outside groups, who support his opponent, Republican Steve Pearce. He says they've come out with attack after attack. He believe that's one contrast voters have noticed between Pearce and himself.

Udall says he's campaigning and working to appeal to "the better interests" of voters by telling them what kind of U.S. Senator he'll be if elected in November.

TV Spot Makes Pokes Fun at Governor's Health Plan

A television ad, introduced on the first day of the Special Session, is being aired throughout New Mexico. It’s taking shots at the Governor’s universal healthcare plan.

The 30 second commercial produced by State Senator Bill Sharer is comparing the notoriously poor customer service at the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department to what could be expected if Governor Bill Richardson is successful in getting his way with Universal Healthcare.

The ad claims the governor’s plan could eventually replace private doctor’s offices with state-run clinics.

The spot shows a disinterested, gum- chomping state employee handing out numbers to patients waiting for medical attention.

Patient number 7 has apparently waited a long time because when his number is finally called, he is found dead in his chair and a white sheet is thrown over his body.

The spots tagline states: Do you want the same people who run the state motor vehicle department to run your health care?

“It is a great tagline for the spot and a great question everyone needs to ask before the state is saddled with a universal healthcare plan that will treat us like cattle, or worse, like people waiting for service at MVD ,” Senator Sharer said.

The spots plays tonight on broadcast and cable television stations and can be seen on the internet on, by searching under: Universal Healthcare New Mexico.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Obama Scheduled to Visit New Mexico Before Convention.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is scheduled to make another visit to New Mexico. The Illinois senator's campaign staff would only say that he's hosting "an event" here on Monday.

I wonder if Bill Richardson has been invited?


The Governor's speech writer's haven't returned calls, so I guess we shouldn't be speculating.

Other's say he must still be in the running for Obama's Vice-Presidential pick because he's now scheduled to speak to the convention on Wednesday August 27th.

That's the same day allotted for the V.P. acceptance speech. But Senator's Evan Byah and Joe Biden (V.P. contenders themselves) are also on Wednesday's speaking schedule.

Perhaps Richardson has been asked to place the V.P.'s name into nomination and make an introductory speech. The dramatic wait continues . . .

New Mexico political blogger Heath Haussamen reports:

Obama’s campaign said earlier this week that almost every scenario that would give him the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency requires that he win New Mexico. Obama has made the state a priority: He’s already opened 24 campaign offices here and plans more, and he has visited New Mexico twice since he won the primary. He was in Las Cruces in May and Albuquerque in June.

Photo Credit: MG Bralley

Domenici Says Pearce Will Represent New Mexico Values

This morning, retiring six-term Senator Pete Domenici endorsed Republican Senate Candidate Steve Pearce at a Victory 2008 Rally in Albuquerque.

In this SPEECH Domenici told the crowd of about 150 GOP VIP's and volunteers it will take hard work for Pearce to win the election this fall because Democrats have more money, but he says, "Pearce represents the values of New Mexico."

Domenici , who's spent the last 36 years in Washington, believes Pearce will have a strong voice and never back down on raising taxes, the 2nd Amendment, and will never authorize partial birth abortions.

He's says if Udall is elected in November he believes the U.S. Senate "will veer dramatically left."

The six-term Republican showed the crowd differences in voting records and policy stands between himself and Pearce and Tom Udall. Domenici also warned Pearce's supporters he believe's Udall is too closely aligned to environmental extremists.

Domenici told A.P. Reporter Heather Clark, in this RESPONSE he wasn't surprised she asked him if the public would believe he was genuine with today's endorsement, because he'd decided late in the primary to endorse Heather Wilson.

Wilson, who just returned from Northern Africa, says in this SPEECH, that Udall should never serve in the Senate because he doesn't understand the mission of the labs and is weak on national security.

Wilson was introduced by Republican National Committeeman-Elect Pat Rogers. He told the crowd if McCain wins Wilson will likely have a cabinet level role or high ranking national security post.

Finally, Pearce got a chance to thank the crowd for their support.

In this SPEECH, Pearce says he'll fight to open up offshore drilling and pledged to never raise taxes.

The Senator is in New Mexico while Congress is adjourned. This is his public schedule for the remainder of the week.

On Friday at 10 a.m., Domenici will join Albuquerque-region business leaders and representatives to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Sandia Science and Technology Park. International Programs Building, Sandia Science and Technology Park, 1066 Research Road SE.

And in Espanola on Friday night at 7pm, Senator Domenici will deliver remarks at the 12th anniversary dinner celebration for the LANL Foundation, proceeds for which will be used to endow a scholarship in his name.

On Saturday at 3pm, he’ll attend a tribute at the National alliance for Mental Illness. The (NAMI) ceremony is recognizing notable contributions to mental health awareness. The honorees include Domenici and his family for their commitment to improving the lives of Americans with mental illness. Central New Mexico Community College, Smith Brasher Hall, 717 University Blvd, SE.

Photos by MG Bralley

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Governor Bill Richardson Pushes for Fiscally Responsible Rebates, Health Care Coverage for Kids Before Friday's Special Session.

Governor Bill Richardson announced today that he will move ahead with a fiscally responsible CARE package of tax rebates for New Mexico families to reflect an updated revenue picture for the state.

“The bottom line is the state still expects $225 million in extra money – money that should go back to New Mexico families who are struggling to make ends meet,” Governor Bill Richardson said. “I am confident we can put money in people’s pockets in a fiscally responsible way.”

Governor Richardson, working with legislative leaders, directed state economists representing the administration and the Legislature to prepare an updated consensus-revenue forecast this week to get a more accurate picture of the state’s economy before the special session that is scheduled to start on Friday.

Today’s forecast reduced the amount of new, one-time money available in the current FY 2009 budget year from $392 million to $225 million – reflecting lower oil and natural gas prices. That means $225 million will be on the table during the special session for one-time tax rebates and other relief for New Mexico families.

Governor Richardson is revamping his CARE package to reflect the new revenue figures. The new package will be presented to legislators before the special session starts on Friday.

Today’s revenue forecast also reduced the amount of new, on-going, or recurring, money that will be available starting July 2010. Economists agreed that the Governor and the Legislature can count on $351 million being available starting next year to pay for priorities like health care reform. Economists will meet two more times before the start of the 2009 legislative session.

Governor Richardson has proposed carving out $58 million from that $351 million in new, recurring money to pay for his health coverage plan, which includes an aggressive effort to cover all children under the age of 19.

Photo: MG Bralley

Monday, August 11, 2008

FAIR AND BALANCED? The Proof Is In The Audio.

Some blogs, okay most blogs are pretty one- sided. We'll stay fair and balanced. Today we're bringing you audio from two national leaders representing both parties.

They were in the state consulting congressional campaigns, and doing what they do best...asking you for your money.

Our little on-line note pad is meant to be an extension of our on air reporting. It allows folks to hear extended interviews rather than quick sound bites.

Okay its time to earn your trust and prove we're the most balanced political blog in the state. Our text is pretty vanilla, but at least you'll get a chance to hear the candidates and their supporters, or in this case, their handlers directly.

Last Thursday, Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel, who successfully managed congressional races for the Democrats in 2006 as Chairman of the DNCCC, campaigned in New Mexico for Martin Heinrich, Harry Teague, and Ben Ray Lujan.

He believes American's appetite for change in Washington will give Democrats key wins. He says, "the problems Bush has dug are pretty deep."

Rahm joined Heinrich at Highland Park to talk about the need for more Federal money to support community policing. In this SHORT SPEECH Rahm told the crowd we're investing more money in Iraq police officers than are own city police forces.

For more coverage on the event check out Matthew Reichbach's coverage on FBIHOP.

In this AUDIO INTERVIEW Rahm told me he's optimistic about gaining an even larger majority in the U.S. House after the November vote. Rahm says that Democrats expect to pick up all three open seats in New Mexico.

But 2008 RNCC Chairman Tom Cole - Oklahoma (the lone native American in Congress) isn't so sure about that prediction.

"Rahm," he told me "shouldn't be so confident."

Cole says he isn't tossing in the towel just yet.

On Monday, he campaigned with Darren White and later in the evening attended a fundraising event, with about 70 people, at long-time State Republican power player Mickey Barnett's house.

A source in the crowd told me Cole definitely energized the crowd. My insider tells me supporters are ready to go canvassing door-to-door for White.

I also learned White is staying home and won't attend the Republican National Convention the first week in September. White says he'd rather work the campaign trail here, making phone calls and attending grass roots events, and asking people to support his candidacy.

In this AUDIO INTERVIEW Cole says, "We've got a great candidate in Darren White." Cole admits it will be a close, hard fought election. He reaffirmed an earlier statement that he made to other candidates that they should run against the Bush administration and even other Republicans because Washington has become in his words, "dysfunctional."

Cole also talked to us about taxes, energy, unemployment and immigration during the interview.

Later he briefed us, in this 2nd AUDIO INTERVIEW, on his weekend trip to South Eastern New Mexico to visit Ed Tinsley in the 2nd Congressional District.

Pearce: Domenici to Endorse Campaign

U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce made the following announcement today:

It is my honor and privilege to announce that U.S. Senator Pete Domenici will be endorsing my candidacy for his seat after a long and distinguished career.

For more than three and a half decades Senator Domenici has served the people of New Mexico through projects both large and small. Through his hard work he kept Kirtland Air Force Base from closing, the national laboratories funded and helped to attract many high-tech companies to the state.

The New York Times once described him as one of the Senate’s “hardest working, most intelligent and most intense members”, accurately portraying the man who only wanted to do what was right for New Mexico and for our nation.

When he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972 he became the first Republican to do so in 38 years, and I will be proud to continue his legacy. Please join me on Thursday, August 14th at the New Mexico Victory Headquarters in Albuquerque for this historic occasion for our state.


Steve Pearce

Event Details:

  • Thursday, August 14, 2008
  • 10:45 AM
  • New Mexico Victory Headquarters
  • 5643 Jefferson Road NE, Suite B
  • Albuquerque, NM 87109

Udall Kicks Off ‘Doing Right By New Mexico" Tour

On Tuesday, United States Senate Candidate and Congressman Tom Udall , D-N.M., will kickoff his campaign’s ‘Doing Right By New Mexico Tour’ in Sunland Park .

Udall said, "With the economy suffering and prices for gas, food, healthcare and education climbing higher every day, New Mexicans need a leader in the United States Senate who will put our interests first. "

For the next two weeks, Udall will travel around the state. He plans to exchange ideas with New Mexicans about how to get "our country back on track. "

Udall plans to listen to New Mexicans and insists he'll "always do right by New Mexico in the United States Senate."

All listed events are open to public.
Tour Updates, event video and schedules can be found at .

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Commerce Secretary: America Will Pay Dearly for Economic Isolation Policies

Carlos Gutierrez rose from Cuban refugee to captain of industry to Secretary of Commerce. On Sunday, he visited Albuquerque.

Before a town hall meeting with small business owners he talked to us about his role opening new international markets for New Mexico farmers and small business entrepreneurs.

In this AUDIO INTERVIEW Gutierrez says America’s exports are a bigger part of our economy than ever before with annual growth above 12.5 percent.

He also addressed increasing unemployment rates. In July unemployment rates grew to 5.7 percent. Some 51,000 jobs were lost nationally. New Mexico’s stable economy help buffered job losses here, but the state still had 1,000 positions eliminated in June.

Gutierrez said, “losing just one job is bad,” but insists the Bush Administration $150 Billion dollar stimulus package is working. He says second quarter growth was 1.9 percent, and believes tax policies are critical to creating jobs. Gutierrez tells us he’s supporting Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain, because his tax policies will allow small companies to create new jobs.

“He has a passion for small businesses,” said Gutierrez. “He’ll give them incentives to grow and prosper with his free trade policies.”

Gutierrez says America can compete on the world economic stage and briefly accessed this weekend's Russian vs Georgia conflict.

“We cannot step back and isolate ourselves. If we do that today when everyone else is trying to gain access to countries for their companies we’re are going to be at a serious disadvantage.”

He warns the country will “pay dearly” if America isolates itself at a time when other developing everyone is involved in competing. He says McCain wants to push forward.

Gutierrez said likely-Democratic Presidential Nominee Sen. Barack Obama has a policy of economic isolation. He says that “will hurt us.”

Before heading to a town hall meeting in the north valley at El Pinto Restaurant Gutierrez also talked to us about high gas prices, offshore drilling, the need for developing nuclear power in the U.S., and his profound disappointment that Congress didn’t act on the 700-page immigration law because of one word: Amnesty.

The former CEO of Kellogg Company, a Cuban Exile advocate, also laid out his own plans following his term in the Bush Administration.

ABC Viewers Slam Governor Richardson!

On Sunday, ABC's Senior National Correspondent Jake Tapper filled in as moderator for George Stephanopoulos on This Week.

Tapper talked to Governor Bill Richardson about the conflict between Russia and Georgia, energy policies (during the Clinton years), and how they may have slowed off shore drilling starts.

Tapper and Richardson also talked and about his upcoming fundraisers for Hillary Clinton, and whether or not the party is unified heading into Denver the end of the month.

Here's a direct link to the TV segment where Richardson also says the public will forgive John Edwards. He said he feels badly for the family after Edwards admitted to an illicit affair.

Perhaps, still in the running to be Barack Obama's Vice President pick, Richardson chose to stick to talking points. Earlier in the morning, the ABQ Journal's Washington Bureau Chief Michael Coleman suggested that Richardson has a shot and really wants to be picked V.P. The paper's Sunday morning editorial also gave Richardson props and say's he's ready for a top spot in a possible Obama administration.

Following the program, Richardson, who ironically was in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, multiple viewers posted comments that were not so kind to the Governor. On the program's public comment page most viewers said Richardson failed to answer Tapper's questions directly. A few said Tapper looked like a McCain Cheerleader.