Michelle Lujan Grisham for Governor?

Roxanne and I joined Jay Levine and Pia Gallegos–leaders in the Adelante Democratic Caucus and met with MLG’s Policy Director, Jane Wishner, and Deputy Campaign Director Victor Reyes. The purpose was to get a better understanding of MLG’s policy positions and to see if there was enough common ground for the Progressive Caucus and Retake to enthusiastically encourage you not just to vote for MLG, but to campaign for her.

Retake Our Democracy on KSFR,101.1 FM. This month Retake Our Democracy talks affordable housing, affordable housing, and affordable housing, and how we can address the growing housing crisis in Santa Fe, in NM and in the US. Sat., Oct  6, 8:30 am. Alexandra Ladd, City of Santa Fe Director of Affordable Housing., Sat. Oct 13 (Pledge Week) with Senator Peter Wirth (also taking Housing from the state perspective); and. Saturday., Oct. 20 with County Housing Authority Director Joseph Montoya. Oct 13 is pledge week and anyone contributing $50 or more to KSFR on Saturday, Oct 13, between 8:30-9am will be able to join Senator Wirth on a personal guided tour of the Roundhouse, where he will tell you not just about the buildings and hearing rooms but what goes on behind the scenes. 

Actions & Events. Today at 5:30, House Party for one of Retake Our Democracy’s favorite NM House candidates, Abbas Akhil. Click here for details and for other events in Santa Fe, including a movie screening and a meeting where you can get involved in supporting Roundhouse candidates and lobbying for progressive legislation in the coming Roundhouse session (Jan 2019). It is not too soon to get involved as our Roundhouse Advocacy Team has been hard at work since the last session ended in March. Click here to get to Actions and Events, and I really hope to see you at the meet and greet with Abbas Akhil.

A Thumbs Up for Michelle Lujan Grisham

Representatives of the Lujan Grisham campaign and representatives from Retake Our Democracy and the Adelante Progressive Caucus of the DPNM met last week to discuss policy positions and areas of common ground and areas where we may differ.  As a result of this conversation and a review of many of MLG’s policies and position papers, both Retake Our Democracy and the Adelante Progressive Caucus are encouraging our members to not just vote for Michelle Lujan Grisham as Governor of the State of New Mexico, but to actively support her campaign by knocking on doors, making phone calls, contributing to her campaign, and encouraging others to do the same.

We make this recommendation recognizing that Lujan Grisham does not fully embrace the DPNM Platform, takes donations from the gas and oil industry, and is not opposed to any and all fracking, but merely seeks to limit its use. These are legitimate concerns and positions we intend to work together on to move MLG in a more positive direction. But we also recognize that there are a great many areas in which we are aligned with MLG and her positions on issues and that there is an enormous difference between Lujan Grisham and her opponent, Steve Pearce. Finally, we expect that with a Democratic Governor, we will be able to play offense for the first time in eight years in the Roundhouse. With Pearce as Governor, we would be playing defense once again and for at least another four years.  We don’t have another four years, and we simply can not allow progressive purism to allow any of us to sit on the sidelines. NM needs a Democratic Governor.  And there are significant areas where MLG, Retake Our Democracy and the Progressive Caucus are strongly aligned.  For example, MLG favors:

  • Increasing the minimum way to $10 an hour, then $12 an hour and tying it to inflation. While many of us have advocated for a $15 minimum wage, we also recognize that doubling the minimum wage overnight might well prove impossible for some small businesses, ranchers, and farmers in rural NM. We will get to $15, but perhaps not in 2-3 years, and an increase to $10 represents a 33% increase (from $7.50), something that would definitely impact the home budgets of low-wage workers.
  • Using a percentage of interest from the $17 billion permanent fund to increase funding for Early Childhood Education.
  • Passing the New Mexico Health Security Act. Indeed, we were reminded in our meeting that Lujan Grisham was among the early advocates who created the campaign for the HSA. And while she has reservations about whether HSA, single payer, or Medicare for All can ‘pencil out’ cost wise, she is certainly amenable to finding that out. She will sign the HSA and then the next step would be a detailed analysis of just how it would work out financially before implementation would begin, a step that is built in to the legislation.
  • Enabling people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, to buy into Medicaid insurance.
  • Increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard to require NM to achieve 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 80% renewable by 2040.
  • Joining the United States Climate Alliance on behalf of New Mexico to uphold the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement within our borders.
  • Building transmission lines to export renewable energy to other states.
  • Implementing a statewide methane rule and investing in infrastructure to capture methane.
  • Rescinding the hated standardized test-driven teacher evaluation process

It is safe to say that Steve Pearce advocates for none of these positions and would veto any effort to advance legislation related to any of these policies. In addition to not advancing anything like a progressive policy, he is not beneath launching highly negative and misleading advertisements designed to misinform and inflame.  Steve Pearce has launched a desperate campaign recognizing that an initially tight race is now edging past a two digit lead for MLG. We should expect more charges from Pearce.

One of the most egregious of those charges is his attack claiming MLG formed Delta Consulting Group using her connections to obtain a contract to manage a pool of high risk patents and made millions in the process. Click here for a very brief article from Dr. Anna Voltura, a surgical oncologist and breast cancer specialist. She disputes each assertion from Pearce’s ad. Suffice it to say, MLG did not make millions or anything close, Delta was awarded the contact after a competitive bidding process, and Delta’s management of the pool saved lives.

Taking all of this into consideration, both Adelante Progressive Caucus and Retake Our Democracy are encouraging its members to embrace Michelle Lujan Grisham and support her over the next five weeks, not just voting for her, but knocking on doors, making calls, contributing to her campaign, and encouraging friends to do the same.

It’s offense time, my friends, not a time to stand on the sidelines and wait for the perfect candidate. I share below comments from Mariel Nanasi, my good friend, and Director of New Energy Economy.

“With so much at stake, now is the time to stand strongly behind Michelle Lujan Grisham for Governor. Michelle is a strategist, she is a listener, she will be careful to appoint thoughtful people to help her lead New Mexico from rampant inequality to a healthier, more just economy. She cannot do this alone. Only together can we create the solutions we need. Therefore it is up to us to get her elected – that means money, knocking on doors, engaging with our community, using social media and more. I know Michelle welcomes our participation now and will need our engagement even more once elected.”
Mariel Nanasi, New Energy Economy

Roxanne and I welcome your comments.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne


Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation

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18 replies

  1. As always, consider the alternatives.

  2. Right on all counts.

  3. Thanks – this is important. While I hate the idea of voting for the “lesser of 2 evils” this isn’t the case here. My views and MLJ’s align well over 80% of the time and that is way better than the last several Presidential elections. Folks, please don’t allow the desire for perfection to prevent the very good from getting elected.

  4. I’m not that enthused about MLG but what’s the alternative. I would not vote for ANY Republican . We need to get more progressives to run next time and support them. This time I #VoteBlueNoMatterWho . I’m not sure I could ever vote for another Republican for any office

  5. I will vote for the lesser of two evils, the female one. Against all my very basic principles Two things I can say about MLG, like any career politician she comes first, her family and the building of a LG political dynasty, secondly, she is not a socialist or a socialist democrat or even a democrat because she is a Capitalist, yes with capital C. I believe we should take some time to go over NM political history. The dems had the NM house for about 60 years. So????? What did they really do for New Mexicans?????
    The Democratic Party is not here to save anybody but itself. You should continue to join hands with other truly progressive orgs. and continue to promote truly progressive candidates. Not MLG, which as Mike puts it above, is the lesser of two evils. These means that she is evil too.

    • I agree. Keep supporting Progressives so we can change this.

      • After today’s endorsement, are there any progressives left?

      • I should say that I didn’t notice your “Refake” Our Democracy comment and that was worthy of acknowledgement. Very funny. I’ve said it below, but I can’t honestly understand what you think the options are. Should Retake tell people not to vote for Governor because MLG is not the perfect candidate? Should we hope she loses so that in four years we get another shot at someone more progressive? Seriously, I’d be interested to hear what your advice would be given the current circumstances. You commented on MLG’s position on fracking, but what about all the other positions where she is willing to sign into law key bills we’ve been wanting passed for years? What would be your advise, Robb? It is easy to criticize but what would your advice be?

  6. A pretty lukewarm response. MLG is merely the lesser of two evils. This shows how few real progressives we have in this state. We have had years of compromise, and lackluster candidates. MLG will most certainly be less destructive than Pierce, but no paragon of virtue. We have a serious problem here, as horrible, destructive and outright backwards as Governor Martinez has been, there has not been anyone rising to the occasion.
    We have a serious problem with Information deserts or News Vacuums here in New Mexico, and entirely too many people too disgusted, disenfranchised, or screwed over to vote. We have no one holding our democrats accountable, even though we have had 8 years of republican disruption. We have the same few names, and their same old motivations, nothing new, just recycled. MLG’s experience in state government is no real endorsement either. Like the republicans, every position, is an opportunity for corporate positions, for friends and family. Our problems preceded Martinez, though she did make them much worse.

    When it comes to the big money interests, there is not a lot of difference between most of our Democrats or Republicans. Of course no one really paid attention to MLG’s activities while she worked for the state, because it is so much worse now, that anything marginally decent, is amplified as if it was meaningful. These candidates are still distorting the discussion, egged on by social media manipulation, and a lot of help from our few news outlets, which carefully shape their pro corporate views.

    This is truly a Dystopia, where basic values are meaningless, and the most insipid watered down common sense, it portrayed as “extreme” by our media and a lot of these candidates, also with the help of media. If we had all of the facts we really would be frightened. There is not much to cheer about here, there are a lot of locals who remember back when MLG worked for the state. Like the republicans they turned it into a corporate giveaway, and self enrichment organization. Local news outlets never covered any of that, in fact they effectively censored how that works. The corporations get what they pay for, and part of that is the silence they buy.

  7. Whatever pretense existed that Retake was a progressive organization has been erased by the MLG endorsement. A name change is in order: perhaps “Refake A Democracy.”

    One skill Paul Gibson has perfected is the ability to find value, where there is none. An endorsement shouldn’t be black & white; it should be a special award for merit, that transcends not only the bad, but the mediocre.

    If any current Dem candidate is undeserving of an endorsement, it is Mucho Less Good (MLG). She acted like the heiress apparent from her first announcement, & her dictatorial handling of the State nominating convention was a model of Big Sister Fascism.

    Her refusal to acknowledge other Dem candidates in the race led to an ominous split by Apodaca, & a voter feint to Pearce. The point is that, only now, with the race tightening, does Grisham even yawn to ask for endorsements.

    Also, she should have had to beg at your door, not have Retake seek her out. But, we understand, the meeting was for your cover, to excuse the endorsement that was inevitable.

    To make things worse, you had to implicate another “progressive” group in this disgrace. I’m a member of Adelante, which under Pia Gallegos’ non-leadership, has gone from a serious Dem Party insurgency to the meekest “progressive coalition” in history.

    I know, it’s all business, & Retake is a gig. But, please, could you stop the pseudo-progressive imaging? It’s embarrassing. BTW, MLG is already in the arms of the fracking/energy combine. If this is acceptable enough for you to enthusiastically endorse her, may you live in interesting times. Damn!

    • I always appreciate comments from Robb Chavez and this comment is no exception. However, I must respectfully disagree with his perspective. I don’t know where to begin, but the bottom line for me is this: would I prefer to lobby MLG to sign a good bill passed through the Roundhouse or would I prefer to have no access whatsoever as Pearce would veto any bill worth having lobbied for. That is our choice for Governor right now: MLG vs. Pearce. If you don’t vote, you are voting for Pearce and if you do that, you are saying that you would rather feel really good about your progressive pedigree than to be prag matic and accept that under MLG a whole slew of good bills will likely be signed into law that with Pearce as governor would simply be vetoed. That is not being a very wise progressive. To maintain your leftist purity, you are willing to sacrifice so many good progressive bills that would address the needs of children, seniors, communities of color and our planet. Sorry, Robb, I feel very good about this, but appreciate your comments, now and always. Oh, and Retake is not a “gig.” Roxanne and I have made not a dime from Retake and have actually given up our paid work to do this and as I noted in our support for MLG, I am aware that she listens to G&O and is a fan of fracking to a degree to which I am very, very uncomfortable. But Pearce would never be advocating for methane containment, would never support investments in renewables, would never consider tax reform, would never ask for a 1% increase in permanent fund contributions to early childhood. All of these are possible under MLG. If we want to have passionate progressives as candidates for Governor, House, Senate, what have you, we need to do what the GOP began doing 30 years ago, developing young leadership at the local level so they can gain experience on a city council or school board and be ready to run for higher office. But in 2018 this is our choice. We can vote for the political environment in which we want to operate for the next four years or we can endure four years of Pearce.

  8. For those of us that care about the environment and caring for the less fortunate, the decision between MLG and Pearce isn’t even close. MLG is by far the preferred choice for progressives. No, she’s not perfect and hopefully she can be even more “progressively bold” as Governor than she is as a candidate. But Pearce would be AWFUL – even worse than Susanna Martinez.

  9. Reading many of the comments here has left me fairly annoyed.

    “I’m not that enthused about MLG but what’s the alternative.”

    “A pretty lukewarm response. MLG is merely the lesser of two evils.”

    “I will vote for the lesser of two evils, the female one. Against all my very basic principles.”

    “Whatever pretense existed that Retake was a progressive organization has been erased by the MLG endorsement.”

    Ah, once again the system has failed to produce candidates with positions that truly reflect the true “will of the people”. Apparently “the system” fails to recruit true progressive candidates, or if a true progressive manages to make it into a primary or all the way to the general election, for some reason they lose (undoubtedly due to party machinations or media bias or voter apathy or the Koch brothers or something…).

    What could one possibly do to rectify this situation?

    -I suppose if traditional media doesn’t do a good job of explaining issues from a progressive perspective one could organize information forums to discuss issues or set up an alternative media site on which issues are investigated and discussed in depth from a progressive perspective.

    -One could become active in the democratic party, trying to push a progressive platform and get progressive officers elected.

    -You could also engage and collaborate with various progressive organizations to recruit and support the most progressive candidates that can be found.

    -Finally, once one is approaching the general election one could engage with candidates to insure that as many progressive positions as possible are adopted by these candidates in their campaigns (then hold their feet to the fire to actually implement them once in office).

    Seems like Paul and Roxanne have checked all of the boxes on this “to-do” list. If you don’t have a comparable list of accomplishments, it might be time to work more and whine less.

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