Guest Blog: The Speech MLG Should Have Given to NMOGA

We turn the blog over to Lora Lucero who operates a blog and recently published this post: the speech she would have given to NMOGA had she been Governor. Plus the weekly opportunity to use your pen. Retake live on KSFR.

Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM, Saturdays, 8:30 am – 9 am.   This Saturday, October 19, I will be in studio from 8am-9am first helping with the fund drive during the Richard Wolff show from 8-8:30 and then doing a solo show, unless my surprise guest comes through, and will be talking about the 2020 legislative session, produced water, the impeachment process and other local-state issues. 

Please support the KSFR fund drive and make a donation during the Retake show between 8:30am-9am TODAY!!! Saturday. Call 428-1393 to make a donation.

Fracking Tour of Greater Chaco Canyon

Fracking Tour of the Greater Chaco Canyon Area, Sunday October 27, 9:15am-4:00pm. This is the tour that Roxanne and I went on last month. The tour is being conducted solely for Retake Our Democracy supporters. It will be hosted by Daniel Tso and Samuel Sage, elders, leaders and advocates of the Navajo Nation.

The start time is from the Counselor Chapter House, 2 hours and 15 minutes from Santa Fe. A caravan will assemble at 6:45am at Starbuck’s at 4960 Promenade Blvd, Santa Fe, NM 87507, a short jump to I-25. We will depart promptly at 7am with a projected arrival back in Santa Fe of 6pm. There are no long hikes or treacherous paths. It is a car tour with 6-7 stops at various fracking sites.

This is an extraordinary tour that will give a very intimate and powerful understanding of what a sacrifice zone really is, not from dry statistics but from personal stories told at one fracking site after another. You will have a changed view of what we are doing to our land, our air, our water and our people, a view that could not possibly be achieved no matter how much you read. We have a very limited number of slots remaining.

The only way to attend is to RSVP by writing to us ant When you RSVP please provide your name and the names and email addresses of anyone else in your party. We will be sending more information as we near the tour date.

We will also be asking that you bring a check for $50 or more made out to Dine C.A.R.E. This is the Navajo advocacy group that leads the efforts to protect the Greater Chaco Canyon Community. For more information on the tour, click here to read our blog on the experience.

2020 Legislative Session Preview

Panel discussion of what might be introduced in 2020 and how you can lobby effectively.

How to successfully advocate for the issues you believe in! Tuesday, Oct. 29, 6:30 pm- 8:30 pm, Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe.  Retake Our Democracy will host a panel discussion with nonprofit advocacy experts to help prepare you for the 2020 Legislative Session. Panelists include:

  • Bill Jordan, Government Relations Officer, NM Voices for Children
  • Mary Feldblum, Executive Director, Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign
  • Paul Haidle, JD, Senior Policy Strategist, A.C.L.U.
  • Elaine Sullivan, Board President, Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity (public banking)
  • Fred Nathan, Executive Director, Think New Mexico

Moderator, Paul Gibson, Co-Founder, Retake Our Democracy

Discussion will focus on policies related to child welfare, healthcare, civil rights, abortion decriminalization, public banking, tuition-free college, early childhood funding, and how grassroots advocates can best support their legislative priorities. RSVP by Oct 28 to Panel will be live-streamed via the Retake Our Democracy Facebook page. For more details and to RSVP on Facebook, click here.


Monday, October 21, 7pm Unitarian Universalist, 107 W Barcelona, Santa Fe “Even if we cut emissions to zero, if we continue to degrade the organs of Gaia – the forests, wetlands, soil, water, whales, fish – then the Earth will still die a death of a million cuts.” In this gathering, Charles Eisenstein draws out the profound implications of the Living Planet paradigm. He will discuss the limits of carbon accountancy, offering a holistic alternative that vastly broadens the scope of urgency, action, and hope. Shall we participate in a living Earth or a dying Earth? “When we participate in a living Earth, miracles of healing are possible. For we too are an organ of Gaia.”

The Pen Is Mightier than the Sword

We offer these writing prompts as opportunities to provoke your thinking and help you organize those thoughts. Hopefully, you will share your writing with a friend or family member, in social media, and/or in the newspaper. Another thought, would be to keep the prompts and your responses in a journal that maybe someday you can share with children and/or grand kids. If you do submit to the newspaper, most of the dailies limit the number of words. For advice on writing a letter to the editor and for submission rules for the ten largest dailies in NM, click here. And if you do write to the newspaper, please add Retake Our Democracy under your name….helps to get the word out.

Writing Prompt I: What do you see as the greatest impediment to addressing climate change and/or the increasing wealth gap in the world, U.S. and or New Mexico?

Writing Prompt II: What gives you hope that the climate crisis can at least be mitigated and/or the wealth gap significantly reduced?

What One Retake Reader Would Have Said If She Were Governor

A Guest Blog from Lora Lucero

While New Mexico teens are urging the Governor to declare a climate emergency and to  set aside state income from the oil and gas industries to pay for the transition to an economy without greenhouse gas emissions, Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham is meeting with oil & gas tycoons to deliver a message of collaboration. Not a word about climate disruption.

Cognitive dissonance or shrewd political calculation? In either case, it’s a deadly mistake.

Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham

If I was the Governor’s speechwriter, here’s what I would have given her for that audience.   (Her actual speech is reprinted at the end of this blog post.)

“Thank you for inviting me. This is an important gathering and I value the opportunity to speak with you about the serious challenges facing our state, and how we can work together to address them. In this hyper-polarized environment that we find ourselves in this country today, I want to reassure you that my door is always open to you.

I know you want to hear the bottom line from me, what I’m concerned about and what I plan to do, not political posturing to win your vote. 

I know your bottom line is making a profit for your shareholders, making a good living for those engaged in your industry, and providing a sustainable future for the industry.

My bottom line is being a responsible steward of our resources for future generations, my shareholders, and setting us on a path towards a sustainable future for my family and yours.

Our state is at a critical crossroads, and I’m either lucky or jinxed to be the Governor at this point in time.  There’s no denying the fact that climate disruption is bearing down upon us, and the window of opportunity to address this freight train is rapidly closing.

The scientists have been warning us for fifty years or more about the rising carbon dioxide levels, but we had time back then for further research and study. The timeline of our actions and inaction over the past half century to address the rising CO2 levels is brutally honest. It hasn’t been convenient to find solutions or make serious changes when, in hindsight, it certainly would have been easier and cheaper to do so.

I’m pleased that national leaders in your field (oil, coal and gas) recognize the urgency of addressing the impacts of climate disruption. They recognize that climate change is occurring, and that human activity, including the use of fossil fuels, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

New Mexico is blessed with the brains and the scientific labs that have been studying climate change for decades.  I’m thankful the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Sandia National Laboratories are at the forefront of studying climate impacts, and potential adaptation and mitigation measures. They are designing new technology which has the potential to make a profound difference in the livability of our planet for future generations. New Mexico needs to reap the benefits of transitioning this research from the laboratory to the factory and create hundreds, maybe thousands of new jobs for New Mexicans.

I’m a straight shooter.  There’s no arguing with science, and no alternative exists but to transition away from business as usual and away from our reliance on fossil fuels, and towards renewable energy.

But before you blow a gasket — hear me out.

This transition must happen quickly and I know it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt the industry. It’s going to hurt the state budget. It’s going to hurt every New Mexican. I acknowledge that with great trepidation.

If we had owned up to this reality 20 years ago, I suspect the hurt might not be so great.  Sadly, we did not. And if we don’t own up to our responsibility at this critical moment now, I’m convinced that we’re condemning our children to a very difficult life, and their children to an uninhabitable planet in the future.

The symbiotic relationship between the state and your industry has grown very tight over the years. We’ve worked together, and I hope we will continue to work together to ease the transition for both of us.

Here are some ideas to think about:

I want your families and employees who are currently working in the oil & gas industry to be at the front of the line when opportunities for retraining open up in renewable technologies.  And I want them to fill those new jobs when they come online.

I want you to be role models for the industry and show the rest of the country and the world how we can plan for this transition thoughtfully, without rhetoric or recrimination. Working together, we can forge a creative alliance that reaps untold benefits for all of us —- a win, win, win.  I need your experience and advice at the table.

I plan to enact a moratorium on fracking on lands within the jurisdiction of the state. I’m well aware of both the benefits and costs of fracking, but the health and environmental impacts of fracking concern me.  This moratorium will allow time for reasonable and informed debate at the Legislature about whether a permanent ban is warranted or what type of regulations might be appropriate to mitigate the impacts of fracking. I want the industry, the scientists, and the general public engaged in that discussion.

My bottom line — New Mexico’s future generations require that we act now. I can’t kick this ball down the road. NIMTOO — Not In My Term of Office — is no longer an option.

Thank you.

And thank you, Lora Lucero for this alternative view on what could have been had the Governor taken a different path. But while it is important to continue to press the Governor to change course on the climate crisis and align more strongly with the environmental movement and distance herself from NMOGA, it is important to keep in mind, that this is a Governor who has some very good political and social justice instincts. In just one year she has shored up our education system, fought hard for more funding for early childhood, and signed a raft of bills promoting legislative ethics, election and voting reform, gun violence prevention, and tax reform. So she is someone who can be influenced and who could head in a different direction on climate issues if the political composition of the NM State Senate is such that climate action bills could actually get to her desk.

All the more reason you should attend the panel described above, learn more about how the legislative process works and get involved. And as soon as the session is over, we’ll be on a mission to change the composition of the Senate to create a more responsive legislative environment for social, economic, racial and climate justice.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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5 replies

  1. The very honest, reasoned, principled, and knowledgeable leadership this speech to NMOG would have demonstrated is exactly what this State and its citizens are searching for. Excellent to see this in print. Any chance of it being aired?

    I was unable to find the text of MLG’s delivered speech at the end. Possibly my non-tech skills, but wanted to give you that feedback.

  2. Did Lori lucero send her letter to the governor and to my view at the New Mexican? Please Ask her to if she hasn’t.

  3. A speech like that would have been nice, however, that is not what happened. The oil and gas industry has framed anyone that questions a fracking rig in their backyard as an “extremist.” They have undermined our democracy, attacked any science, and continue to mislead the public. They had 8 years of a state administration, that allowed them to run amok. Now they are taking advantage of the corruption in DC, the political division, and to undermine laws, avoid regulations,

    The lack of water is the limiting factor to fracking in New Mexico, and many other places on our planet. The “produced water” false narrative, it is not a problem anymore, it has been re-framed as a “resource.” Toxic fracking waste, salt water, a mix of hydrocarbons, proprietary chemicals, and oil are rebranded. Now we can all call it produced water. They do have the cleverest propagandist that money can buy, and a media that will parrot any jingle they come up with.

    The industry has been working on this problem for years,

    This is from 2013,

    The winter before last we had winter fire season, no snow on the mountains, and the woods were tinder dry with the possibility of a fire in the winter. Local Acequias ran dry that spring, meaning local farmers could not irrigate. In New Mexico, due to the lack of water, we are in a precarious situation due to Global Warming. No amount of science, “innovation” or thinking good thoughts, will mitigate the lack of water. A bit of snow this year, and some rain, was hyped as an end to the 20 year drought. All it took was a little precipitation to further the denial.

    The ongoing gold rush to extract oil, should be taken in the global context. Oil and Gas in New Mexico is profitable, due to a confluence of global events, and a corrupt administration, bowing to Saudi Arabia, and the chaos, death and destruction in the Middle east and North Africa. The very same people who grouse at tax payer funding of social programs, leave out the massive federal subsidies the oil and gas industry receives. Due to the lack of transparency and outright corruption, in the trump administration in, the public has no way to know how much the oil and gas industry is being subsidized.

  4. Here we go! Perhaps they will use science to determine what to do with the waste from fracking. The heavy lifting has been done, with public perception. A liability is re-framed as a “resource.” The facts really don’t matter, all they have to do is manipulate public opinion. The industry worked long and hard on this one. In New Mexico, water is particular precious, so they had to re-frame the conversation.

    “The potential to turn wastewater from the oil industry into a resource has sparked conversation in arid New Mexico.” They don’t have to fool everyone, just enough people will believe that fracking waste is a positive thing. Desalination is expensive, and when these proprietary chemicals, and oil are mixed in, it is even more complicated. Enough of the “greening of the desert” magical thinking will help the industry improve it’s image and allow denial of the serious environmental issues. It is positively Orwellian.

    Drawing down these aquifers, or what is left of them will have serious consequences, especially with Global Warming, drought and desertification. The few springs and seeps that supported wildlife, and allowed the limited agriculture in the area will dry up, or be replaced with deadly saline water. The industry has been pre-empting laws and regulations, while attacking science and credibility. The industry and their paid lobbyists eviscerated the BLM, with years of targeted under-funding, like they did with other agencies. Back in 2004, GW stated he was going to “run the BLM, like a business.”

    These industries do not play fair, nor do they comply with any semblance of human decency. They helped drive the divide in this country, because it was profitable. Protest is illegal, and highly discouraged, and can be dangerous like we saw with the DAPL Pipeline. We saw the full ugliness and intentions of the industry on display. Private mercenaries, and militarized police, attacked peaceful protestors. The industry has gotten away with a lot worse overseas. Here in New Mexico, all they have to do is donate a little of their proceeds to get plenty of free advertising and public relations.

  5. “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”

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