Monday, June 09, 2008
Bill: It's Still Special, But It Won't Be Easy, Plus: Guv Preps For Obama, And: Tinsley: Home On The Range Or Not? It's All Next On Your Monday Blog
Lawmakers, their army of staffers and the hundreds of hangers-on who comprise a New Mexico legislative session will apparently have to keep their summer vacation plans on hold. Big Bill, despite the hope of a cancellation by some and the skepticism of others, says he is determined to call a special summer session of the Legislature to tackle the complicated issue of universal health care.
I’m going to call a special session...because I think it is the most important issue facing New Mexicans. The fact that there are...almost 25 percent...uninsured. Businesses are going bankrupt because they can’t insure their employees. So sometime this summer we are going to have a special session and we are going to try to find ways to cover everybody, for businesses to chip in, for there to be a health care authority of some kind and it’s a fundamental issue... I am determined to get universal health care for all New Mexicans.
In telling Lorene Mills of the Capitol Observer that a Special is still in the cards, the Guv starts a new round of speculation on just what will emerge. Is a comprehensive plan covering all New Mexicans possible? If the sessions starts to break down, would the Guv take a fig-leaf approach and be happy with some baby steps?
Out of the swimming pools, politicos. Big Bill's summer school starts soon.
The Guv is back in peripatetic mode, preparing for a special session and also seemingly preparing his application to be Obama's Secretary of State. At least that's the appearance his long overseas trip begun over the weekend gives. Yes, economic development chief Fred Mondragon has packed his bags and is trekking with Bill, but probably helping him carry his foreign policy briefing books more than anything else. Not that Richardson isn't capable of bringing something back home while he is running his covert campaign for the cabinet. If we do get anything, we'll gladly take it in this shaky economy. And if at the same time he keeps Obama happy, well, bully for him.
GIVE US A HAND
New Mexicans are decidedly nonpartisan when it comes to their little state getting its fair share of federal goodies. One look at the poverty rate around here and you see why we need D.C. dollars to continue flowing. If Bill ends up with Barack, we don't think he'll forget us. On the Republican side, if McCain takes the reins perhaps outgoing ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson will be whispering sweet nothings in his ear about our Land Of Enchantment. No, not that happy talk about her becoming Veep, but one of those big Pentagon deals, preferably where they have something to do with the budget and more precisely the New Mexico portion of it.
The political circuit had some chatter this weekend about the shake-up in the Air Force resulting from mishandling of nuclear weapons and whether Wilson might be considered as a replacement for one of the top posts now vacant. She was one of a number of political figures asked by the New York Times to comment on why Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign fell short. It was a "a latent and lamentable sexism." declared Wilson. A read of all of Wilson's comments raises the question of whether she is bitter over her narrow loss of the GOP US Senate primary. But as they say at a certain network, we report, you decide.
If NM House minority whip Dan Foley resigns his Roswell legislative seat, will the man who ousted him in last week's primary, retired FBI agent Dennis Kintigh, look to be appointed to fill out Foley's term? Don't bet on it. Foley, who was pounded on statewide TV by Kintigh, said after his defeat that he would give up his House seat early to give Kintigh the advantage of being an incumbent when he faces a Democrat in the November election. But Kintigh's allies aren't buying. They think Kintigh being appointed could undermine his credibility. Besides, the November election is a mere formality in the heavily R district. Kintigh will be able to take the seat without lingering questions about needing an appointment to help him. Whatever Foley's intentions, it appears Kintigh and company will pass on any appointment and let someone else fill out the months remaining in Foley's term, if indeed Foley resigns. And the way things have been in Roswell, nothing is certain.
Appearing Thursday on Bob Clark's KKOB-AM morning show, we talked about how congressmen from the southern district have been made in the southeast, pointing out that Steve Pearce is from Lea County and that the last Democrat to hold the seat--Harold Runnels for ten years until his death in '81--was also from there. We must have also said that Republican US Rep. Joe Skeen, now deceased, was from Lea because we received e-mail correcting us. If we said it, we didn't mean it. Skeen was from Lincoln County, not Lea. But our main point stands. Freshly minted southern Dem congressional nominee Harry Teague is from Lea County and has stronger ties to that vote-laden area than Republican Ed Tinsley. He has a ranch in Lincoln County, but has been bedeviled by the residency issue. It came up again this weekend in this AP piece.
Early in the campaign Tinsley said he could produce proof that shows he spends most of his time living at the ranch. Now, he says he spends over 90 percent of his time there, despite having a home in Santa Fe's upscale Las Campanas development. Tinsley also battled the residency issue when he unsuccessfully ran for the 2002 GOP nomination. A house he owned in ABQ was the issue then. No one is asking Teague to prove how much time he has spent in the district because there is no ambiguity about it.
Now that Tinsley has won the GOP nomination, the residency matter is not quite as potent, but it still has legs and Teague has the home court advantage, having the strongest ties to the area of the district that has produced the last three congressmen. The bottom line? Tinsley, a grade-A candidate for the R's, will have to spend time dealing with the carpetbagger issue to finally put it to rest.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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