A Look Back & A Look Ahead: Report on NM Dem. Party Convention

Two critical posts from last week, one on the DCCC and one on expanded ICE activity across the country, plus local actions for the coming week. Lastly a report on the Democratic Party’s Pre-Primary Convention. It certainly didn’t lack for drama.

Several actions for the week, including two related to the new Mayor and City Council, a link to last week’s KSFR interview with Dede Feldman and a look back at an action packed week.

The Democratic Convention. First the VERY good. 1600 delegates actually attended. 97% of those eligible to attend, did attend and by raise of hands a sizable majority were attending a convention for the first time. This is stunning evidence of a Democratic Party grassroots that is engaged.  Highlight of all the speeches, not close: Bill McCamley tore the place up with an inspiring, funny talk that included his comment about how the Governor and others view him as: “That dude is a bad ass pain in the ass.” And then later, he spoke of how he loves to dive into numbers, making him a “total nerd.” His self-effacing humor is perfect in a world of inflated egos. McCamley for Governor 2026.

Second best speech, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan. Gotta hand it to the guy, he can get a crowd cranked up and he certainly didn’t disappoint. I approached him afterward, asking that we meet soon and he agreed, although it was pretty clear I am not on his A list. Despite this and despite my concerns about the DCCC, I always state that Lujan is one of New Mexico’s greatest political assets, a possible future Speaker of the House and someone we absolutely must find a way to inch to the left and toward more small d democratic practices. HIs campaign is responding to Retake supporters’ emails objecting to his DCCC policies favoring centrist candidates and undermining progressives, with the same, very good note. I have asked to share it with all of you, but have not gotten the OK. I suspect I will be given the go ahead as it is a thoughtful response and reflects well on the Congressman.

Still among the “Very Good,” the very progressive Democratic Party platform passed with 91% of the vote. A huge win for a platform that some centrists had projected as being too progressive and divisive. Apparently, 91% of the delegates did not agree. A stunning win for Sharla Parsons and the Platform Committee. I was working the crowd in the lobby, talking about Speak Up New Mexico! the 2019 Legislative Priorities Survey, when Sharla spoke to introduce the platform, but everyone I spoke with said that her speech was inspiring and compelling, likely swaying the undecided. She conducted an utterly transparent and participatory process taking the platform on the road to every region of the state. Kudos to the committee and to Sharla.

The Good. Just being at the Convention is a worthwhile experience. This was my second and I had great conversations with Sen. Stefanics, Rep. Nathan Small, Rep. McCamley and my first conversation with Sen. Steinborn. We spoke for quite awhile about transparency and I was very impressed. But there were also fruitful conversations with leadership from the Native American Caucus, a leader from the National Education Association, a group we had been unable to engage in developing our Roundhouse priorities and a conversation with a rancher from Southeast NM who has 20 windmills on his ranch along with two oil rigs. I don’t get the opportunity to talk with folks like him in Santa Fe. It caused me to realize how badly Roxanne and I need to tour the state and get more exposed to the challenges faced by our rural communities. The event brings together a wide variety of perspectives and priorities, a great opportunity to find out more about the Party and the State.

The Bizarre. I am a great admirer of Peter D, but his unswerving commitment to principles got very muddied in his speech at the Convention. How do you say you are still a candidate, but endorse a different candidate. Still more perplexing is his endorsement of Apodaca. While rumored for days, it always seemed inconsistent with Peter’s campaign priorities. Apodaca has no pedigree as a progressive and just because he agrees to support 3-4 progressive policies advanced by Peter (and Retake) doesn’t make the marriage credible.I still have a great deal of respect for Peter D, but I just don’t think this was a good ending to a very dignified campaign.  I spent much of the day with members of the Adelante Progressive Caucus of New Mexico and reactions were all over the map.

But what was even more bizarre was to hear reports of Richard Ellenberg first telling Peter D. what he could and couldn’t say in his speech and then watch him storming around the convention floor trying to get first the timer and then Sen. Ivey-Soto to Peter down. Not sure what Peter did to set off Ellenberg, but he was clearly livid. I think Peter intentionally didn’t endorse Apodaca until the end of his speech, so it couldn’t have been that, as Ellenberg was storming well before that. I don’t think they will be having beers together today.

Takeaway: There is an awful lot of renewed enthusiasm for digging into the Democratic Party. I can’t say that all those or perhaps even a majority of those present would call themselves progressive, they were engaged and they approved a very progressive platform.

Actions for the Week

Use the Search Engine on Our Page. Before our actions for the week and the review of the past week’s blogs which conclude this post, I’d like to make a suggestion to our readers. If you are interested in a specific topic and want to see a sequence of stories, try using the search engine at the right of the page. Plug in PRC, DNC, DCCC, climate change, immigration or Ranked Choice Voting and you can see our coverage of them over time.

Please Consider a Contribution. We are an entirely volunteer-operation but over the past six months we ran up a good deal of Donate Button with Credit Cardsexpenses for printing, rental space, and web/email costs. We really need to share those costs with our readers. If you can make a one-time donation now, once we get out of the hole, we’ll low-key it and ask for a bunch of you simply to “subscribe” with $5-20 / month donations. We are considering investing in some modestly priced AV equipment so we can begin to offer Youtube interviews, features, and guest talks.  What do you think?

At the Convention on Saturday, I spoke with dozens of small groups of delegates as 1600 Dems stood in line to vote for candidates. I worked the line for what seemed eternity with flyers describing Speak Up New Mexico!, the legislative survey. With a push today, we might reach 1000 respondents. So if you haven’t taken the Speak Up New Mexico! Legislative Priorities survey, please do so today. Click the blue button at left to take the survey. And if you want to get involved with our 2018-2018 Roundhouse Advocacy Team, we meet on Thursday from 4:30-6:30pm at New Energy Economy, 343 E. Alameda. Next meeting is Monday March 22. To RSVP, just write to me at paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org. If you want to read about our 2018-2019 Election and Legislative Strategy, click here.

Monday, March 12, 5:30 Santa Fe Convention Center. The Mayor will be inaugurated on Monday. Let’s welcome him to City Hall.

Monday, March 12, 6pm-7:15. 343 E. Alameda (New Energy Economy office) Retake Our Democracy’s Local Action Team.  Our Local Action Team will be meetingMonday to discuss and prioritize the policies identified in our Mayoral and City Council Voters Guide. We will also be meeting with the new Mayor very soon to discuss how we can work with him and the new Council. This is a key meeting to help identify how we will use our People’s Platform to achieve greater equity in Santa Fe. To review the Mayor’s positions on these policies, take a look at the very bottom of this page.

Wednesday, March 14, 7pm. City Council Public Comment at Santa Fe City Hall. I’d like to encourage many of you to review our People’s Platform and come to City Hall and use public comment to make a 2-minutes statement on why you support the policy you most want to see implemented. In making your statement we want to be positive, upbeat and respectful. Moreover, we want to acknowledge that the City has a budget, Santa Fe University of Art & Design and a frighteningly early fire threat, all that will be early priorities. But we want the City to know that we are serious about these policies. So join us. We should be done in an hour as public comment is first on the agenda.

KSFR Podcast of Interview with Dede Feldman and Part II, March 17. Dede Feldman is the author of two tremendous books. Inside the New Mexico Senate and Another Way Forward. This was one of the more interesting interviews I’ve done as, using her book on the NM Senate as our point of departure, we spent most of the interview talking about how the Roundhouse works or, too often, doesn’t work. For anyone who wants to be able to lobby effectively to get what they want from our legislators, this is a must listen. I am interviewing her again this weekend as we want to spend more time on her second book, Another Way Forward which focuses on about 15 different innovative grassroots programs that have emerged in NM to address injustice in health, agriculture, housing, youth and poverty.  Click here to listen to Part I of this two-part series and then select the March 10 show.

Judge Shaffer Show, March 3. I had a very interesting interview with Judge Shaffer, a candidate for First Judicial District Court where he is running for re-election. It was a different show than others as we focused on the way the courts work as a system, the kinds of cases a judge might get in District Court and the process through which a Judge must go to be deemed qualified. Click here.

A Week in Review 


Centrist Democrats are Working with the GOP to Unshackle Wall Street and Allow Unfettered Risky “Investments.” Also a Report on Increased ICE activity in Santa Fe. Tuesday, March 6. Senate Centrist Dems are partnering with the GOP to eliminate banking regulations and the DCCC is silencing candidates on gun control and healthcare. Lujan petition included. Also included today is a report and video on increased ICE activity in town and the City’s response. If you only read two of this week’s post, I’d recommend this one and the March 8 “Breaking News” post covering ICE activity across the nation but with a focus on NM.  Click here to review the full post.

Democratic National Committee to Consider Unity Reform Commission Recommendations. Ranked Choice Voting Works Slowly But Effectively. Webber wins with 66% of the vote.  Wednesday, March 7. RCV took awhile, but the candidate who led substantially in the first round, sustained and built that lead through subsequent counts ultimately beating Ron Trujillo by a 2-1 margin.  Details on this and the DNC’s looming decision on Party reform which, If passed, would address some of recent concerns with DCCC. While Richard Ellenberg claims that the DNC won’t consider the recommendations until after the Rules Committee weighs in. And the Rules Committee is stacked with mainstream Dems.  Click here to review the full post.

Are You Tired of Not Getting What You Want From Youth Government? Thursday, March 8. Today we are providing a pretty short post with one goal, one action. Lately I’ve been hammering about how democracy is not working for us. This post explains how we have a chance to seize the wheel and get what we want and not just in 2019. A strategy is described for how we can make the Roundhouse OUR HOUSE. And we need all of you on this one. Read on. Click here to review the full post.

Breaking News: ICE Activity In Santa Fe, In New Mexico and in the Nation. Friday, March 9. Allegra Love, Director of Santa Fe Dreamers sent me this summary of what has been happening in Santa Fe, other parts of NM and other parts of the Nation. And a different kind of love and a different kind of wall. This is a very thorough and very heartbreaking report, well worth your review. The post tells us a good deal about the values of a very large proportion of our people. What does it say about us that we separate parents from their children The Wall of Love comes to Eldorado.Click here to review the post.


Welcome Mayor Webber. Here is What You Promised.  Let’s Get Started. Sat. March 10. Published two days before Mayor Webber takes office, this post includes his responses to the 24 policies in Retake’s Mayor’s survey. Retake’s Local Action Team will be meeting on Monday at 6pm at New Energy Economy to strategize. Join us in making these good policies into good laws. Click here to review the full post.



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