A Heartfelt Thank You, Plus a Reprise of a Week of Political Maneuvering, Exposés, and Action Alerts

Today we thank the many scores of you who were part of the Roundhouse Advocacy effort.  The relationships formed in this work is what will help us continue our efforts to achieve justice in NM. As usual, on Mondays we include a reprise of the week’s posts exposing shocking backdoor Roundhouse deals & serious threats to our enviro.

Our reprise of last week includes backroom maneuvering at local, state and national levels with continuing action alerts on legislation that needs signing or line item vetoes. If you have not taken the time to call and write the Governor, one post below makes it very easy. At the very end of the post after the lists of incredible volunteers, we provide a video from the really tremendous Towards Co-operative Commonwealth: Transition In a Perilous Century, an eight week online course that is not at all what I expected. Instead of a long video lecture and a ton of lengthy research pieces, each module is comprised of a series of powerful and insightful videos that together tell a very compelling story.  Click here to find out more about this tremendous course and you will find a link to sign up, . I’ve been so busy, I have yet to figure out how to launch our NM collaboration page, but will get to that soon. In the meantime, to those who’ve signed up, forge on to Module 2. For those who would like to enroll now, it will be easy to catch up. But Retake will also include brief videos and analysis on a regular basis in the blog.

Doughnut Economics:  The video at the end of the post does a tremendous job of outlining the economics involved in our current economic and climate crises and the urgent need to live more within our means. It is an extraordinarily clear video that is organized around a single graphic that puts in one place many of the moving parts that have contributed to economic inequity and climate disruption while pointing to the obvious, though difficult solutions.

1 celebrateThursday, April 18, 5:30pm-7:15 pm, Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, Santa Fe. Please note the slight modification in time.  We were contacted by the Sunrise Movement in Santa Fe as they were trying to organize a Green New Deal Town Hall with Rep. Deb Haaland and the only day she could make it in the near future was on April 18.  So we made some adjustments in the timing will integrate both events, with Retake’s Celebration and Volunteer Appreciation from 5:30-7:15 pm and the Sunrise Movement Town Hall with Rep. Haaland at 7:30.

Please RSVP by writing to Paul at Paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org. While the event is FREE, an RSVP is required by April. 16.  Sooner is better. Much better.  We are ordering salad and pizza and need to prepare sufficient tables with table cloths and china (ok, no china), but we do ask that you bring your own implements for eating and drinking and the event is BYOB with wine and beer permitted.  Join us!!!

Many of you who receive the Network Alerts, will have also received our Thank You note below, but given the scope and depth of our volunteer effort, you simply can’t say thank you enough and we wanted to be sure everyone was thanked and those who were not involved except distantly recognize how many people worked so hard.  Onward.


Thank You

As many of you know, Retake is an all-volunteer organization that works well only when enough dedicated, reliable volunteers show up to do the work. There were so many volunteers who did amazing work before and during the 2019 legislative session, and we want to try to thank them all here. The problem with naming names is that we’re bound to leave someone off. Our apologies in advance if you or someone you know volunteered and you don’t see your/their names below. Please let us know and we’ll be happy to give you credit in another note.

We regret not being able to name everyone who advocated, made phone calls, wrote emails, and showed up to speak at hearings. That is literally hundreds of people across the state. And we are extremely grateful to all of you who made this session an exercise in true democracy––well, at least a little closer to true democracy!

The Roundhouse Legislative Session is a unique, whirlwind experience. Many volunteers were meeting to prepare for the session months in advance. From the time bills began to be pre-filed on December 17, through the opening day session on January 15, and then throughout the 60-day session, it is impossible to describe the frantic pace at which the work was done, and with so many moving parts. Truly, we were building the plane while flying it. None of this would have been possible without all of those listed below, and so many others who advocated here in Santa Fe and from communities across New Mexico. Bear with us, as we present a list that is nearly movie-credit in length. This is what it takes to make democracy work!

Nation Builder IT Team

We used the Nation Builder platform to create our Rapid Response Network website, organize our volunteers, and send out alerts statewide. This team began work on the platform in spring 2018 and made adjustments throughout the session:

  • Saraswati Khalsa
  • Meg Meltz
  • Michael Sperberg-McQueen

Research Team

The Research Team developed criteria to screen and organize bills, screening most every bill introduced and assigning them to issue-defined teams. They then reviewed bills and wrote summaries that were transformed into advocate speaking points and given to legislators hearing the bills. Throughout the session, the team also reviewed and advised on amendments and new bills introduced late in session.

Research Coordinator: David Thompson coordinated the work of the Research Team and served on the Leadership Team, facilitating communication between researchers and leadership. He also worked as a bill researcher himself.

Research IT: Greg Sonnenfeld developed a platform that greatly facilitated and simplified the work of the research team. He also provided technical training to the researchers and worked as a researcher himself.

  • John Bingham
  • Joyce Bogosian
  • Daniel Borrero
  • Meg Brauckmann
  • Ham Brown
  • Katie Bruell
  • Linda Burchfiel
  • Richard Currie
  • Herb Faling
  • Nicole Finch
  • Nancy Gilkyson
  • Virginia Hernandez
  • Richard Jennings
  • Tom Johnson
  • Deborah Knapp
  • Consuelo Luz
  • Lucinda Lynch
  • Gloria Martinez
  • Susan McGrew
  • Steve McIlree
  • Erin Middleton
  • John Otter
  • Jim Plewa
  • Dan Potter
  • Robyn Richards
  • Laura Riedel
  • Patty Romero
  • Steven Rudnick
  • Emile Sawyer
  • Diane Shifrin
  • Michael Sperberg-McQueen
  • Maria Spray
  • Billy Stern
  • James Stewart
  • Stephen Thies
  • Sharon Thomas
  •  David Thompson

Ally Liaison Team

Throughout the session this team communicated with over 25 advocacy allies (e.g. Common Cause, Planned Parenthood, NM Voices for Children) to receive guidance and information about bill status, advocacy strategy, priorities, and input on amendments.

Ally Liaison Coordinator:  Lynne Fischer coordinated the Ally Liaison Team and served on the Leadership Team, facilitating communication between the Liaisons and Leadership Team. She also worked as an ally liaison herself.

Ally Liaisons

  • Marissa Bingham 
  • Barbara Conroy
  • Nancy Cushing
  • Jean Darling
  • Lucy Lynch
  • Bob MacPherson
  • Susan McGrew
  • Meg Meltz
  • Allan Sindelar
  • David Thompson

Roundhouse Coordinator Team

Roundhouse Coordinator Manager: Susan McGrew managed our Roundhouse Coordinators on a daily basis, nearly every day of the session. She helped with pre-session planning and then during the session tracked hearing schedules, alerted and guided coordinators, worked as a coordinator herself, and was at the Roundhouse more often than any of us (except maybe Paul ;-). Susan was truly the star of our hearing advocacy efforts.

Roundhouse Coordinators arrived early to hearings to pass out talking points and buttons and to organize advocates to speak in support of our must-pass bills and take detailed notes about hearing proceedings. Some showed up several days a week! Some spent entire days there. There are several troopers on this list. We couldn’t have done it without them:

  • Robert Baroody
  • Linda Burchfiel
  • Greg Corning
  • Lynne Fischer
  • Loretta King
  • Alston Lundgren
  • Lucinda Lynch
  • Mary MacKenzie
  • Karen Nelson
  • Patricia Pearce
  • Jim Plewa
  • Kathleen Savage
  • Joan Sickler
  • Michael Sperberg-McQueen
  • David Thompson
  • Diana Trujillo

The Outreach Team made calls statewide to engage and activate potential advocates:

  • Patrick Gendron
  • John House
  • Rick Lass
  • Marjorie Luckey
  • Peter McCarthy
  • Lauren Meikeljohn
  • Coreen Plewa
  • Ursula Shepherd
  • Jeff Silesky                                                                                                      
  • Diana Thatcher
  • Elizabeth West
  • Chrysla Wikstrom

Roundhouse Advocates 

There are many more who showed up for hearings over and over again, but below are some we can name who we know showed up to represent Retake Our Democracy. NOTE: Most of the volunteers named on the teams above also were there to advocate, but to save space here we name only those volunteers who aren’t already acknowledged above:

  • Joni Arends
  • Bruce Berlin
  • Elizabeth Dunham
  • Lee Goodwin
  • Jade Gordon
  • Gabe Hanson
  • Cristy Holden
  • Heather Karlson
  • Judy Klinger
  • Jay Levine
  • Craig O’Hare
  • Sharla Parsons
  • Sharon Potter
  • Dan Pritchard
  • Elizabeth Romero
  • Sandra Schroeder
  • Sharon Shoemaker
  • Elaine Sullivan
  • Rainy Upton
  • Joyce Victor

Rapid Response Network Advocates

Not everyone can come to the Roundhouse, but so many of you still care deeply about justice and progressive values. Because of the groundwork of all the volunteers above, and because of your passion and commitment, over 1,300 of you advocated from home. You made your voices heard!

Pre-Session Advice and Other Contributions.  Many thanks to the efforts of: Andy Fertal (video) and Tom Leatherwood, and Clifford Rees (training and consultation on Roundhouse operations)

Retake Leadership Team: Enormous gratitude goes to our core leadership team of Lynne Fischer, Saraswati Khalsa, and David Thompson who (along with Paul and Roxanne) put in hundreds of hours over the last year preparing for this session – planning, organizing, developing strategy and materials, and far too many other diverse areas of work to list here.

Roundhouse Advocacy Team

The Roundhouse Advocacy Team  (or RAT Pack) has been working diligently on Retake’s roundhouse advocacy strategy for more than two years. The RAT Pack, as we called ourselves, formed around March of 2017, after a rag-tag bunch of volunteer advocates, mostly new to the process, worked largely under the coordination of David Thompson during the 2017 Session.  We did the best we could, but we realized we had a good deal to learn. And so, from March 2017 through December 2018, the RAT Pack met twice monthly, making calls to ally organizations like ACLU and New Mexicans for Health Security to learn about the inner workings of the Roundhouse.

From these conversations with allies we learned how committees work and how good bills die, and we advocated during the short 2018 session. Working with our environmental allies that year, our crowning achievement was to kill the PNM bailout securitization bill. It was a year for defense.

In March 2018, we developed a list of priority bills that we had previously supported but that had died in committee, had never been heard, or were vetoed by the Governor. We developed an online survey that we distributed statewide, obtaining responses from 1,300 folks. We gathered respondents’ contact info as well as their State House and Senate addresses. This was the beginning of the Statewide Rapid Response Network.

The team developed our Nation Builder platform that houses advocacy tools and our Must-Pass and Priority bill summaries. It also houses the database of Network members.  The work the RAT Pack did over a two-year period resulted in strong relationships with allies and a growing understanding of what was needed to pass good bills. All of us are truly standing on their shoulders, just as they are standing on the shoulders of the allies who taught us the ropes.

Thank you, RAT Pack:

  • Linda Birchfiel
  • Greg Corning
  • Ellen Derman
  • Lynne Fischer
  • Paul Gibson
  • Lee Goodwin
  • Gabe Hanson
  • Kathryn Hurn
  • Saraswati Khalsa
  • Meg Meltz
  • Michael Sperberg-McQueen

The two of us, Paul and Roxanne, are happy to have devoted a large part of the last 2.5 years of our lives to Retake Our Democracy, having roles in all of the work described above. But this note isn’t about us, it’s about our appreciation for all of you who have given life to Retake and begun to make a difference in our state. The work isn’t over. Stayed tuned for the next phase of what is a long-term project. Thank you all!

In solidarity,

Roxanne and Paul

A Week of Action Alerts, Shocking Exposés & Political Maneuvering….With More Coming This Week 

Democratic National Committee Tilting the Scales Again & Ruminations on Udall and Implications for NM

In the past, if you dared challenge a Democrat in a primary, Party leadership would subtly undermine that effort. Now it is no longer subtle, as the DNC announced an explicit policy punishing those who oppose centrist Dems. This post addresses the National Party and then ties it back to the Democratic Party of New Mexico as relates to Udall and the Roundhouse. Click here to read the full post.

Urgent Action Alerts. Call the Governor About Seed Sovereignty, Use of Toxic Fracked Water, and Decriminalization of Marijuana

There are STILL four bills sitting on the Governor’s desk (so keep calling and emailing). For two we want her to sign them as is, two others require line item vetoes of parts of each bill.  In one call, you can raise your voice on all four critical bills. Speaking points provided. Also, a BLM sit in protesting sale of 11,000 acres in Greater Chaco and as a reward. 3 Minute video of AOC telling the truth about climate change. Click here to read the full post. It has links to more detailed

Last Minute (literally) Roundhouse Backroom Deals Betray Transparency and Public Trust:  This is a VERY Big Deal

Today, more on bills on the Governor’s desk that need your voice, plus a brief discussion of how the industry lobbyists get their way in the dead of night, undermining good bills and in the end, destroying public confidence in the legislative process. We also offer short pieces from two ABQ Journal contributors and our own Mick Nickel. Not a pretty picture. Click here to read this post. It is the most important post we published this week and is a prelude to more on this kind of entirely deceptive lawmaking that circumvents scrutiny and betrays the public. One of our researchers, Laura Riedel, did some tremendous analysis of HB 6 and found still more to be concerned about, so look for more on this in future posts and in even more depth in our Report Card.

Colorado Legislature Stands Up to Gas & Oil, Transparency Issue in Santa Fe, and an Apology from Paul

The Colorado Senate approved a bill to strongly regulate gas & oil, sending their lobbyists into a tizzy. “Gas & Oil will be driven from the state…” Heard that anywhere else?  The Roundhouse? We also present info on how the Santa Fe City Attorney wants to review procurement bids without public scrutiny breaking a long-held practice of transparency.Click here to read the full post.  It is worth noting, that in response to emails voicing concerns about Santa Fe’s change in policy related to release of procurement bid contents, we received a response from Mayor Webber indicating that the change in policy was created to adhere to state law and to protect proprietary information of bidders. We are going to explore this more deeply, but for now are recommending holding off on future contacts to city councilors or the Mayor.

Doughnut Economics:  In One Video A Whole Lotta Pieces Assembled to Tell a Very Clear Story

Categories: Climate Change, Agriculture, Land Use & Wildlife, Local-State Government & Legislation

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