As Albuquerque prepares for vote on being Immigrant Friendly City, some reminders from activists who protested AG Sessions last week

Tonight (Monday, April 16), Albuquerque city councilors are expected to vote on whether or not to reaffirm that the state’s largest city will remain an “Immigrant Friendly City.” Despite the verbose and hateful rhetoric from the Trump administration threatening cities and states with the moral aptitude to

Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions brought his anti-immigrant, white supremacist views to Las Cruces where he spoke to a conference of sheriffs from counties in the borderland regions of the Southwest. He was met with more protestors outside than there were attendees of the event inside which made national and international headlines. Oh, and then there were the disruptors. Five folks from the community made their way into the hotel where Sessions was speaking and after being told they could not listen to what Sessions had to say, huddled up closely, locked arms, and began chanting: NO JUSTICE!

VICTORY! Las Cruces City Council unanimously votes to go 100% renewable!

The City of Las Cruces has already taken big steps in recent years to be less dependent on energy originating from fossil fuels and grid energy transmitted from hundreds of miles away. Monday, the City Council took a step further by committing to a three-step process to become 100 percent powered by renewable energy by 2050. In the near term, the city will take quick steps to becoming 25 percent renewable by 2022, just five years from now. 

The resolution now binds the city to take specific steps to achieve the goals set forth in the timelines. Some of the options presented were for the city to make direct investments of photovoltaic (PV) systems and install them around city properties and buildings, create a public-private partnership with utilities to acquire renewable energy from combined on-site and off-site sources, or simply buy more renewable energy directly from existing utilities. The City of Las Cruces resolution comes after the City of Albuquerque has taken similar steps toward becoming less dependent on transmitted power.

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.

Armed protestors pressure Las Cruces City Council to drop School Safety resolution

On Monday, armed, pro-gun activists loosely organized by Republican and outspoken pro-gun candidates in Doña Ana County amassed at the Las Cruces City Hall to protest “A Resolution to Better Ensure the Safety of Students in Las Cruces Schools.” The protest started on the road in front of City Hall with folks carrying AR-15s and handguns, holding signs, and waving variations of the Gadsden Flag, the infamous coiled snake with the phrase “Don’t tread on me.” Most of those protestors then entered City Hall for the regular meeting and took up menacing positions around the back of the chamber with their weapons in full view of anyone coming and going. There were additional seats, added in the lobby of City Hall, that were also filled with armed supporters so that anyone from the public who may have been coming to pay a utility bill or apply for a business license was welcomed by a phalanx of people with rifles and handguns. At least two candidates who are running in November were a part of the protest and took some credit for organizing it.

[UPDATE] Doña Ana County Commission John Vasquez has resigned after continued public pressure

Facing what news outlets described as “heavy criticism for his treatment of women and calls from top leaders in his own party to resign, Doña Ana County Commissioner John Vasquez stepped down on Thursday.” This comes less than a week after ProgressNow New Mexico issued a public petition calling for his resignation. Vasquez had faced direct actions from residents at the two most recent county commission meetings after he engaged in an “inappropriate” conversation with a local activist on Facebook wherein he made “your momma” jokes as well as using racist and misogynist language. Just hours after the most recent county commission meeting, news broke that Vasquez was being accused of “inappropriate sexual misconduct” by a woman within the Democratic Party of New Mexico. Vasquez denied the accusations but in his resignation letter admitted he needs to “focus on my marriage.”

“Preemption” – Progressive wins in New Mexico cities may be at risk at the state level

The Las Cruces City Council seated its new and re-elected members today and, in a flourish of newly proposed business, showed what a dedicated panel of progressive leaders can accomplish when working together. In their first session, the newly seated council saw returning Progressive Champion Gill Sorg be elected unanimously as the new Mayor pro-tem, signaling a shift away from registered Independent Greg Smith who’s held the post for the last two years. Sorg also went on to introduce proposals that the council take up a resolution in support of the Legislature legalizing recreational cannabis as well as a measure to bolster support for immigrants living in Las Cruces. Major cities in New Mexico are “home rule cities” which allow citizens to directly shape their cities in important ways — the most prominent being the use of citizen-led ballot initiatives. This rule has been an extremely important tool for progressive voters to move New Mexico forward.

“Progressive-backed candidates win every race in Las Cruces”

Cruceños went to the polls yesterday and rallied behind progressive candidates across the board. Out of three council seats up for grabs, the one vacant seat is being filled by a good progressive, one champion councilor is maintaining his seat, and one progressive challenger managed to unseat the only Republican incumbent in the race. Full voting results can be seen here

Progressive-backed candidates win every race in Las Cruces
Heath Haussaman, NMpolitics.net
Candidates backed by progressives won every race in Tuesday’s Las Cruces municipal election, and the powerful voting bloc expanded its control by ousting the only Republican on the city council… “Las Cruces voters have spoken loudly tonight in favor of continued progress in our community,” said Lucas Herndon of the progressive nonprofit ProgressNow New Mexico.  Read more at nmpolitics.net

In the open District 3 seat, progressive community organizer Gabe Vasquez won 70% of the vote to overwhelmingly defeat a tea party contender (her second time being defeated in this district). ProgressNow New Mexico caught up with Vasquez yesterday while he was talking with voters at one of the city’s voting convenience centers.

Happening Now: Conservatives and Progressive face off for control in ABQ, Las Cruces elections

We are entering into a pivotal time in New Mexico. In Albuquerque, citizens are approaching a runoff in the mayoral race as well as in city council district 5. And in Las Cruces, municipal elections for three city councilors and a municipal judge are happening now. We’ve all seen what happens when progressive voters assume elections are already won and decide to stay home.  In New Mexico’s two most populous cities, progressive voters could be the largest voting blocs, but traditionally under-perform in city elections.  Now, more than ever, your local candidates are counting on your vote. Albuquerque: Citywide runoff, now through Nov.

JOIN US! We need all hands on deck to protect our National Monuments

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will be touring areas around the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument later this week. It’s all part of his Trump-based agenda to “review” national monuments across the west that were created with the Antiquities Act. These important landmarks contain countless historical, scientific, and recreational resources for all Americans to enjoy and study while preserving our important past.