The elephant in the room: Who is GOP operative Pat Rogers?

“Why I only got a problem when you in the hood?” -Kanye West, The Good Life
That was the theme of last week’s Bernalillo County Commission meeting when several commissioners threw a bizarre curveball at what should have been an otherwise homerun for democracy in Albuquerque and eventually statewide. In the preceding months, over 28,000 Burqueños had signed a petition to put the ABQ Democracy Dollars initiative on the November ballot and organizers had followed the process “to a T.” Excitement about the campaign was buzzing and on the night of the hearing, supporters packed the commission chambers. Only one individual showed up to oppose the measure – attorney Pat Rogers. But that’s when Commissioners Steven Michael Quezada and Jim Smith, along with the help of County Attorney Kenny Martinez (formerly NM State House Speaker), performed a charade of question and answer about the initiative’s content (kinda like the mailman debating whether to deliver the shirt you ordered because it’s not his style) – and ultimately blocked the initiative (2-2). So who is Pat Roger’s and how did his presence relate?

Securitization: What it means for Farmington, PNM, and New Mexico

This is the second in a series focusing on the long-term economic and social issues facing Farmington, New Mexico, and surrounding areas. As a region that has rich and diverse opportunities but generally relies on extractive industries economically, the whole area is facing uncertainty as the coal-burning San Juan Coal Generating Station closes its doors and oil jobs are moving to the southeast part of the state to capitalize on the Permian boom happening right now. Last week we looked at how Farmington and surrounding areas are facing real-time issues when it comes to their future. The San Juan Generating Plant is scheduled to close in just the next few years, which will likely mean a loss of jobs for many workers there. That, of course, will impact the economy of the whole region.

Pearce hypocrisy: Toll roads good, methane controls bad

This week, Rep. Steve Pearce proposed toll roads as the answer to the massive amounts of traffic on Southeastern New Mexico highways due to the boom in oil production and the corresponding increase in oil traffic. The increased congestion along highway 285 outside of Lovington has given it the dubious nickname “highway of death.” The idea is that new and improved roads be paid for by the oil and gas companies who so heavily utilize the roads. 
But Congressman Pearce is fighting tooth and nail to overturn methane waste rules that ask these some companies to pay for the millions of tons of New Mexico’s natural gas they waste every year – rules that would mean millions in additional state revenue for things like these very roads. everyone would have to pay the tolls. 
Residents in New Mexico’s oil patch already pay a high price because of where they live and the associated oil and gas industry impacts. Increased pollution leading to higher rates of asthma and other respiratory issues and the associated healthcare costs that accompany that.

As Farmington goes, so goes New Mexico: A look at the changing landscape of our state

This is the first in a series focusing on the long-term economic and social issues facing Farmington New Mexico and surrounding areas. As a region that has rich and diverse opportunities but generally relies on extractive industries economically, the whole area is facing uncertainty as the coal-burning San Juan Coal Generating Station closes its doors and oil jobs are moving to the southeast part of the state to capitalize on the Permian boom happening right now. Farmington has always been a crossroads of sorts, situated uniquely at the confluence of three rivers and in modern times, highways and railroads. But as we move into the third decade of the twenty-first century, Farmington and other cities in the tri-county area of northwest New Mexico will be facing major changes as coal is phased out. No matter what the Trump administration says, or any campaign stumps from politicians like Steve Pearce promise, coal has seen its heyday and it’s never going to be a reliable commodity to build an industry on again.

10 Reasons why Gary Johnson Is Wrong for New Mexico

Wait… What!? Gary Johnson is back in NM?! *facepalm*

Perrinial “outsider” and self-proclaimed “dumbest guy you’ve ever met in your whole life” Gary Johnson is officially back in New Mexico once again trying to stay relevant. Johnson filed paperwork with the Secretary of State Tuesday to run as a Libertarian, taking the place of current Commissioner of Public Lands, Aubrey Dunn. 

But before we get all hung up on the spectacle of another semi-celebrity running for office, we thought it’d be important to remind people where old Gary really stands on the issues.

Nationwide primary trends show Blue Wave is gathering. Oh, and Missouri voters REJECT RTW outright

Yesterday was Election Day in Washington, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, and Missouri and while not every progressive candidate won major landslide victories, across the country gains were made.  More women and people of color were running than ever before and their continued successes means that, while our federal system was created to take time to change, change is coming! One of the races progressive poll watchers are most excited for is Sharice Davids, who is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and an out lesbian. After winning her primary yesterday, she will face off against Representative Kevin Yoder (R) in Kansas’s Third Congressional District in November.  In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer won a three-way primary that included two men of color.

So that Russian spy that was just arrested? Turns out she lived with a guy that Steve Pearce may know

For now, we know that Pearce likely knows Erickson, the man who lived with and connected a young Russian woman accused of using her influence to further financial and political sway between pro-gun Russian and US organizations and activists. What role Erickson has ever played for Pearce directly is unknown, but given the congressman’s deep pockets and generous donations from the NRA over the last decade, it’s certainly worth considering.

New polling shows 90% of New Mexicans support for smart methane requirements

As New Mexicans gather this morning to show their strong support for clean air and methane standards, Congressman Steve Pearce revealed his true colors again last night in Washington. His vote to strip funding for the implementation of federal methane requirements on the oil and gas industry wouldn’t just dirty New Mexico’s air, new polling shows it is also dramatically out of step with the will of 9 out of 10 New Mexicans. New polling data released just yesterday shows that the way you yourself probably feel about public lands is actually the way most folks feel about it. Overall the poll shows strong support for public lands in the west, that voters reject candidates who favor extraction over conservation, and common sense issues like the Methane Rule have broad support from either side of the aisle. It appears that Pearce didn’t get a chance to see the poll yesterday though before taking a vote to cut funding for enforcement of the Methane Rule. 89 percent of ALL New Mexicans support the rule, so it’s baffling that Pearce would vote against something with such clear interest to his constituents.

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.

On the border: Protests, civil disobedience, and unending hope for separated families

It’s been 10 days since the first big action took place in Tornillo Texas, where a small land port of entry has become of the burning hot focal points of the massive uprising against the inhumane separation of families detained by ICE, CBP, and Border Patrol. ProgressNow New Mexico has been down in Tornillo four times to bear witness to various actions from general protests, to visits from our state’s two Senators, to today’s acts of civil disobedience that shut down the port for over two hours. We’ve tried to cover as much live from Facebook as we could, taken pictures, and talked with folks who’ve worked to organize these events. While the Trump administration has continued to push its narrative of “zero tolerance” when it comes to immigration from south of the border, people from all walks of life have shown up and with increasing escalation, attempted to keep people’s focus on what matters: That children of all ages, and genders, are being housed in tents in 100+ degree weather with no actual plan of reuniting them with their families. We’ve learned that Trump only signed the Executive Order that supposedly ended family separation AFTER being turned down by at least two private corporations to build more additions onto the facility at Tornillo AND made it so that indefinite family detention is still a concept they’re willing to pursue.