The post includes a report on Thursday’s packed Roundhouse meeting and the launch of our Response Network. Joining the Network is your opportunity to be part of something extraordinary. No more 50th. With a Statewide Network advocating at the Roundhouse minimum wage increase, funding increase for early childhood, health security and more is possible: IF YOU JOIN & SHARE!
At the bottom of the post is information about Retake Our Democracy’s KSFR radio show airing at 8:30am today, a NM Money Out of Politics advocacy training later today, our next Roundhouse Advocacy Organizing meeting Jan 17, and links to other training and events in Santa Fe and throughout the state. But first, the launch of our Rapid Response Network.
Rapid Response Network Enables Effective Roundhouse Advocacy from Every Corner of the State
We have been 50th for too long; we’ve had leadership that has failed us for at least a decade. They’ve cut corporate and personal income taxes and created corporate giveaways that have depleted our revenue base and decimated our health and human service safety nets. And New Mexicans, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of them are suffering because of this.
We now have an opportunity to repair the damage, raise the minimum wage, create healthcare for all, implement a new child tax credit, make a just transition to renewable energy and protect our wildlife and land, invest in early childhood education and so much more. The words in this last sentence are just that: words. But passing those bills will make an absolutely incredible difference for so many vulnerable New Mexicans. To take just one example, 125,000 New Mexican children go to be hungry. And tens of thousands of caring parents put them to be at night and then go into kitchens that are empty of food. With a raised minimum wage, expanded, affordable early childhood education, and more affordable and better healthcare tens of thousands of NM families will be able to put their children to bed well-fed. Imagine the difference for those children and imagine the difference for those parents. I am lucky. I never once had to put one of my kids to bed hungry. I never once had to worry about them being homeless. But I can close my eyes and imagine that sense of dread. That is what the 2019 legislative session is about. And that is why Retake Our Democracy has developed a Statewide Rapid Response Network: to make life much much better for New Mexicans whose needs have been forsaken for the profit of the few.
Our Network has been two years in the planning and during the holidays, our IT team worked ceaselessly to finalize and test the Response Network system, while our Research Team poured over 300+ bills, sorting them, prioritizing them and summarizing them. On Thursday we tested Response Network system all day and then once more at our Advocacy meeting in the evening. It works and today we officially launch. We know of no other such finely tuned Alert system in the Nation. But for it to achieve its potential impact, we need people in every District in NM to JOIN and SHARE. We want to have an organized constituency in every Democratically controlled House and Senate District in NM. IN TWO WEEKS.
For those who haven’t been tracking this, two years ago Retake identified 50 bills that we had hoped a Democratically controlled Roundhouse would pass. We had no illusions about the bills being signed by Gov. Martinez, but we were stunned to find one good bill after another never even get to a floor vote. We needed to develop a more effective approach. Packing hearings with Santa Feans didn’t work.
Working with 20+ non-profit allies like Common Cause, NAACP, ACLU, and Planned Parenthood, we began to develop a legislative strategy that would result in more good bills being signed into law. From our allies we learned how good bills die in committee and how representatives from Ruidoso, Gallup, Farmington, Deming and Grants really are not terribly concerned about Santa Fe advocates, but do care dearly about their constituents. We knew that we could pack hearings with Santa Fe advocates. We’d done that, but we needed a strategy that would activate voter advocacy in districts throughout the state. Only that would result in our having leverage with legislators outside Santa Fe.
With this understanding and input from our allies, we began developing a set of 15-20 MUST PASS bills a manageable number of bills that we could monitor closely and effectively and a second larger set of PRIORITY Bills that we would summarize and share with members of our Network, providing guidance as to how they could track and provide input in support the bills which they cared about. The MUST PASS and Priority bills would be the focus of our advocacy.
At the same time, we set about creating a communication system that would allow us to send out Action Alerts to people living in communities too distant to make routine RH visits but who still care deeply about passing good bills. Our Rapid Response Network can now target action alerts to constituents whose legislator is about to vote on one of our bills in committee. Remember, that is where good bills die, so just prior to committee hearings is when committee members need to hear from their constituents.
Our alert system is designed to do just that. With advocates at the Roundhouse every day, we will know when a bill is going to committee before that is published on nmlegis.gov, the Roundhouse website. We will then send alerts to Network members whenever their legislator will be voting on one of our bills in that committee the next day. Alerts will include the bill #, title, sponsor, summary, speaking points and contact info for their legislator with a short note encouraging they call their legislator the next morning and send them an email letting him or her know that you support the bill.
We have learned that calls are what really get legislators’ attention. You won’t often talk to your legislator, but we are told that legislative staff keep close tabs on all calls. And they matter. Legislators are not accustomed to hearing from 20-30 constituents very often. When they begin to hear from a core group of informed, engaged constituents, they will pay attention. And if they don’t pay attention, we will send alerts to their constituents to ask for a Town Hall meeting the following weekend when the legislator returns home. Legislators do not like Town Halls with constituents who are upset with their votes. But that is democracy and our fundamental goal is to make it easier for everyone in the state to participate in the hub of New Mexico’s democracy: the Roundhouse.
While developing the Network, we have also recruited scores of Santa Feans interested in being the eyes and ears of our alert system, sitting in hearings where our bills are being heard and voted on and recording every vote, even voice votes and times when a legislator steps out of the room for a vote. This kind of information is not recorded, but these observers will make this information available about your legislators within a couple of hours of a hearing.
Together, the Statewide Rapid Response Network ensures that advocates will be in the hearing rooms where bills pass or fail and we will have a statewide Network of constituents whose voices will be heard by legislators at key moments in every bills movement to becoming a law. But for all of this work to translate into an effective advocacy system and to impact the legislators voting on these bills, we need you to JOIN AND SHARE. That is the anthem.
Your joining the Network will add one more voice to our chorus, but we need all of you joining to put on the hat of an activist, to think strategically for how you can multiply your impact by SHARING the link and your personal note encouraging friends, colleagues and others to join the Network. If you are part of a group, whether Indivisible, PDA, the Adelante Caucus, NM Money Out of Politics, a Ward, a faith group or your union, any connections you can identify. Sharing information where you have a personal connection whether with individuals or groups is how you can multiply your voice many times. And while many of you may feel timid about doing this. Look at what just one person at our Thursday meeting did on Friday. You can SHARE by just forwarding this post or use some of the language from the note that Sharon sent (below), but the important thing is to SHARE. Multiply your voice and help your friends become engaged.
Sharon lives in ABQ, but came to our meeting to see how she could help. She once lived in Las Cruces and was active in Progressive Voters of NM, a group of over 200 that has met monthly for over 10 years. She reached out to the Secretary of PVA who sent out the following note:
Finally New Mexico Progressives living far from the Roundhouse have a way to make sure politicians who talk the talk, walk the walk when they get to Roundhouse.
Within minutes of this note being sent, people began joining the Network from Las Cruces. That is the power of JOIN AND SHARE.
You can click here to join the Rapid Response Network. Once you go through the join process (it takes only 2-3 minutes), please do what Sharon did: Tell others. Lots of others.
JOIN AND SHARE that is how we Retake Our Democracy. That is how we put food on the table for hungry children. That is how we protect our land and water. Let’s Do This. Together.
Paul & Roxanne—events follow.
Retake Our Democracy on KSFR,101.1 FM. 8:30am Saturdays! On Dec. Jan 5, I will be speaking with Heather Ferguson from Common Cause, NM. On Jan 12, Paul Gibson will do a solo show previewing Retake Our Democracy’s legislative priorities and our Roundhouse Rapid Response Network. From November through March the Show will be focusing almost exclusively on Roundhouse process and bills throughout March. You can always listen to previous shows by podcast at KSFR.org go to the programs menu, scroll to podcasts and then scroll down to Retake Our Democracy. All our shows are listed there to listen to at your leisure. Recent shows include interviews with:
- Dana Millen, Communications Director for Health Security New Mexico,
- Camilla Feibelman, ED for the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club,
- Land Commissioner-elect Stephanie Garcia Richards and Emerge NM Executive Director Ashley Sanderson
- Amanda Viscoli from NM to Prevent Gun Violence; and
- An interview with Senator Peter Wirth and Speaker Brian Egolf.
NNMOP Legislative Lobbying Training. Saturday, Jan. 5, 1 to 3 pm. Santa Fe Public Library Main branch, 145 Washington Avenue. Please plan to attend, and RSVP. Please plan to attend the training. We have a great opportunity to strengthen democracy in New Mexico. The 2019 NM Legislative Session starting on January 15 looks to be very promising. However, your active participation is vital to insure NMMOP’s success in obtaining our goals in this legislative session. At this meeting we will review our legislative agenda and be offered training in how to advocate effectively at the Roundhouse. To RSVP write to Bruce Berlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, Jan. 17, 6pm-8pm at 1420 Cerrillos, The Center for Progress & Justice. Retake Our Democracy Roundhouse Advocacy Team Organizing & Training Meeting. The Roundhouse will have been open for 3 days. Many of you will now be back in town and wanting to get active. Orientation for new participants that have been recruited will be from 6-6:30 followed by Q&A and considerable time for small group planning focused on the role you want to play in our work. Please RSVP by writing to email@example.com. 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. View your donation as your ticket for admission to a new future. Let’s Do This!