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.

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.”

[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.

Open Enrollment for Health Insurance Coverage Closes December 15th

There is a deadline on the horizon that is supremely important to thousands of New Mexicans. This time of year many folks are focused on the calendar for holiday purposes. ProgressNow New Mexico, however, wants you to quickly turn your attention to your health. As we head into the last days of 2017, the days are even fewer in regards to how many you have to make a decision about your health coverage. 

“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.

Behind the curtain of the Koch operations: local campaign disclosures provide window on Koch campaigns (if you know where to look)

Charles and David Koch spent $960 million in the 2016 elections, mostly on campaigns attacking progressive candidates and causes.  But because much of that money flows through non-profits and PACs, their fingerprints are often hard to identify and their playbook is even harder to pin down. But thanks to some of the country’s most progressive campaign disclosure laws, their local Americans for Prosperity chapter disclosed their ads, scripts and spendings in recent local elections – if you know where to find it. Since ProgressNow New Mexico started in 2011 we’ve been tracking the influence of corporate-backed right-wing astroturf organizations who come into our state trying to influence our elections. The Koch Brothers and their affiliated organizations – Americans for Prosperity and the LIBRE Initiative – are some of the worst offenders. They do this in a variety of ways.

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.