Siah Correa Hemphill Challenges Sen. Gabe Ramos in Senate District 28

Why We Support Siah Correa Hemphill
for Senate

Sen. Gabe Ramos was never elected to the NM State Senate; he was appointed by Governor Michele Lujan Grisham to replace Howie Morales, who won election as Lt. Governor. The Governor had no choice in her selection as she had to appoint someone nominated by the three county commissions that are represented by District 28, Socorro, Grant, and Catron counties. These commissions all selected Ramos as their only nominee.

To give you an idea of how happy the Governor is with Ramos representing Senate District 28, she has enthusiastically endorsed his primary challenger Siah Correa Hemphill. So does Retake Our Democracy.

Siah is unequivocal about her positions on a wide range of issues important to New Mexico.

In Relation to Education, Siah Supports:

  • Universal quality pre-k for all New Mexican children ages 3-5.
  • Expansion of after school programs.
  • Increases in teachers salaries.
  • Trauma-informed training for all public school teachers as part of their professional development.
  • Tuition-free college for New Mexico residents.
  • Career pathways vocational and technical training in our secondary schools.

In Relation to Healthcare, Siah Supports:

  • The NM Health Security Act,which would give all New Mexicans the same health coverage that state workers currently have.
  • A Medicaid Buy-in option for New Mexicans.
  • Developing training and incentive programs to address the shortage of health care providers in New Mexico.
  • Affordable and accessible reproductive health care for all.

In Relation to Economic Development & Job Growth, Siah Supports:

  • Renewable energy development wind and solar energy have great potential in New Mexico and are already growing fast. Renewable energy projects offer numerous, high-paying jobs while simultaneously helping us to transition off of fossil fuels. 
  • Expanding outdoor recreation opportunities and businesses.  It is no secret that the natural environment in Catron, Grant, and Socorro counties is a tremendous asset and can be a big draw for recreation and outdoor tourism.
  • Ensuring high-speed broadband internet access for all New Mexicans.  Clearly such access is fundamental not only to our educational system, but also to our businesses, including rural entrepreneurial enterprises as well as agriculture.
  • Facilitating our farmers’ and ranchers’ abilities to sell their food products locally within New Mexico as well as export them to out-of-state markets. This means, for example, taking steps that encourage institutions such as schools and hospitals to procure their food products from local producers.
  • Workers’ right to organize unions, and I oppose efforts to restrict that right. Unions are one of the principal ways that workers are able to insist on living wages and reasonable working conditions.

In Relation to Environmental Issues, Siah Supports:

  • Keeping San Augustin Plains ground water in the San Augustin Plains.
  • Using funds from the Arizona Water Settlements Act for local water infrastructure development and conservation projects rather than for diverting water from the Gila and San Francisco Rivers. 
  • Our Governor’s pledge for New Mexico to adhere to the goals of the Paris accords that seek to address the very real threat of global warming.

As you can see, there is a reason Siah Correa Hemphill has been endorsed by the following organizations and party leaders.

  • American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 18
  • Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters
  • Emily’s List
  • Rio Grande Chapter of Sierra Club
  • Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico
  • Progress Now
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Conservation Voters New Mexico
  • Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club
  • Working Families Party
  • Retake Our Democracy and
  • Over two hundred New Mexico educators
State Leaders
  • Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
  • U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich
  • U.S. Rep Deb Haaland

Why We Oppose Senator Gabe Ramos

Sen. Ramos does not have a lengthy history in the Senate, serving in only two legislative sessions. But in just two sessions, Gabe Ramos demonstrated that he will not vote for the clear priorities of his District 28 constituents and before coming to the Senate, his track record as a Grant County Commissioner demonstrated that his allegiance is more with the mining industry and other big business priorities than as a steward for his constituents and the environment. With just two years in the Senate, five key votes illustrate the Senator’s priorities.

In the 2019 Legislative Session Senator Gabriel Ramos, District 28, voted NO on the Senate Floor on:

  • HB 51 Decriminalize Abortion, the bill to rescind archaic 1969 legislation that makes it a felony for a woman to make her own decisions about reproductive healthcare;
  • SB 76 Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests, which passed and was signed into law in any case;
  • SB 8 Firearm Sale Background Checks, which passed and was signed into law anyway.

In 2020, Senator Ramos Voted No on the following bills:

  • SB 95 Radioactive Waste Consultation Task Force
  • SB 5 Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order

And then there’s the Gila River Diversion Project…

Far less known in other parts of the state are Senator Ramos’ longstanding efforts to fund and implement the Gila River diversion project, an initiative that is explicitly designed to secure water for local mining interests while destroying a treasured river. Voters outside Dist. 28 may not have followed the torturous ten-year effort to divert the river, but residents of Dist. 28 are passionate about protecting the Gila. For those who want an excellent briefing, NM Political Report did an historic review that extends back to 1916. Click here.

Retake Our Democracy visited Silver City twice in the last year to meet with local Democrats, and while there were concerns about bills like the Health Security Act, Coyote Killing Contests, and Decriminalizing Abortion, what really raised the hair on the back of their necks was the Gila River diversion effort. And when they spoke of it, inevitably Sen. Ramos’ name came up as a driving force behind the effort.

The Gila River is a water-way in Southwest New Mexico and is home to the Gila Trout and the threatened Louch Minnow. According to recent polling, more than 70 percent of New Mexicans support protection of the Gila River. It is the lifeblood of the nation’s first wilderness area. It is a recreational hotspot for fishing, swimming, rafting and so much more. It is a beautiful river, the last one free-flowing in New Mexico. The county commissioners of Grant County are attempting to pipe the river to Deming in Luna County. They have not even stopped to consider the environmental consequences.

After the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission voted in 2014 to build a diversion on the Gila River in the southwestern part of the state, responsibility for developing and managing the project was passed along to local governments in Luna, Grant, Hidalgo, and Grant counties. As County Commissioner for Grant County, Ramos played a central role in advancing the administrative, regulatory and funding efforts needed to implement the diversion.

In the 2019 session, Ramos Sen. Gabe Ramos joined two GOP Reps., Gail Armstrong and Rebecca Dow, and perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the House, Candie G. Sweetser, to introduce House Bill 373, which would have made the New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity a legal subdivision of the state. The bill would have given it broad powers to allocate water, set rates, issue revenue bonds, and condemn private property to build this ill-conceived diversion. People in District 28 couldn’t imagine a less trustworthy group to wield these powers in the public interest. If passed, the entity would have been able to advance the Gila diversion effort. It never reached either chamber floor. Also in 2019, the Governor line-item vetoed $1.7M in funding to support the Gila diversion effort.

Despite clearly lacking support from Democratic leadership, Ramos persisted. In the 2020 session, he sponsored SB 243, yet another effort to create the New Mexico Entity of the Central Arizona Project. This time the bill never budged from its first committee assignment.

Given the Governor’s steadfast opposition to the Gila Diversion and Ramos’ multiple failed attempts to revive it, it’s clear that the Democrats we met with in Silver City were right about Senator Gabe Ramos.

For all that is revealed above, Retake Our Democracy strongly endorses Siah Correa Hemphill for NM State Senate in District 28