Rep. Steve Pearce is STILL pushing to make drilling EASIER for Big Oil, and Gov. Martinez has his back

With the humanitarian crises on the border dominating headlines the past few weeks and this week’s massive Supreme Court news, it’s easy to forget there are still other matters being decided in the halls of Congress that affect Americans everyday lives. Congressman Steve Pearce is pushing through two bills RIGHT NOW that would do away with important management and oversight of the Bureau of Land Management when it comes to issuing permits for drilling oil wells on public lands. 

Pearce, himself a millionaire oilman, of course, claims this is about “cutting red tape” but considering he’s running for governor this year it sure seems like he’s trying to do his buddies in the Permian Basin a huge favor while he’s still on Capitol Hill. But even as governor Pearce could still make it easier for oil and gas companies at the expense of our public lands, our environment, and even if practical policies that would actually net oil and gas companies more revenue like fixing the Methane Rule. 

Just look at Governor Susana Martinez’ role with oil and gas over the last eight years. And in the midst of everything that is happening, Martinez not only wrote a letter earlier in the year that encouraged the feds to support the undoing of the permitting process but actually traveled to Washington DC earlier this month and testified IN SUPPORT of Pearce’s bills. 

Well, we’re not going to let Pearce’s or Martinez’ attempts to undermine our public lands and our natural resources without saying something. That’s why we’ve launched these digital ads to help spread awareness of what’s happening.

It’s time for a change in New Mexico’s House District 41

Debbie Rodella has been the representative for House District 41 since 1993. After all that time, she’s barely faced any opposition from members of her own party, last facing a primary challenge in 2006. But after a series of votes over the last few years, it has become clear to many that it’s time for a change in the district. Rodella has taken nearly $20,000 from the payday lending industry in the last decade and made sure that at least three times bills designed to protect New Mexicans died in the committee she chairs. As a whole, that industry has spent almost A MILLION DOLLARS in the last few years to oppose common-sense consumer protections. Such protections would ensure that predatory practices from these high-interest lenders would at least have some checks and balances, as well as legal protections for consumers.

More pollution, less revenue for NM: Gov’s Environment dept. approves new “regulations”

Once again Governor Martinez and her administration are prioritizing their big oil and gas donors’ interests while putting New Mexicans at risk from increased methane pollution. Last week, the New Mexico Environment Department approved permits that do NOT require oil and gas wells to check for leaks of methane or other pollutants. This once again places New Mexico on the bottom of a an important list as these new rules, or really lack of any rules, are among the weakest environmental protections in the nation. Oh, and remember how leaked methane wastes taxpayers’ money to the tune of $244 MILLION every year? 

So what do the new permits and “regulations” do? Well, not much in terms of regulating anything. Of course, that’s just what groups like the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association spend so much money on every year lobbying in Santa Fe for.

Commissioner of Public Lands race presents some broad differences in future of the SLO

ProgressNow New Mexico will be looking at some top-level races more in-depth over the next few weeks to bring our perspective to the key races we’re expecting to see in New Mexico this year. New Mexico is in the national spotlight as one of the “most likely to flip” states in terms of our governor’s race. Our series will focus on the offices that New Mexicans can vote for statewide. This is the fourth piece in our series. The New Mexico State Land Office (SLO) is first and foremost charged with managing the vast amounts of land within our state’s borders, managing leases and sales to entities who use the land, and collecting monies from those sales and leases to fund education in the state.

For Dems, Lt. Governor race is still a toss-up, but GOP and Libs are locked in

ProgressNow New Mexico will be looking at some top-level races more in-depth over the next few weeks to bring our perspective to the key races we’re expecting to see in New Mexico this year. New Mexico is in the national spotlight as one of the “most likely to flip” states in terms of our governor’s race. Our series will focus on the offices that New Mexicans can vote for statewide. This is the third piece in our series. The position of Lt. Governor can seem pretty inglorious compared to other statewide positions with specific duties as Secretary of State or Attorney General.

Millions March For Our Lives nationwide – New Mexico turns out for gun safety

Rallies associated with the March For Our Lives movement organized by students affected by gun violence may have surpassed already record-setting rallies that have been happening ever since the inauguration of Donald Trump. Perhaps even more important and impressive is that it is likely one of the largest collective movements of young people since the iconic anti-war protests of the Vietnam era. 

New Mexicans joined by the thousands across the state, with especially large turnouts in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. In Las Cruces where students were out of school for spring break, an impromptu rally was still organized after the beginning of the week saw armed pro-gun advocates take over a city council meeting specifically to derail a proposed resolution on school safety as it relates to firearms. Even Silver City students held a rally that was well attended. 

Some students from Aztec High School were able to travel to Washington DC and participate in the national rally as well as speak with Senator Martin Heinrich about gun safety. Heinrich has publically denounced the National Rifle Association and called for better and smarter gun regulations and even written an Op-Ed piece about his former relationship with the NRA. While the NRA hasn’t rated me for this election yet, if my work in the Senate to pass gun violence reform hasn’t earned me an F rating, I suspect this post will. And that’s fine by me. -Sen. Martin Heinrich
New Mexico remains a state with relatively few gun laws on the books overall.

2018 Elections: What you need to know about New Mexico politics right now

Today is March 14, 2018. It is the day after “filing day” in New Mexico when candidates file for their races around the state, from county commissions to the governor. With little exception, if candidates haven’t submitted the required amount of signatures or have for some other reason been disqualified by the Secretary of State’s office, we now have a pretty good idea of who’s running in 2018 across the board. ProgressNow New Mexico will be looking at some top-level races more in-depth over the next few weeks to bring our perspective to the key races we’re expecting to see in New Mexico this year. New Mexico is in the national spotlight as one of the “most likely to flip” states in terms of our governor’s race.

The 5 most important things you need to know about the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association’s political power play  

 

This is the fifth and final piece in a series of articles highlighting the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. NMOGA lobbies on behalf of oil and gas interests, seeking less regulation and oversight for their industry and greater access to political power in the state. Last year, the Executive Director of NMOGA, Ryan Flynn, spoke at their annual meeting about the future of oil and gas in New Mexico as they moved into the election cycle of 2018, their goals to seize power, and the strength of their “opposition,” the citizens of New Mexico who have pushed back against the fossil fuel industry and their stranglehold on the state at all levels.  

Let’s recap what we have learned so far in looking more in-depth into NMOGA in the past month:

NMOGA’s Executive Director, Ryan Flynn, gave a speech last October to members of his association, the full transcript of which was leaked and full of some pretty concerning rhetoric. Besides proclaiming that his intention was to make NMOGA the “most powerful organization” in the state, Flynn also unabashedly pointed out his close personal ties with Governor Susana Martinez and touted that relationship as something positive for oil and gas companies.

Legislative round up 2018- Here’s all the people who worked against women and access to healthcare this year

This year’s 30-day session saw a litany of conservative attempts to once again limit women’s reproductive options in New Mexico by pushing for laws that interfere with personal reproductive health care decisions and that reinforce shame and stigma. Thankfully the progressive majority in both the House and Senate held such arcane bills at bay in committees, keeping reproductive choice in the hands of families who are the sole deciders of their health decisions. In this election year, it’s important that we remain focused on who these obstructionist legislators are so that voters can help move New Mexico forward in assuring women and families have access to whatever healthcare options are right for them, up to and including abortion. Every Representative above voted to restrict access to abortion in some form this year, and in years past. That includes Democratic Representatives Debbie Rodella and Carl Trujillo. 
Some “highlights” of the session include when Minority Leader Nate Gentry attempted to politicize a visit from Albuquerque Police Officer Ryan Holets.

[TAKE ACTION] The time has come: John Vasquez needs to resign in the Doña Ana County Commission

While much of the state has been focused this week on the end of the Legislature’s 30-day session, the news cycle in Doña Ana County has been dominated all week by story after story about the incredibly inappropriate behavior of County Commissioner John Vasquez. 

Vasquez has been in the hot seat for a few weeks now as he refused to apologize for a series of misogynist insults and racially charged innuendo toward a local organizer in Doña Ana County, Johana Bencomo. After Bencomo formally leveled a complaint against Vasquez to the County Commission, more allegations of bad behavior began to surface. 

In a letter addressed to the Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, Richard Ellenberg, Vice-chair of the party Neomi Martinez-Parra referenced “inappropriate sexual misconduct” from Vasquez toward her. Ellenberg has since addressed the issue in an open letter of apology to Martinez-Parra, which also called on Vasquez to resign. That sentiment that Vasquez needs to resign began when Bencomo initially addressed Vasquez and the County Commission on January 19th, but has now been echoed by both Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall who have called for Vasquez’ resignation in a statement that was also signed by Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and State Representative Angelica Rubio. Additionally, the entire Democratic caucus from Doña Ana County has signed a statement calling on the County Commission to “investigate and take action.” 

In the age of the powerful #MeToo movement, it is important that the public at large, not just our elected officials, stand ready to listen to women when they come forward with allegations of abuse and harassment from men in power.