Thursday, July 9, 2009

Denish Pushes A New Era of Strong Ethics Laws

Updated to include audio from an interview with Lt. Gov. Denish

Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish with UNM Law School Ethics Professor
Antoinette Sedillo Lopez outside the
NM Mexico Supreme Court Building in Santa Fe.

On-going scandals, grand jury investigations, and indictments of state government officials prompted Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish to call for stronger ethics laws. On Thursday, Denish (who is acting governor during Gov. Bill Richardson's vacation) told reporters she wants lawmakers to consider her new proposals during the next legislative session. Denish says she'll renew the push for a state ethics commission and other reforms.

Denish told 770KKOB News Director Pat Allen in this telephone interview, "What I want people to say about New Mexico is that we have a culture of responsibility, not a culture of corruption."

Denish told 770KKOB she'll create an independent state ethics commission. She wants the NM Supreme Court to nominate the commissioners. The seven-member panel would be approved by the legislature and the governor.

Denish also said she wants to establish an online sunshine portal. She said it would shed light on how state tax dollars are spent and create more transparency.

The proposals come just days after Republican Party Chairman Harvey Yates criticized Denish in an Albuquerque Journal guest column for not speaking out on alleged ethics problems in the state.

Yates' commentary was quickly refuted by Denish's campaign committee chair Ted Martinez on Wednesday. In his rebuttal, Martinez says Denish has been a champion of accountability in state government.

Photo credit: MG Bralley

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cody's Making a Difference in the World

Cody's Trailer from Richelle Hecker on Vimeo.

"Cody" is a documentary, narrated by Glenn Close, and features one of Albuquerque's bravest daughters. It debuts on PBS stations across the country this week, but you can catch it at the Kimo Theatre tonight at 5pm for $10. The money benefits the Cody Unser First Step Foundation.

I served on the board for two years and believe this young college graduate, who has traveled the world helping other paralyzed children with scuba adventures and moral support, and has advocated for stem cell research approval and funding, will make a huge difference in our world. She has always told me, "Peter, it's not what happens to you, it's what you do with it."

To read more about her dreams and goals check out her interview in USA Weekend.

If you have time, join Cody and I late this afternoon at the Kimo. Her more of her story and how she's making a difference. And after the film, head to Yanni's Restaurant for a private party.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Pearce Announces Congressional Candidacy

Updated to include audio from telephone interview.

Former U.S. Representative Steve Pearce, who lost his bid to replace Sen. Pete Domenici last fall, wants his 2nd Congressional District Seat back. Today he announced he'll run for the Republican Party nomination and try to unseat first-term Representative Harry Teague.

Pearce wasn't expected to make a final decision until after July 20th, but made the decision to campaign over the 4th of July Holiday.

Pearce told 770KKOB News Director Pat Allen, in this telephone interview, that he considered running for Governor, "but at the end of the day most of the issues I've worked on are national."

Last week political blogger Joe Monahan said despite Teague's vote for the Cap and Trade bill it will be a tough battle for Pearce to regain his seat.
Even if Teague's energy vote does hurt him some with voters in the SE portion of the district, there is still a major problem with the GOP Teague death wish. It's called Dona Ana County.

From the campaign - news release .

Hobbs, NM -- For the past half year, I have stood by and hoped for the best for our state and country. I had hoped Harry Teague would look out for the hard working people of New Mexico.

Sadly while I hoped for the best, Harry Teague embraced a reckless set of policies that directly jeopardize our economy and threatens future generations.

He went to Washington and quickly voted for massive amounts of wasteful spending, loading up on pork barrel projects and radically increasing the size of government.

Now Harry Teague chose to vote for the job-killing cap and trade bill. If this bill becomes law, it will devastate jobs in New Mexico and further cripple the American economy.

Harry Teague’s cap and trade bill will:

* Hit families with as much as $1500 a year in higher energy costs.
* Destroy jobs in New Mexico’s energy sector.
*Will cost New Mexico over $200 million in higher electricity bills, but lower costs in California and New York.

Harry Teague put his allegiance to the liberal leadership of Nancy Pelosi ahead of the working families of New Mexico.

I can not let this happen to the people of New Mexico. So today, I am signing paperwork to run for the Second Congressional District. This district needs a Congressman who will fight for jobs for New Mexico families. Harry Teague won’t. I will.

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Peace Activist Announces Congressional Bid

Peace & Liberty activist and Iraq war veteran, Adam Kokesh, announced a bid for the congressional seat in New Mexico's Third Congressional District.

Kokesh announced he's already raised $25,000, in a single-day web event fundraiser despite computer servers being overwhelmed and crashing. He said in a news release that his campaign signs are springing up all over the district urging people to join the "Kokesh R3VOLution."

During a "Celebrate American Revolution" Kokesk said he would seek a seat in the U.S. House of Representative currently held by first-term congressman Ben Ray Lujan, Jr.

Kokesh referenced Thomas Paine's "The Crisis" as he announced, "'These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country . . . Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.' So began the great American tradition of winter soldiering. I have decided that for myself, the greatest way to continue that tradition is to run for Congress to represent New Mexico's Third Congressional District."

Frank Martin, a local author, indicated, "This is the most important moment in my personal life . . . a critical mass of willingness and defiance has occurred. Widespread civil disobedience is underway." He continued, "People en masse are doing the one thing that government cannot survive - they are refusing to serve the state."

During Kokesh's event, various speakers described what they were already doing to support the campaign. There was even a demonstration of the campaign's iPhone application, the first of its kind, due to be released in a couple of weeks, with a Blackberry version soon to follow. With the wide array of talented, enthusiastic, volunteers already committed 17 months out that are involved in this race, it appears to be one to watch as we approach the 2010 elections.

Romero Makes Campaign Changes 90 Days Before Election

With just 90 days before this fall's city election Richard Romero's mayoral campaign is introducing a new lead strategist. Romero says Murray Fishel, the president of Grassroots Political Campaigns, Inc., and a long time trusted adviser, is taking over the reigns of his campaign.

Fishel will replace New Mexico political consultant Neri Holguin who's been leading Romero's campaign since Romero first announced. She spent the 4th of July with her family in Southern, New Mexico.

Romero, who may have sensed his campaign needed a new direction, ahead of Mayor Marty Chavez' formal re-election announcement (expected in July).
Romero had nothing but nice things to say about Holguin and his new strategist.

Neri Holguin is leaving our campaign and I’m sad to see her go. When she took this job last year, she told me that because of other commitments she could only serve until the end of April to help me launch my major petition efforts to qualify for public financing and to get on the ballot. We passed those tests with flying colors thanks to her leadership. I then convinced her to stay on a little longer, which she agreed to do. I want to thank her for all that she has done to get this campaign off to a great start.

An online website describes Fishel's company as a progressive firm offering training and candidate services to organizations and candidates. It has a 70% success rate over the last 32 years and has worked with over 2500 candidates in more than 39 states.

Before starting her campaign consultancy, Holguin worked for Eli Lee at Soltari, a campaign training consultancy. She also worked as the Treasurer for Conservation Voters Alliance of New Mexico and was employeed by The Wilderness Society.

Holguin successfully directed the New Mexico Senate campaigns for Eric Griego, Tim Keller and helped with Eleanor Chavez' successful campaign to the State House of Representatives. Her candidates successfully ousted three incumbent lawmakers, Shannon Robinson, Sen. James Taylor, and Rep. Dan Silva.

Eric Griego defeated Taylor by 24 percentage points, Tim Keller defeated Robinson by 32 points and Eleanor Chavez defeated Silva by eight points.

After the state primary victories, the defeated lawmakers filed suit. They claimed non-profits associated with the Center for Civic Policy were used to raise and funnel tax deductible contributions to the three campaigns, along with providing manpower for get out the vote efforts.
Eli Lee and other defendents called the lawsuits baseless. Matt Brix told political blogger Heath Haussamen in August the former lawmaker's lawsuit was a completely false allegation.

"I have no idea where that comes from,” said Matt Brix, the center’s policy director. He added that the center has never taken any money from Soros or his Open Society Institute.

Holguin's candidates were alleged to have full knowledge of the contributions and in fact are purported to have approved individual mail pieces distributed by the non-profit organizations.

“There are so many completely outlandish allegations that we don’t even know where to begin. Everything in the lawsuit is categorically untrue,” Brix said.

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