Traversing the sleet impaired streets of ABQ's NE Heights last night, I found myself seeking shelter and female companionship. What to do? No, not that. But I did turn into a jammed cul de sac and slipped into the packed Christmas party of GOP State Senator Diane Snyder. Before I could say "Big Bill," I was embedded in Diane's homey kitchen with a bevy of NM's top female political power players. Life could be worse.
The atmosphere wasn't hurt by the fact that Snyder was also celebrating her senate re-election victory over a candidate backed by the Guv. This group of gals know how to play as well as party.
Ann Conway, outgoing Prez of the ABQ Bar Association and lobbyist for insurance concerns, told us her battle will continue in the January legislature. The already petite attorney joked: "I've lost four inches after being hammered the past few years by the trial lawyers." Get ready for more Ann. Lawyers Michael Sanchez and Kenny Martinez are your new playmates.
I doubt if she will get much help from ABQ liberal Dem North Valley State Senator Dede Feldman, but Dede nodded with understanding at Ann's tale, perhaps recalling her own battles with the D leadership when she asserted her independence as she often does.
ABQ City Councilor Tina Cummins won't have to assert, never mind exert, to get re-elected to her far NE Heights seat. I chatted her up over a batch of barbecued meatballs and was told not to count her out, as many are, from another council bid. Tina is not happy that she can't get much passed thru the lean-liberal council, but her district has always liked a conservative voice that says no. So why not say yes to another go?
Tina's twin, ABQ Councilor Sally Mayer, was also in on the kitchen klatch. She has two opponents for 05', but neither is well-known and if Sally gets in a run-off with the Dem she is a near-sure winner, so let it snow.
Veteran ABQ attorney Dave Campbell, who has dabbled in politics, ruled out any run for mayor in 05.' But he did have news of a long ago 'His Honor.' He reported Louis Saavedra, ABQ Alcalde from 89-93, is enjoying life "playing golf and being with his grandchildren." Campbell is the go-to guy for the business A list dealing with City Hall. His wife, Shelly, is noticeably more stable and leads Comanche Elementary School where former NM resident and Arizona Guv Napolitano helped celebrate the schools 40th anniversary last year.
After doing the dishing in the kitchen, we headed into the far reaches of the Snyder spread where even more lady politicos were holding court. State Rep-elect Kathy McCoy of the East Mountains, worried about fire danger, will work on legislation to address the concern. But I told her the real danger for a newly elected female legislator is single State Senator James Taylor. I think she appreciated the tip.
Also newly elected to the state house and partying on was young Justine Fox-Young, but I did not recognize her, having only argued with her via e mail the past year. But bigger thrills await her as she faces off with Big Bill. Oh well, can't we still be friends?
Moving on, I convinced Carol Wight, top exec at the NM Restaurant Association, to join me in filling her plate at the buffet so as to not make me stand out as the free food moocher I am. Freshly refueled, I slipped into the testosterone section where State Senators Kent Cravens, Joe Carraro and Bill Payne held forth, along with State Rep-elect Jimmie Hall who is taking over Rory Ogle's house seat and lobbyist Bruce Donisthorpe.
Senator Payne told me he was happy just because he had stayed off this blog for a year. Well, all good things must end Bill.
As must our trip around the political party circuit.
As I stepped back into snowy climes of our big city last night I thought of all that I learned this holiday season. One thing stood out. When entertaining politicos, always put the expensive booze on display in a back room where it's hard to get at. Ah, La Politica. The gift that keeps on giving.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2004
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