Thursday, January 08, 2015

Pearce's Speaker Switch: Can He Make It Matter? Plus: Hitting The Exits At SOS Office And The Latest From The Econ Beat 

In a switcheroo southern NM GOP Congressman Steve Pearce this week voted to keep U.S.House Speaker John Boehner on the job. Two years ago he joined a handful of fellow hard-right conservatives in voting against Boehner for speaker and for Rep Eric Cantor. It was an ill-fated play as Cantor was ousted from his seat in the '14 primary.

Now the time for political gamesmanship has passed. Pearce is serving his sixth term in the US House--a time when you expect a congressman to accumulate some power that can benefit the folks back home. His vote for Boehner should put him back in the Speaker's good graces. That should help.

Can Pearce forsake ideology and start bringing more bacon home to pork starved New Mexico where federal budget cutbacks and now a bear market in oil prices prowls his district?

His distaste for government spending is not easily overcome but Pearce is now our congressional delegation's only link to the Republican majorities that control the House and the Senate. With his seniority and his capitulation on Boehner, Pearce has the chance to be a more relevant player not only a reliable anti-government conservative. We'll see if he takes that chance.


A shake-up in the Secretary of State's office where Bureau of Elections Director Bobbi Shearer and office spokesman and former Roswell state Senator Rod Adair are headed for the exits. No reasons given by GOP Secretary of State Dianna Duran. She said the pair resigned "effective immediately."

In an email notifying the state's county clerks, Duran gave a statement of praise for Shearer.  She also gave her a contract to work for her during the legislative session.

Kari Fresquez who has headed Information Technology for the Secretary of State’s office was named new elections bureau boss.

The new office spokesperson was not announced. In a cryptic message in which Adair was not mentioned, Duran Chief of Staff Ken Ortiz said:

On behalf of Secretary of State Dianna J. Duran, all media inquiries pertaining to the Office of Secretary of State should be directed to Ken Ortiz.

Adair, a longtime controversial state politico, started with the SOS as head of a newly created division that oversaw the elections bureau. His switch to office spokesman was announced after the November election in which Duran was re-elected.

The shake-up comes in the wake of a tense recount in the state land commissioner race presided over by the SOS. Republican Aubrey Dunn won over incumbent Ray Powell by 704 votes.

A Senior Alligator reacted:

The story here is that both Shearer and Adair were let go at the same time. The Democrats might want to look around.

P.S. The photo of Adair was pirated from Terrell's blog.


On the topic of voting, Sharon Kayne of the advocacy group New Mexico Voices for Children comes with this:

Joe, One of your readers asks about the cost to taxpayers of a voter ID requirement. That’s an issue we looked at back in 2012. We came up with $1.2 million a year. That’s a lot of money to spend ‘fixing’ a non-existent problem. Our report is here.


Reader Callan Martinez writes of GOP BernCo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson's comments on the area economy:

In the quote on the blog from Commissioner Johnson he says if we had an expanding economy where revenue from property taxes was growing because more people were moving into the county then we wouldn’t be facing this financial problem. This is simply stating the obvious.

It is not the job of elected officials to wish for better, it is the job of elected officials to work for better. Most of our elected officials are not solving the state's problems, they are wishing they didn't have such problems...and so the economy remains stagnant waiting for its long overdue jump start. All while the people of New Mexico continue to struggle or just leave.


Right to work legislation, something the state put to sleep over 30 years ago, is now being offered as the new economic panacea. But do even the most ardent supporters really believe it will make a difference? The news:

Many politicians in New Mexico are saying passing right-to-work is key to attracting new businesses, but that's increasingly not the case, according to three site selectors in North Carolina, New Jersey and California. Talent and the cost of doing business are bigger factors, they said.  "In the old days, leading up to the mid 1980s, right-to-work was on most checklists of states to include and those to eliminate," site selector Don Schjeldahl of The Don Schjeldahl Group of North Carolina said on . "Since 1984, right-to-work has steadily become less and less important as a location factor for most companies to the point now that it hasn't come up on my projects in probably 10 years."

So there you have it--direct from the horse's mouth. Not that it's going to make much difference in Santa Fe.

The politics are uncomplicated. Republican Governor Martinez gets a national win if she can get right to work approved in a Blue State. At the same time she works feverishly to keep the crazy aunts of the GOP stuffed away in the basement as she sells herself as reasonable. The aunts in the basement are Aunt Anti-abortion, Aunt Anti-gay marriage and Aunt Anti-gun control.

You're right. It's a pretty crowded basement.

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