Retake Endorses Leo Jaramillo Over Sen. Richard Martinez; Last Week’s Recap

Today, we recap last week’s posts and focus on our endorsement of Rio Arriba County Commissioner Leo Jaramillo over Senator Martinez Richard Martinez. We also reflect on a Covid-influenced Memorial Day.

First, we want to offer a brief tribute to all our veterans and to those who have perished from Covid.

Memorial Day Like No Other. There are records indicating that freed slaves initiated a day of annual remembrance a few years after the civil war, but Memorial Day was not declared a national holiday until 1971. Since then it has been a holiday where we honor and remember those who died in the line of duty, some of whom who have died defending our nation and some of whom have died in the service of American imperialism. In either case, they died heroically.

With deep respect for our fallen soldiers, today we’d also like to honor our recent fallen Americans: the nearly 100,000 Americans who have died from Covid, in addition to the heroic doctors and nurses, first responders, and the folks working in our markets, pharmacies, and other critical services who have risked their lives to make our lives more livable.

Tomorrow’s Zoominar: Solving the NM Budget Crisis

Tuesday, May 26, 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Conversation with NM Voices for Children About the NM State Budget Crisis with Amber Wallin, Deputy Director; Bill Jordan, Government Relations Officer; and Paige Knight, Research and Policy Analyst. Rep. Javier Martinez, chair of the House Tax & Revenue Committee, will also join the panel.

MLK Jr. said that “a budget is a moral document,” and New Mexico faces a budget crisis that will force difficult choices. We would like to see a strong economic justice lens focused squarely on each choice, but to advocate effectively for a budget requires an understanding of the choices.

On Tues., May 26, we will discuss the dire state of the NM state budget due to plummeting gas and oil prices and the economic impact of Covid-19 with some of the most informed people in NM. Central to the discussion will be how tax policy over several administrations has created a very regressive tax system by passing a series of tax giveaways that have starved the state of needed tax revenue. We will explore how the state can use federal relief funds, its “rainy day” fund, the Permanent Fund, and changes in tax policy to shore up our budget and avoid significant cuts to our safety net, health care, social services, early, and education systems. Most importantly we will offer suggestions for how you can effectively raise your voice. And that voice will most certainly be needed. Please share this Zoominar info and link with others. Click here to register.

Our Choice In Senate District 5:
Leo Jaramillo

Leo Jaramillo Challenges Sen. Richard Martinez
in Sen. District 5

Today, Retake Our Democracy announces its endorsement of Rio Arriba County Commissioner Leo Jaramillo who is challenging incumbent Senator Richard Martinez. A two-minute video on Jaramillo can be found at the bottom of this post.

Jaramillo’s Background

Jaramillo is a native son of the Española Valley and an alumnus of Española Valley High School. He has a B.A. in Mass Communication and Journalism from UNM and a Master of Arts in Education/ Curriculum Design and Instructional Leadership from the College of Santa Fe. He also served as a news writer/producer for KRQE News 13 in Albuquerque and as a middle school teacher in Belen prior to returning to the Española Valley.

Since 2003, he has been employed at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), where he has served as a professional staff assistant, communication specialist, training specialist, recruiter, financial analyst, and most recently, chief of staff/administrative officer.

Jaramillo was elected to the Rio Arriba County Commission (District 2) in 2019 and was elected by his fellow Commissioners to serve as the Commission Chairman on January 28, 2020.

As a County Commissioner, Jaramillo has focused on economic recovery, homelessness and housing issues.

Policy Priorities

Jaramillo’s policy priorities are outlined on his campaign website. Candidly, we would have preferred a bit more detail on his positions, but while lacking in specifics his positions do offer a sense of his values and priorities. Key priorities include:

  • Economic Recovery. Jaramillo feels we must provide a livable wage for workers, supporting and growing small business, and diversifying New Mexico’s economy to reduce reliance on income from the oil and gas industry.
  • Affordable Housing. Investments in housing create good-paying jobs, stimulate spending in the local economy, and increase state and local revenues. An adequate supply of affordable homes helps employees attract and retain qualified employees. 
  • Education. Jaramillo feels it is critical to increase funding for early pre-K, increase teacher salaries, and keep certified teachers in the classroom while also building a career pipeline for Education Assistants (EAs).
  • Mutual Domestic Water Systems & Acequias. Jaramillo would like to increase funding to the Office for the State Engineer 90/10 program for acequia infrastructure and revitalization. He feels it is time to fund a Rural Water Infrastructure Act like the Colonias Infrastructure Fund in the southern part of the state to provide needed sustained funding to rebuild the water systems in rural New Mexico.

Jaramillo’s Endorsements

Leo Jaramillo enjoys endorsements from:

  • Working Families Party
  • Planned Pareenthood
  • Olé
  • Sierra Club
  • Progress Now
  • Retake Our Democracy

While we feel that the choice between Supervisor Jaramillo and Senator Martinez was not as clear cut as our endorsements in the CD 3 Congressional primary or in the five other NM State Senate races where we endorsed a candidate, we gave the nod to Jaramillo in large part because of Martinez’s habit of voting with Republicans on a number of key bills. Let’s examine why we do not support or endorse Sen. Richard Martinez.

Why We Don’t Support Sen. Richard Martinez for Re-Election in Dist. 5

His Votes

Richard Martinez certainly has some good votes. He has also been a strong supporter of the Health Security Act. But he also has sided with the GOP on some very critical bills in the past two sessions. In 2020, Martinez voted NO on three Retake Our Democracy priority bills:

  • SB 2 Electric Vehicle Tax Credit
  • SB 95 Radioactive Waste Task Force (3 times)
  • SB 5 Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order

In 2019, he voted NO on:

  • HB 51 Decriminalize Abortion
  • SB 76 Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests
  • SB 492 Utility Securitization Financing

In 2017 he also voted NO on a bill that would have allowed individuals to manage their own end-of-life decisions, a bill that Retake has supported in the past.

Worker Co-Ops; Plus New Endorsements

Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Along with our endorsement of Neomi Martinez-Parra challenging Sen. John Arthur Smith, and Carrie Hamblen challenging Sen. Mary Kay Papen, we discuss how worker cooperatives offer a different way of organizing business, a way that benefits communities, benefits workers, benefits customers, and isn’t organized around profit. Click here to read the full post. Click here to review our endorsement statement for Neomi Martinez-Parra. Click here to review our endorsement statement for Carrie Hamblen.


Essential Workers vs. Essential Profit; Another Endorsement

Wednesday, May 20. We examine how Europe, Africa & South America are municipalizing entire industries into public services, bypassing corporate domination. We also give our endorsement of Pam Cordova over Sen. Clemente Sanchez. To read the post, click here. To read our endorsement of Pam Cordova, click here.


Endorsement of Siah Correa Hemphill; Protests Against Isolation Orders

Thursday, May 21. We’ve seen vile protests against isolation orders in Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, California, and other parts of the nation. Today we examine how this trend is manifesting in NM. Plus we endorse Siah Correa Hemphill. Click here to read the post on the protests in NM and click here to read the endorsement of Siah Correa Hemphill.


Retake Endorses Teresa Leger Fernandez in Congressional Dist. 3

Teresa Leger Fernandez (center)

Friday, May 22, 2020. A short post, offering info about Youth United for Climate Crisis Action’s (YUCCA) various election resources, outlining our reasons for endorsing Teresa Leger Fernandez, and closing with 13 minutes of Colbert. Click here to read the full post. Click here to read Teresa’s endorsement.


Retake Endorses Noreen Kelly Over Sen. George Muñoz in Sen. District 4

Noreen Kelly

Saturday, May 23, 2020. Noreen was late in entering the race and has the added challenge of running in a district being devastated by COVID. And yet, she is a true activist and would add a strong voice for justice in the Senate. Click here to read our endorsement of Noreen.

We also offer recommendations for several State House and Senate races, and some local commissioner races as well. Click here to review our recommendations.

Taken together, these votes show that Sen. Martinez is not interested in monitoring radioactive waste, protecting our wildlife, protecting all of us from gun violence (in 2010 he voted to allow concealed weapons in establishments serving alcohol), protecting our environment, and most importantly, protecting a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions or anyone to manage their own end-of-life decisions.

His Character

While not a decisive factor in our endorsement, Sen. Martinez’s 2019 DUI arrest certainly was a factor. DUI is a major problem in NM and we should expect more from our leaders. What was more of a factor than the arrest itself was the way he handled it. From the video of his arrest to his prolonged court appearances, his absence of remorse and his failure to apologize to the victims suggest a political leader who has lost his ethical compass.

We opted to endorse Leo Jaramillo in Senate District 5.

In Solidarity,
Paul and Roxanne



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1 reply

  1. I understand that Leo Jaramillo has publicly stated he will stand for women’s right to choose abortion.

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