A Look Back and A Look Forward to 2019 and What Might Just Be Possible

A look at the end of the year and what 2019 could bring if we all work together.  When you toast tonight, toast to a new future, a new world, a new vision for what justice means. We can save this planet, we can create a far better world. The Times They Are a Changin’. Let’s Do This. Happy New Year.

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Somethin’s Happenin Here. Each Retake Our Democracy radio show begins with the Buffalo Springfield anthem and the words, “Something’s happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.” I think I need to change that to Dylan’s more optimistic anthem: “Times, they are a changin’.” There are so many signs of change and opportunity throughout the US.

  • New leaders are emerging across the nation, taking seats in the US House and taking positions in government in State Houses, as Lt. Governors and Secretaries of State, Attorney General, and at the local levels, commissions and councils. These new young leaders understand the urgency of the times and are not going to be deterred;
  • Grassroots movements, in some cases driven by youth as in the gun violence prevention movement, to Dreamers, Black Lives Matter, #metoo, all echoing in different ways, “we’ve had enough and it is now our turn.”
  • Emerging ideas from community land trusts and worker owned cooperatives to grander schemes like the Green New Deal and Healthcare for All;
  • A wilting presidency that coincides with what must be a nearing end to the Mueller investigation, a US House in Democratic control, and growing dissatisfaction among even GOP voters that the president has lost his bearings, something apparent to most of us from the day he announced his run for the presidency;
  • National polling data indicating much broader support for economic justice initiatives….people are just plain sick of being ignored, of fixable problems lingering in committees while old politicians talk, more concerned about their power than our urgent needs;
  • A groundswell of grassroots activism that drove the midterm blue wave nationally and even more strikingly here in NM with thousands out canvassing when many had not ever voted before.

These are national and statewide conditions that suggest that perhaps we are ready to see the arc of history begin again to bend toward justice, that the pendulum that has swung so far right, has run out of steam and with us pushing, is ready to swing left. And here is the thing. It won’t swing nearly far enough toward justice without methodical planning, a laser focus, and structures in place to foster and grow the nascent and developing grassroots activism that is emerging. We need to build on success, we need to stay vigilant for countervailing efforts to subvert or minimize our vision. And it begins here in New Mexico where we have an opportunity to demonstrate to the country that even in a state driven economically by the fossil fuel industry and mired in so many 50th rankiings, even here, the taste of justice is on our lips and conditions are ripe for playing offense.


It is New Years Eve day, a day when many celebrate the passing of one year to the next. For politically active New Mexicans this passage also conveys a pivot from years of playing defense to a chance to finally play offense, to work together to pass bills that we had long supported but that were stifled at every turn by GOP leadership, and often by a small number of Democrats.  But ‘times they are a changin’ and there are indications that 2019 will be different with dozens of very good bills becoming law if we are vigilant, persistent and focused in advocating at the Roundhouse. We need to remember that in 2017 and 2018, we had Democratic Party control of both chambers of the legislature and very few progressive bills got to the Governor’s desk. We need to be every watchful and target our advocacy to ensure that 2019 is different.

And for two years Retake’s Roundhouse Advocacy Team has been hard at work preparing for this moment. Even throughout the holidays, our:

  • Legislative Research Team has been combing over bills, having screened virtually all of the 310 bills that have already been pre-filed and working with our leadership to finalize our MUST PASS and Priority Bill lists.
  • Our Ally Collaboration Team has been communicating with our 20+ non-profit allies to verify our priorities, to get input on our speaking points and our rhetoric about bills to ensure our language is consistent with our allies’ understanding of the most compelling language to be used with legislators.
  • Our IT team has been working to finalize the online communication platform that will drive our Statewide Rapid Response system, a system that will allow all who join to advocate with their legislators at the precise moments when they will be voting on bills in committee or on the floor, with Action Alerts including bill number, title, sponsor, a brief summary, contact information and speaking points to enable you to advocate easily from home or come to the Roundhouse and attend the hearings or floor votes.
  • Our Leadership Team has been meeting to manage these processes to ensure that all the pieces come together and to ensure that team members’ voices are heard.

All of this work is being done to make it easier for people LIKE YOU to advocate at the Roundhouse whether in person or from your home.  We anticipate our launch of the Response Network to be Thursday, January 3 or very soon thereafter. Please track our blog for updates.

I expect we will pass scores of bills that will significantly improve the quality of life of hundreds upon thousands of working families and their children and other bills that will address the needs of under-served communities where many of those families reside. And there is no way to overstate how important these bills will be to New Mexicans whose needs have been utterly ignored for far too long. But, aside from perhaps the Health Security Act, most all of these bills will not be transformational. Tomorrow the post will discuss Retake’s plans to work with our allies after the 2019 session,  to begin to formulate a package of truly transformational legislation, bills that create a state Public Bank, transform our tax and revenue system, create statewide efforts to change how we address affordable housing and fight gentrification, and create ways to support new models of worker owned cooperatives as a structural framework for new jobs in NM.  We will flesh out the details of these bills after the 2019 session, work with our allies and legislators to identify support and bill sponsors and use the Interim Hearings in the summer to engage and educate legislators about these bills.

We have long said that Retake Our Democracy’s strategy is a long-haul strategy, one that builds each year. We want the 2019 session to be a huge success, but then we want to use that success to build for 2020, 2021 and beyond. As the title of Naomi Klein’s 2017 book proclaimed: No Is Not Enough. Time to dream big, to conjure the future many of us have harbored in our hearts for decades.  I hope you plan to be part of that journey, a journey that begins now by taking advantage of current conditions and building a new New Mexico, one that respects, even reveres our cultural heritage and their traditions, builds on cultural wisdom and understanding, restores balance to our relationship with our land, water and air, and prioritizes our planet, our children and our future over profit and greed.  Let’s Do This!

Thursday, Jan. 3, 6pm-8pm Retake Our Democracy Roundhouse Advocacy Team Organizing & Training Meeting, 1420 Cerrillos, The Center for Progress & Justice, Santa Fe. It is crunch time, 12 days to the opening of the Legislative Session. Orientation for the new participants that have been recruited will be from 6-6:30 followed by more training and considerable time for small group planning focused on the role you want to play in our work. Please RSVP by writing to paul@retakeourdemocracy.org.  And please, please, please, ask 2-3 friends to join you. It is time to flex our muscles and we need your help in that effort.

A Look Back At Last Week’s Posts

Strategies for Building Wealth Among Working Families & Under-Served Communities

Saturday, Dec. 29.  During the 50s and 60s the government invested billions in creating opportunities for middle class family home ownership. Racist policies excluded people of color from benefitting from this investment, quite intentionally. Today, progressive policy makers are finding ways to help those excluded populations generate wealth and some semblance of sustainable home security. The guest blog focuses on a variety of wealth creation strategies that all involve a shift in our understanding of what land and home ownership mean, with summaries of how community land trusts, resident owned communities, cooperative housing and other housing/land ownership models.  The post also includes a brief description of efforts to create a New Mexico State Public Bank with a video from the North Dakota Public Bank, the only public bank operating in the US and it has been in operation for almost 100 years–to the great benefit of North Dakotans.

Predatory Lending Preys on Working Families While Lobbyists Stall Efforts to Create Meaningful Reform

Thursday, Dec. 27.  Today we reprise a post done almost two years ago. It outlines the shameless practices of the predatory lending industry in NM and the heinous efforts of lobbyists and some legislators to do the lending industries bidding and throttle all efforts to regulate. The post updates the excellent work done by Meg Meltz in describing how predatory lending works and its impact.

Roundhouse Brief: Why We Oppose the Food Tax

Tuesday, Dec. 25. Every picture tells a tells a story (Rod Stewart) and in the post, three compelling graphics from New Mexico Voices for Children describe why the food tax being advanced by some fiscal conservatives (Dem and GOP) absolutely must not advance. We haven’t made a MUST KILL list of bills we will work to defeat, as yet, but we will and this will be near the top of the list. Read on to discover why. The New Mexico Voices for Children provide excellent analysis of all things fiscal and we will be sharing more of their work in future posts.  Click here to review the full post.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

P.S. In all due seriousness. Most everyone who reads this blog (over 2100 of you) are very concerned, you care. It is time to convert care and concern into active engagement and taking very seriously what may be our last shot at addressing climate change and creating something more than a me first, America first vision of what this country could be. Each of you have friends, each of you have at least some time. Please return tomorrow to find out more about what could be our future and how you can help us get there. Happy New Years. When you toast tonight, toast to a new world, a new future, a final chance. Let’s take a stand and save this place. It is too hallowed and magically balanced to give up. The Times They Are a Changin.’  Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “A Look Back and A Look Forward to 2019 and What Might Just Be Possible

  1. Pingback: New Mexicans Stream Home from Holidays, the Governor Sets Her Agenda. And We Set Ours | Retake Our Democracy

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