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Friday, August 23, 2013

Sleepy ABQ Economy Gets Awakened With Good News; Obamacare Delivers Biggest Real Estate Deal In Years And Adds Jobs, Plus: Big Roswell Party For Ex-Sen Jennings Goes Bipartisan 

Governor Susana, ABQ Mayor Berry and NM Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela, a tip of the hat please for Obamacare.

We've got our first whopper real estate deal in the downtrodden metro since 2010. And it's not the private sector you can thank--but the Feds and the Prez:

The parent company of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NM has closed a deal to lease almost 85,000 square feet of office space in the North I-25 corridor. The square footage...makes it one of the biggest office deals in the Duke City in recent years. It should give a major boost to the city’s office market, which has been bogged down by a high vacancy rate in recent years, hovering at about 18 percent...Health Care Service Corp. said...Obamacare is the main reason the office space was sought...Health care companies increasingly need extra office space to handle new requirements for Medicaid contracts, which have spurred hiring for accountants and other office workers.

Susana was down in Florida trying to drum up manufacturing jobs for NM when the big leasing news broke. She does get credit for approving Obama's Medicaid expansion for NM, unlike some other GOP Governors. But it's Obamacare putting the points on the NM economic scorecard. Where's hers--and Mayor Berry's?

The lease news goes to show that the Feds are still the commanding presence in the local economy. That's something for policy makers to encourage and embrace, not reject while they sip margaritas on the US-Mexican border and promise a maquiladoran paradise.

There are a lot of components to the New Mexican economy but as former ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez was fond of saying: "ABQ is the engine that drives the state." That means it has to be regularly oiled.

ROASTING TIM JENNINGS

Ingle and Jennings
Our Alligators in attendance report that some 500 state politicos were on hand Thursday night for a bipartisan celebration of the career of former Democratic Roswell area State Senator Tim Jennings.

The popular SE NM conservative was a Senate powerhouse for decades, but was defeated when he was targeted by Governor Martinez's political machine in 2012.

Here is Tim pictured at the Roswell Civic Center with Senate Minority Leader Stu Ingle who is not afraid of getting his back up when the Guv pushes too hard. The pair once shared office space at the Roundhouse.

There was even talk last year that the same Guv-financed machine that took Jennings out was going to target Republican Ingle because of his independent streak. That didn't happen and Ingle's position as GOP Senate leader is secure.

Talk about a bipartisan event. Even political neophyte and GOP Senator Cliff Pirtle--who the Martinez machine used to take out Jennings--showed up at the roast of Jennings which benefited Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Good for you, Cliff...

Rancher Jennings served as Senate President Pro Tem. His political days appear to be over but that doesn't stop his friends from floating his name as a possible candidate again someday.

GAY IN SANTA FE

A reader writes of the decision of ex-NM Dem Party Chairman and soon-to-be Santa Fe mayoral candidate Javier Gonzales to announce that he is gay:

Your piece on Gonzales did not mention that there is another gay candidate in the Santa Fe mayoral race. Councilwoman Patti Bushee has been out of the closet since she was named to replace Debbie Jaramillo in 1994 when Jaramillo, as a sitting councilwoman not up for re-election, won the mayor's office. Bushee has since been elected to the council five times in her own right. I'd say Javier Gonzalez is not likely to get a lot of gay votes next year if Bushee remains in the race. You're right to note that Gonzalez's sexual orientation was well known among insiders, but for those gay voters who didn't know it the announcement is not likely to be seen as courageous, and may even be seen as opportunistic. All of that said, it's nice to see public opinion has swung so far that one can speculate that Gonzalez came out in order to win votes.

LEWIS NAMED


This comes from the state Treasurer's office:

State Treasurer James B. Lewis was elected President of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) at their annual conference in Boston.NASACT is an organization for state officials who deal with the financial management of state government....

NASACT's mission is to assist state leaders in enhancing and promoting effective and efficient management of government resources.

Lewis is term limited and can't seek re-election next year. Dems Tim Eichenberg and Patrick Padilla have announced their candidacies. Dem John Wertheim is also weighing a run. Republican Demesia Padilla is seen as a likely contender for the GOP.

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