Looking Back & Looking Forward Plus Green New Deal Action Alert for Udall, Heinrich and Lujan: Act Today

Our elected officials in DC need to hear from us. We need to let them know that climate change is the biggest threat to mankind in human history, that we are tired of tepid, non-responsive solutions, and a well thought out response has been developed, one that responds with an appropriate level of urgency. TODAY, email Heinrich, Lujan and Udall. 

Action Alert. Today’s post reprises the four posts from last week, with one being expanded a bit to include action alerts for Senators Udall and Heinrich and also Representative Lujan. The alerts focus on their not yet having supported The Green New Deal. We now have a US plan for addressing the urgency of climate change’s threats to mankind. While for now the plan is a House initiative, Sen. Corey Booker and Sen.Bernie Sanders have both gotten ahead of the curve endorsing the plan. We need to start developing momentum around the Nation for this plan. And while in the midterms we turned NM entirely blue, the survival of the planet requires we also turn it 100% green.  So, I ask that ALL of you write to our legislators TODAY. Please keep it respectful, as none of these folks have indicated opposition and generally vote well in relation to renewables. But let’s give them a solid push. Deb Haaland has endorsed the plan and is on the committee of House Reps advocating on its behalf. Xochitl Torres Small is not. I don’t have official email and phone contacts for the newly elected House Reps just yet, but as soon as they are published, I’ll let  you know.

Governor Elect Lujan Grisham Appoints Three Cabinet Secretaries: Preliminary Thoughts. I have heard from several who have observed the careers of the first three appointees:

  • Olivia Padilla Jackson.  Department of Finance & Administration. From reliable folks in ABQ, she is hard working and as one strong progressive put it, “solid.” She will have a very important position advising the Governor on finance options balancing the budget surplus with the urgent need to create a fairer tax and revenue system. Currently the budget officer for Albuquerque, she has prior experience as Finance director for city of Rio Rancho; director of state Board of Finance; and staffer for Legislative Finance Committee. Clearly, she has been around this block a few times.
  • Sara Cottrell Propst, Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources. Given the urgent importance of moving from a fossil-fuel based economy and energy consumption to one based upon renewables, this is an important pick. Previously, this position was held by a gas and oil executive who summarily appointed two gas and oil execs to seats on the Oil Conservation Commission. Lujan Grisham selected an executive of a renewable energy trade association, quite a difference. With only three seats total (Stephanie Garcia Richards will pick the third position) we now are in a position to create an Oil Conservation Commission that is more interested in conserving the planet than the interest of big oil.
  • Dr. David Scrase, Department of Human Services.  The best thing that can be said about Dr. Scrase is that he is not in charge of the Health Department. As a lifelong defender of the insurance industry and a CEO for Presbyterian Health, this is not someone who would lead the charge for healthcare reform. His quote in the paper about opposing the Medicaid “reform”…read deform policies that would raise premiums and co-pays for poor New Mexicans is somewhat heartening, but there is a long track record here standing up for the industry. We will need to be very watchful about who Lujan Grisham selects for Secretary of Health.

Taken together, two solid picks and one we will have to watch very carefully.

Rape Kit Backlog Cleared. According to this morning’s New Mexican, the state Rape Kit Backlog has been eliminated. In Albuquerque where an even larger backlog of 2700 cases existed when Mayor Keller took office, with grant funding Albuquerque has eliminated half of the backlog. In the process, ABQ identified 575 matches matches of identified and unidentified suspects in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System. Remaining state funding for the rape kit backlog will be given to ABQ to complete the job. I will communicate with Mayor Keller to see if one of Retake Our Democracy’s MUST PASS bills, SB 7 Sexual Assault Lab Kit, can be removed from our list. I’ll keep you posted. Click here to read the New Mexican article on this.

Thursday, Dec. 20, 6-8pm 1420 Cerrillos. Retake Our Democracy, Roundhouse Advocacy Team, Orientation, Strategizing and Potluck BYOB.  We need to continue to advance our preparation for the Roundhouse session just under one month away, but we also decided we need to have a little fun and get to know each other better. If we are to sustain this work over the long-term we need to not just develop strategy, but to also develop community. Retake will bring a couple humongous pizzas to boost the fare, but we ask that you bring: your own washable plate, forks and knives and a glass along with one dish to share and your own beverage. We really want to minimize our paper and plastic waste. Orientation will be at the end of the meeting, 7:30-8pm so that we can eat when the food is warm and the beverages cool. We will encourage people to sit with someone they don’t know and will offer conversation cues to encourage dialog and getting to know others in our group. We will also hear from 2-3 of our allies. Confirmed right now is Jacob Vigil analyst from NM Voices for Children. who provided the language for the last post listed below (appeared two days ago).

For this meeting it is especially important that everyone RSVP by writing to paul@retakeourdemocracy.org. The set up will involve tables, table cloths, chairs and ability to watch our speakers. For that we need to know how many will be there. We hope it is jammed.

Looking Back:  A Week Focused on the Health Security Act, the Green New Deal, a NM Tax Reform Plan, and The Nation on the Scope and Depth of the Blue Wave

If you’ve only got time to go back to one of these, I highly recommend examining the post focused on The Green New Deal and then that you send notes to Lujan, Heinrich and Udall. After that, I’d recommend the post with the links to The Nation magazine articles. They will inspire you and give you hope.  Look at the energy being generated by Ocasio-Cortez. The Nation articles point to a sea of young progressives ready to match that energy and focus. Summaries of last week’s posts, with links to them follow.

Health Security Act and Other Social Justice Bills in the Roundhouse:  We Can Get This Done

Tuesday, Dec. 11.  This post includes a report on the HSA, a personal appeal based upon my hospital experience. The post also included encouragement to attend the Santa Fe County Commission last Tuesday afternoon as they considered Commissioner Anna Hansen’s Resolution on Climate Change which would commit $5M in County funds to renewable development. YAY it passed unanimously.  We also included a report on Time Magazine’s selection as Person of the Year. Not Trump, thank God. Time Magazine named as persons of the year “The Guardians”–international reporters under fire from repressive regimes across the globe. Click here to read the full post.

Lujan Town Hall, Common Cause Alert and Three Nation Magazine Articles Describing Just How HUGE the Blue Wave Was

Wednesday, Dec. 12. Common Cause carried the day at the Santa Fe City Council meeting on Wednesday with the Council voting, with only two dissenting votes, to strengthen its campaign finance laws. Yay. This post also included links and a brief summary to three Nation articles that I can’t recommend highly enough, as they are both inspiring and informative. It was really heartening to appreciate that the midterm wins extended well beyond flipping 40 House seats, but also generated a “bench” of young progressives , mostly women or people of color, who won in state and local elections, providing a cadre of future leaders.  Click here to read the entire post and to get links to The Nation articles.

Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal: Our Best Shot to Save Our Future

Thursday, Dec. 13. Thank God for vision and urgency. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t invent the Green New Deal, but she has certainly embraced it enthusiastically. And as this post describes, it is a very thorough, well-research plan that is fueled by an urgency that is appropriate to the crisis at hand.

So many committees and legislators have “examined” or “considered” past plans and shrugged or punted. We are way past the time for due deliberation. Science has spoken and thus far precious few have organized behind the Green New Deal, certainly not many of our elected officials in Washington, D.C. It is time to start flooding our elected officials with emails and calls telling them to follow Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Deb Haaland, Sen. Corey Booker’s and a handful of other legislators and publicly endorse the Green New Deal.

The legislators at left are on the committee to advance the Green New Deal. Note the presence of Deb Haaland and note the absence of Rep. Lujan and Rep-Elect Xochitl Torres. In fact, look at the graphic at the bottom of this post. Data for Progress, identified the likelihood of each member of the House of Reps to endorse the Green New Deal. Xochitl Torres was listed dead LAST and Rep. Lujan was only a few spots above her. Below are those identified as sponsoring the initiative.

We need more of our elected officials in DC supporting this bill, so please use the contact information below to let Udall, Heinrich and Lujan know that you want them to support the GND. You needn’t know every tenet of the plan, just that you want urgent action, that the planet is in peril and that finally there is a plan that actually measures up to the scale of that problem. Tell them you will be watching closely to see their announcement of support. Click her to read the full post. Contact info follows.

Contact info for Rep. Lujan.

  • Ph: (202) 225-6190
  • email: grassroots@benrlujan.com  OR
  • Link to email form: Click here to get to his form. You will need to input your zip code to get access to the form used to direct email to the Congressman.

And since some Senators are stepping forward to support the Green New Deal, maybe we need to let ours know that we think it is time to start taking climate change seriously.

Tom Udall, US Senate

Martin Heinrich, US Senate

NM Voices for Children: Proposals for Taxing the Wealthy & Corporations

Saturday, Dec. 15.  If we are ever to achieve any of our goals, climate justice, a just transition to renewables, sustained funding for early childhood, and K-12 or anything else that costs money, we need a more progressive tax system and we can’t rely on the roller coaster of fluctuating gas and oil revenues. What’s more, if we are serious bout our transition to renewables, we need to develop an economy predicated on keep coal in the ground and move to clean energy options.

New Mexico policy makers tell us we can’t make a transition to renewables until we are able to replace the huge amount of gas and oil revenue that flows into the state coffers. Yet, there are opportunities to mitigate those losses by reforming our tax system, legalizing recreational marijuana, and investing heavily in a renewable infrastructure that will allow us not just to use solar and wind power, but to export it. Over time, each of these policy initiatives could mitigate the loss of gas and oil revenues. The Farm Bill is on Trump’s desk right now and if signed will remove hemp from the US Drug list allowing expanded production in NM, another potential source of revenue, and one that uses far less water than alfalfa (and produces significantly higher income per acre).

In this post, we let New Mexico Voices for Children lay out just two tax reform policies that could generate over $50M a year by taxing our wealthiest residents at levels that are eminently just. You will be shocked to find that today, our poorest residents pay double the rate of state and local taxes as our wealthiest residents. For more than a decade Democrats and Republicans have cut taxes for the wealthy and for corporations. The post also provides info on MLG’s first three appointments. I have heard nothing about her Finance Secretary, but am poking around. It seems like the Natural Resources secretary is a good pick, but I am hearing serious concerns about Dr. Scarse, a longtime private health plan advocate and likely no friend of Medicare for All or the Health Security Act. More soon.  Click here to read the full post.

New Mexico:  Only one of our five US elected officials have endorsed The Green New Deal. Time to Let Them Know How You Feel. You’ll have to scroll to the very bottom for this chart that depicts the probability of a US House member endorsing the Green New Deal, with Xochitl at the very bottom, as in dead last, and with Rep. Lujan only a few spots higher on the list.


 

 

 

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