This post includes a report on the HSA, encouragement to attend the Santa Fe County Commission this afternoon as they consider Commissioner Anna Hansen’s Resolution on Climate Change which would commit $5M in County funds to renewable development and a report on Time Magazine’s selection as Person of the Year. Not Trump, that God.
A Call to Raise Your Voice for Climate Justice Today at 3pm
The legislative session may not begin until January, but our work is well underway and there are other fronts where we can advocate for climate justice! Can you be present at the Santa Fe County Commission meeting on Tuesday, 12/11 and show your support for urgent climate action?
Support Santa Fe County Commission Resolution on Climate Action, December 11, 2018 at 3PM. 102 Grant Avenue, Santa Fe 87501. Show your support as the Commission considers a resolution brought by Anna Hansen, District 2 Commissioner, to champion state legislation that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increase renewable energy production, and prioritize water conservation. This is an action item, so there will be an opportunity for public comment. It gives us great hope to see progressive elected leaders carrying legislation that aims to accomplish the most important work of our generation, confronting climate change. If approved, the resolution will greatly increase the County’s active support for Commissioner Hansen and New Energy Economy‘s led initiative that invests $5 million over five years to build solar projects and power county facilities, decrease county electricity costs, and allow for the reinvestment of budget dollars into vital community needs. The resolution is sixth on the agenda. We expect it to be heard at approximately 3PM. County issues have been long overlooked by Retake, yet in many ways they can be the driver of policy in our community having taken a lead role on advancing strategies to develop affordable housing and in relation to climate change. The Roundhouse will consume much of Retake’s energy for the next four months, but I think this hearing is worth attending to support Anna Hansen. Wish I could be there but I have a conflict. Maybe some of you could go to represent Retake? View the full agenda here.
Time Names Journalists Under Threat of Arrest, Intimidation or Murder, the 2018 Person(s) of the Year.
One week after attending the Writers Under Fire Conference in Santa Fe, with over 48 international journalists presenting in panels and small breakouts about their having been intimidated, arrested, tortured, or threatened, Time Magazine has named The Guardians–international journalists under fire–as the 2018 Person(s) of the Year.
From Time: “With a record number of reporters behind bars around the planet — the Committee to Protect Journalists documented 262 cases in 2017 — an avalanche of misinformation on social media and government officials from the United States to the Philippines dismissing critical, real reporting as “fake news,” Time is spotlighting a handful of journalists who have one thing in common: They were targeted for their work.”
Personally, I can think of no better recipient. If we are to fight the oppression from the right and the controls exercised by the corporate sector, we are going to need to hear the truth, unbiased reporting that investigates the root causes of our current economic, racial, and climate condition. To read the full Time article, click here.
A Personal Commitment to Passing the Health Security Act
Last Friday, I submitted the My View to the New Mexican, hoping it would be published last Sunday and pump up interest I our Roundhouse Advocacy. But unbeknownst to me, the New Mexican completes its Sunday Opinion page on Thursday and the Saturday Opinion page was already full. I scanned the online Opinion page in the New Mexican this morning and saw it had not been published today only to get an email from a reader thanking me for the My View published today. I went outside to fetch the paper and lo and behold, there it was. Still, the version below has been expanded very slightly as I don’t have a 600 word limit. So, I’d read this instead. But thanks much to the New Mexican..
The urgency is that while you are among 2000 people who read the blog, there are so many others who do not, but who may well get motivated to get involved in our effort. The evidence is clear. On Saturday the League of Women Voters had a huge turnout for their annual orientation to the Roundhouse done by Senators Wirth and Rue and the next day you couldn’t even move in Collected Works as the people stood jamming the aisles to hear from Sen. Wirth and Speaker Egolf.
We need to engage those people who are enthused and help translate interest and concern into to action. Over the next weeks, I will be urging you to play a role in this, by sharing key blogs with friends of yours and by asking those who attend the next Roundhouse Advocacy Meeting to wear Retake buttons while you are in town and when folks comment, “Cool button,” tell them about Retake and our legislative efforts. We can not afford to assume that a Democratic Governor will suddenly make all the difference. Good bills must get to her desk and in 2017, we had solid Democratic majorities in both chambers and good bills died over and over again in committee hearings. So we need all of you to play a role and our next meeting on Th, Dec 13, 6-8pm (details below) would be a good time to find out more and an excellent time to contact 3-4 friends and after telling them a bit about Retake suggesting, ‘Hey, this could be fun and we’ve got time, let’s do this together.’ And now the My View that hasn’t been published yet.
“Last Saturday, I had persistent chest pain. My wife Roxanne and I debated going to the ER or waiting until Monday. I had no other symptoms, no radiating pain, no shortness of breath, just chest pain. We opted to be safe. It saved my life. I was diagnosed with large blood clots in my lungs and right leg and given intravenous blood thinners. I am now symptom-free and apparently out of the woods. My wife and I have the means to pay a $2,000 ER charge. Many low-income or uninsured people might have tried to tough it out and waited until Monday. That decision could have cost them their life. When healthcare is a theory and a policy, it’s possible to be dispassionate; when it’s life and death, you realize the difference a Medicare for All system could make.
New Mexico has an opportunity to pass the Health Security Act (HSA) in 2019. If passed, a study would be conducted to verify that it would pencil out fiscally. Two independent studies have already confirmed this, and that was before Medicare expansion. It would then take two years to create the independent commission that oversees the HSA. But New Mexico would be on the path to a Medicare for All system. And once in place, no one would have to debate whether to go to the ER; the cost of care would disappear as an obstacle. No one’s father would die trying to tough it out to save some medical expenses.
In 1963, Healthcare for All was virtually unknown, except in Saskatchewan, Canada. They implemented a universal healthcare system that demonstrated cost savings, patient satisfaction, and positive health outcomes. Three years later all of Canada adopted the Saskatchewan system. If New Mexico can do this, we will be a national leader, first in something that is good for a change, instead of 50th. Medicare for All, Single Payer, Universal Healthcare and other options have been debated to death with skeptics and insurance lobbyists undermining the efforts with false narratives about how this would bankrupt the country. With NM leading the way, we could be Saskatchewan. We could lead the Nation to Universal Healthcare.
The next Legislative Session will open Jan. 16. With a Democratic Governor, good bills passed by the legislature will not be vetoed. A significant raise in minimum wage, same day voter registration, National Popular Vote, meaningful tax reform, increased funding for K-12 and early childhood, a substantial transition to renewables, and a repeal of the heinous 1969 abortion ban are all possible. But passing these bills is not assured. In 2016, many good bills died in committee when we had Democratic majorities in both chambers. There are still fiscally and socially conservative Democrats in the House and Senate, and the pervasive influence of corporate lobbyists feed them talking points to deter reforms. How else can you explain legislators calling it a victory ‘limiting’ predatory lending rates to 175%. How desperate must one be to sign on for a loan with those rates? We can’t accept piecemeal reforms. This is our time. This is why we canvassed. This is why we called. We need to be watching at the Roundhouse, building a statewide base of folks ready to speak up to ensure these bills pass.
Retake Our Democracy’s Roundhouse Advocacy Team has met twice monthly for two years to be ready for this moment. We have communicated with 20-plus progressive non-profit allies like Common Cause, Planned Parenthood, and Sierra Club and created a MUST PASS list of good bills, like the HSA, that have stalled in the Roundhouse. We have developed a Rapid Response Network with members throughout the state who will receive action alerts and writing points to help them write and call their representatives at key moments, in addition to volunteers who will be going to the Roundhouse every day of the session. There are ways you can help from your couch, or you can be trained to come to the Roundhouse and advocate with us.
This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that can’t slip through our fingers. Please send this post to your friends and ask them to go click here to subscribe to the blog and to be kept informed. Ask them to check out our 2019 Roundhouse Strategy under the Action and Events menu, or come to our next meeting, December 13 or December 20 at 6-8pm, 1420 Cerrillos Rd. Imagine it’s March 16 and all those great bills are signed into law. Better yet, after sending them this post, give them a call, ask them to join you for an early dinner and to find out what we are up to. We need to convert interest and concern into engagement and action. Let’s make it happen.
Thursday, December 13, 6pm-8pm. Roundhouse Advocacy Team Orientation, Training and Organizing Meeting, Center for Progress and Justice, 1420 Cerrillos. This Thursday, Retake will hold an important organizing meeting to strategize and prepare to pass bills like the HSA, minimum wage increase, meaningful gun violence prevention, funding for Pre K-14 (early childhood through community college) and a host of other bills. To view our strategy for achieving this and our current 14-bill MUST PASS list, click here. On Thursday from 6-6:30pm, we will provide an orientation about how what Retake has done to prepare for a vastly expanded role in the Roundhouse in 2019 and how you can be involved whether you have only a few minutes a week available or if you are thinking: “What the heck, maybe I’ll get some training and head to the Roundhouse when something I care about is going to have a hearing or a vote.”
After the orientation, we will hear from a team of Roundhouse volunteers, all experienced in working as advocates. The team will provide a click-by-click demonstration of what information can be found on the nmlegis.gov website, how it can be used by people like you to research bills you think you might want to support and to create your own “My Roundhouse” an excellent tool that allows you to create your own bill priority list and sign up for updates on how that bill is moving through the Roundhouse and hearings that have been scheduled for any of your bills.
After the demonstration, we will break into small groups to discuss and make more specific plans on how we can pass great bills in 2019. We will have breakouts for people who want to:
- Screen the bills that are introduced in 2019 and then research and summarize bills that we view as high priorities
- Participate at the Roundhouse as a Roundhouse volunteer advocate, attending hearings, offering public comment, or circulating through the Roundhouse legislative offices, chatting with committee and legislative staff and distributing flyers on key bills;
- Conduct outreach to the 1200 people who signed up over the past year to be part of the Statewide Rapid Response Network and who need to be oriented to how they can participate in the Network from home and how they expand their impact by recruiting others from their community. This is a critical piece as it is how we will build advocacy in Senate and House Districts where their Democratic Representative has a habit of undermining or opposing good legislation.
- Participate in the Rapid Response Network through which you can work from home to advocate for good bills when notified that one of our bills is going to committee for a hearing or the floor for a voteWe have lots of roles and opportunities and we need as many folks as possible. In Santa Fe, we are at the epicenter of Roundhouse activity and so we have an opportunity and a responsibility to role up our sleeves and get things done. On Thursday, you