Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ex-Communication Would Not Worry NM Senate Leader

On Thursday night, June 18th, Bernalillo County democrats heard Senator Michael Sanchez (D-Valencia) tell them who his heroes are, and why he's exploring a run for governor in 2010.

What they may not have expected to hear is a story he told them about attending church in his hometown of Belen.

Sanchez told the crowd that a priest in his parish doesn't "much care for me." Sanchez believes it's because of his support for a woman's right to choose and domestic partnership measures.

In front of his wife and daughter, who attended the meeting at UNM Law School with him, Sanchez told about 50 people he doesn't care if he's ex-communicated from the church for his public policy stands.

Sanchez told the story in response to a question about the Catholic Church's influence defeating a domestic partnership bill in the state senate. Note: We did not have the camera rolling at the time he made his statement about ex-communication.

In this video Sanchez remembers his heroes, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and baseball heroes Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente. He say's they taught him to work hard and care for other people.

At 5:48 minutes into the video, Sanchez talks about his disappointment Senate Bill 12's defeat.

Sanchez announced he would be forming an exploratory committee to run for governor on his Facebook page in May, but has not updated his wall since then.

Lt. Governor Diane Denish, who was on vacation last week, was represented by her daughter, Susan Schreiber, who talked about her mother's record for the last eight years.

Three candidates for lieutenant governor, Senators Gerald Ortiz y Pino & Linda Lopez, along with Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano (who is currently the only one of the three candidates with a campaign blog, Twitter account and Facebook page), each had five minutes to address the crowd.

Incumbent Bernalillo County Assessor Karen Montoya, and Bernalillo County Sheriff candidate Sylvester Stanley, an army vet and FBI National Academy graduate, with 30 years of law enforcement experience, also spoke at the meeting.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Arnold-Jones Prepares to Announce 2010 Exploratory Committee for Governor

After giving former U.S. Representative Heather Wilson plenty of time to decide on a 2010 gubernatorial bid, Republican State Representative Janice Arnold-Jones' patience has apparently run out. Our sources tell us she's preparing paperwork for the Secretary of State's office, and plans to announce her own exploratory committee for governor in 2010 some time next week.

Arnold-Jones and Wilson reportedly met for lunch at the Cooperage, in Albuquerque on Thursday, to discuss their political plans, but after Wilson told Arnold-Jones she still hadn't made a final decision, the four-term representative decided to move forward next week.

The decision comes on the same day the Democratic Governor's Association released a poll which shows Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish with a 22 point lead over possible republican candidates Wilson and former U.S. Senate Candidate Steve Pearce.

Arnold-Jones, who has represented Albuquerque's North East heights in House District 24 would have to give up her seat if she won her party's nomination.

Arnold-Jones could be making the move now because two other republicans are already touring the state collecting commitments and money. Former Party Chairman Allen Weh announced his exploratory committee on May 5th, and Greg Zanetti has all but announced his candidacy.

She has a long legislative record, and earlier this year was the first legislator to webcast from the roundhouse during a Taxation and Revenue Committee meeting.

Arnold-Jones, who graduated from Albuquerque High School in 1970, attended a GOPAC meeting in Washington, D.C. last week and met with key Republican leaders to determine what level of support she will have at the RNC.

Political blogger Heath Haussamen hosted a non-scientific poll on his blog the last week of May. He asked readers to vote on who they would support in a Republican primary race for Governor. The results were split, but Arnold-Jones came in third with 12 percent of the votes.
Of 438 voters, 123, or 28 percent, said the GOP should nominate Allen Weh, while 120, or 27 percent, said the party should pick Heather Wilson. Some 54 voters, or 12 percent, picked Janice Arnold-Jones, while 46, or 11 percent, picked Steve Pearce. Another 45, or 10 percent, picked Greg Zanetti, while 42, or 10 percent, said the GOP should nominate “someone else,” and eight, or 2 percent, said they don’t know.

Arnold-Jones was criticized earlier this week by Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, who lost his 1st congressional bid to Democrat Martin Heinrich last fall, for voting to repeal the death penalty.

Photo credit: MG Bralley

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Senate Rules Chair Defends Incremental Ethic Reforms.

Senate Rules Chair Linda Lopez (D-ABQ) says ethics reform "won't happen overnight" in New Mexico.

Lopez, who announced, in April, that she's running for Lieutenant Governor, made the remarks Thursday evening at a Bernalillo County Democratic Party meeting at UNM Law School.

About 50 people attended the meeting and listened to several 2010 candidates, including two of Lopez' announced opponents, Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano and Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, who is exploring a run against current Lt. Governor Diane Denise, for Governor in 2010, also spoke the the crowd. Denish, who's on vacation, sent her daughter, Sara Schreiber, to speak for her.

During the meeting, Diogenes' Six blogger Ched MacQuigg asked each candidate about their plans to "end the culture of corruption in state government." Read the interesting responses he got on his morning blog post.

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Tito Madrid to Join Berry Campaign for Mayor

Richard Berry, candidate for Mayor of Albuquerque, announced today that Tito Madrid will be joining his campaign team and will be serving in the critical role of Field Director.

Madrid served as the Community Outreach Liaison for Congresswoman Heather Wilson from 2002 to 2009, as well as the Senior Director of Government Relations for the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce in 2007.

Tito said Berry is the right man at the right time.
I know Richard Berry well and I am very pleased to be working on his behalf during this mayor's race. With all of the challenges facing our city I believe wholeheartedly that we need a new direction and a fresh approach from City Hall, and Richard is the right man for the right time.
Madrid, who also served as a Bureau Chief and the Director of Field Operations for the New Mexico Environment Department, holds a Master's of Public Administration from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelor of Arts from New Mexico Highlands University.

Berry says Tito's support mean a lot to him.
With Tito in the field we will have a solid ground game as we head into the October election. He has the experience and knowledge to pull a tough game plan together and get the job done. I'm proud to have him on board.

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Lt. Governor Denish Leads All Potential Candidates in 2010.

New Mexico Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish leads two potential Republican opponents by a commanding margin, according to statewide poll was conducted by Harstad Strategic Research, a national polling firm based in Boulder, and released today by the Democratic Governors Association.

In head-to-head matchups, Denish is leading both Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson by 22 points, with 57 percent of voters supporting Denish and 35 percent the Republican.

Denish does best with Hispanic voters, with 70% of their support. Former Representative Wilson, who is leaning against running only has the support of 25% of registered Hispanic women. Pearce gets 24% of their support.

The poll did not measure how Denish stacks up against other potential Democrat candidates including Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, and actor Val Kilmer. Nor also did not measure Denish' lead over NM National Guard Brigadier General Greg Zanetti or State Representative Janice Arnold-Jones.

"As a native New Mexican, Diane Denish really connects with the people of the state,” said Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association. “Voters in New Mexico recognize her positive vision for the future, which will build on her robust record of standing up for children, helping small businesses and strengthening schools.

Denish, who was the first woman to be elected lieutenant governor of New Mexico, has a particularly daunting lead among women and Hispanic voters. She also led both Pearce and Wilson in every region of the state.

The statewide poll was conducted by telephone, between May 31 and June 4, 2009 and surveyed 613 likely 2010 voters from every region of the state. The poll results are subject to a statistical margin of error of plus-or-minus 4%.

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Barela Announces G.O.P Primary Bid

Albuquerque businessman and former chairman of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce Jon Barela announced he'll campaign for the 1st Congressional District bid in the republican primary next year. He made his announcement this morning at DRB Electric company on 2nd Street in Albuquerque's South Valley.

Barela, a former APS Board member, and GOP Party official, is the first candidate to announce he'll try to oust first-term Representative Martin Heinrich, who easily captured the seat in 2008.

Fellow Repbulican, State Representative Janice Arnold-Jones, had been considering the race, but is now leaning toward a 2010 gubernatorial bid.


At the announcement, Barlea said he's running for Congress because government spending is out of control.
The money to fund that blank check in Washington is coming out of the paychecks of New Mexico workers and costing us jobs right here at home Unchecked spending in Congress needs to stop.
Barela acknowledged that this will be a tough race, but believes his deep roots in the community will allow him to earn the crossover votes necessary to win this district. Underscoring that point, Barela was introduced at his announcement by a current Democratic ward chairman from the South Valley and former State Representative Robert Aragon. Aragon is also a current member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

In a campaign news release Aragon commented:
I’m a lifelong Democrat, but I’m a New Mexican first. I’m enthusiastically supporting Jon Barela, because I know he’s one of us and he’ll always put New Mexico first. And that’s more important than partisan politics.

Barela File Photo: Mark Bralley

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bingaman's Senate Panel Opens Gulf of Mexico for Drilling

This morning, a U.S. Senate panel approved an energy bill on Wednesday that opens large tracts of the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling and provides federal loan guarantees for a gas pipeline project in Alaska.

NM Senator Jeff Bingaman said the measure will “shift our country to cleaner sources of energy, and more secure sources as well”

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee 15-8 to approve the proposal. It will also requires utilities to produce up to 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar power by 2021. The standard is somewhat weaker than that contained in a House energy and climate change bill that is headed for a floor vote as early as next week.

The Senate energy plan doesn’t include requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because a different committee has jurisdiction over that issue. The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation last month that would require a 17 percent reduction in emissions by 2020, in addition to imposing a renewable power requirement.

President Barack Obama has called for the nation to get 25 percent of its power from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2025. The Senate plan calls for a 15 percent requirement by 2021. About a quarter of that could be offset by gains in energy efficiency.

Some environmental groups have called for a more aggressive renewable electricity standard than the Senate committee approved today. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have their own programs to encourage renewable energy.

For more on today's vote: The NY Times has complete coverage on it's political blog, The Caucus.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Aryan Brotherhood Member Solicits Murder

An alleged member of the local Aryan Brotherhood Thomas Hill pleaded guilty today to soliciting the murder of a family member imprisoned for a sex offense against a child.

As a part of a larger investigation into the Aryan Brotherhood, FBI agents learned in 2006 that 24-year-old Thomas Hill was seeking someone inside the brotherhood's New Mexico prison membership to murder Stanley Hill because the younger Hill believed he had allegedly sexually abused a minor family child. Stanley Hill pleaded guilty to Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor Under 12 in 2004 and is currently in prison in New Mexico.

The FBI referred the case to the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque in 2007 and Thomas Hill was indicted. After a series of court hearings, Hill appeared before District Judge Stan Whitaker this morning and entered a plea of guilty to one count of solicitation of murder. Hill faces up to nine years of incarceration in this case. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

This morning, Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg commended the agents and prosecutors involved in this long and complicated case. The cooperation between the FBI and District Attorney’s Office demonstrates the continuing cooperative efforts by all agencies involved in law enforcement to bring offenders in the community to justice.

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