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Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Mailbag: Readers Weigh In On Santa Fe Abortion Storm, The Race For Dem Party Chair, The Economy And The UNM Lobos 

Rep. Cathrynn Brown
Let's head to the email bag to close out the week....

And it came in hot and heavy when an unknown Republican state representative from Carlsbad won her 15 minutes of fame (or infamy) when she introduced a bill that was widely interpreted as forbidding rape victims to get an abortion because a fetus is "evidence" in a potential criminal case.

The story went viral with most comments echoing this one from reader Jason Libersky:

Another "awesome" moment for New Mexico! Exhibit A: A bill to force victims to carry a fetus to term for use as evidence...

Well, the proverbial political firestorm broke out and Rep. Cathrynn Brown, an attorney from Carlsbad, was soon backtracking although not before inflicting more damage to the GOP brand. Not that they need any more as the party remains top heavy with men.

(She) said her intent was not to charge rape victims with a felony if they terminated their pregnancy. Brown said her bill was badly drafted and that she did not catch the language problems when reviewing it. "I missed this one." She said. 

State Dems hammered Brown and 9 GOP co-sponsors of the bill, flooding their districts with 20,000 phone calls and hammering at it all day via news releases and social media.

Two of the GOP co-sponsors of the abortion bill are from potential swing districts and could pay a political price in '14. Sharon Clahchischilliage from the Four Corners and Kelly Fajardo from Valencia County--both just elected to two year terms in November.

The heat got so hot under Brown that her email address was taken down from her official state web site. And then there was her Facebook page. You can imagine...

Making it worse for the R's was this poll that hit the wires before Brown was sucked into the media vortex:

...A majority of Americans--for the first time--believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. What’s more, seven in 10 respondents oppose Roe v. Wade being overturned, which is the highest percentage on this question since 1989.

“These are profound changes,” says Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted this survey with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart and his colleagues.

And then there were these comments Thursday night from GOP Louisiana Governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate speaking to the Republican National Committee;

It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. We’ve had enough of that.

Hope you enjoyed your 15 minutes of fame, Rep. Brown. It was probably more than enough.

THE CHAIR RACE

Reader Stephanie DuBois--an active Dem from Tularosa--says attorney Sam Bregman's endorsement from the building trades union does not mean his challengers can't catch him:

Bregman's big endorsement does not equate to votes within the Democratic Party Central Committee. Others running should not be intimidated by this announcement. If Sam was running for Governor or Attorney General 10,000 members of any group would be a very positive feather in his cap. My advice for the other two candidates (Roanne Lara & Cornelia Lange) would be to  solicit the votes from the State Central Committee members who can actually vote. 

This sounds like a very impressive announcement but the people on the ground that have been active Democrats would be more impressed to hear what Bregman has done lately for grass roots Democrats...So, having the endorsement of 10,000 people who are probably not in a position to vote for him in April doesn't mean spit to me.

Some 415bDem central committee meets in late April to choose a new chairman to replace Javier Gonzalez who is not seeking re-election.

NO LOBO MANIA

Reader Lissa Knudsen writes of our Thursday blog which included a report on our trip to The Pit Wednesday night to see the UNM basketball Lobos put away another win:

You went out of your way to point out that the Governor is focused on drivers' licenses instead of what is really important--the state's economy. Yet you go on and on about the Lobo basketball team.

 If UNM and NMSU had invested in research and academics and had made creating an educated workforce our number 1 priority, New Mexico might not be in an economic "death spiral" (Forbes Magazine).

Distractions during hard times are seductive but they don't address the underlying problems. When will you be doing some in depth coverage on the the new regent appointment? Yet today, the Lobos closed out the blog like UNM's going to the Sweet 16 is all that matters.
C'mon, Joe. Not you too?

Well, we didn' think we "went on and on." It was a short blurb, but when you are reading something you don't like, it can feel that way 

NEW RADIO 

Reader Richard Eeds writes:

Joe, I have launched a new radio show on Talk 1260 in Santa Fe (and everywhere via streaming). It is called Climate Change with Richard Eeds and it wiil be on each Saturday from 5-7pm discussing how climate change will impact the economy, beauty and resources of Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Southwest...It will include the latest climate news, guests, and is a call-in program....

THE MAES WAY

Keeping at the Roundhouse former Dem Santa Fe State Senator Roman Maes roams the corridors there now as a lobbyist. He's also an avid watcher of the state biz beat:

What New Mexico needs is an immediate boost to its job growth and economy. Any business knows that marketing, branding and spending on skillful advertising will multiply the dollars spent and create a major boost to its well being.  New Mexico, like a business, should invest in promotion--like now. A $10 million dollar investment would create that impact. This amount is fractional in comparison to the state's budget of nearly $6  billion. Unlike most government spending, it would create an impact on present and future business in our state. New Mexico has great opportunities, potential, beauty and culture. Let's tell the world about our great state.

The Tourism Department this session is asking for an additional $1.5 million for advertising the state.

THE REEFERENDUM

Blogging New Mexico
They're calling this one the "reeferendum:

Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, is looking at  several options on the marijuana front. Though he hasn’t decided which  route he’s going to take, Ortiz y Pino, who was just named chairman of  the Senate Public Affairs Committee, (is) looking at  three possible options, including an amendment to the state  constitution, modeled after the law in Colorado, which would legalize  weed for use by adults, regulate it and tax it. If a proposed constitutional amendment passes both chambers  of the Legislature, it would be put on the next general election ballot--2014--to let the voters decide.

Pino admits the chances of the amendment getting on the ballot in the near future are dim but that he is laying the groundwork for an eventual vote. So don't start inhaling yet.

That's a wrap for this week. Thanks for stopping by.

Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2013
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