Thursday, June 04, 2015

Hillary In The House (The Romero House): We've Got The Insider's View: Plus: They're Coming Back; No Obvious Big Losers In Deal That Will Lead To Special Legislative Session 

Hillary in ABQ
Hillary was in the house--the ABQ house of veteran politico and former US Ambassador to Spain Ed Romero--for a brief pit stop Wednesday where it appears she picked up some $300,000 in New Mexico campaign cash.

Since this is not an early presidential primary state, it might be a long while before we again see the leading Dem '16 prez contender.

The visit was all quite private. The TV news we saw showed a motorcade heading toward Romero's luxurious digs, but no pics of the candidate.

But our intrepid Senior Alligators were on the scene--even if they had to pay the required $2,700 entry fee to meet the leading lady. And now you are there as well. Here's how the visit came down:

Joe, the late morning breakfast fundraiser was sold out--about 125. It's likely that about $300,000 was raised.  The event was centered around "Hillstarters" (individuals who commit to raise $27,000 including their own maximum $2,700 contribution). Hillstarters include Elizabeth Montoya, Q Cook, former ABQ Mayor Martin Chavez, former NM first lady Clara Apodaca, Ambassador Ed Romero, former Lt. Gov. Diane Diane Denish, ABQ trial attorneys Turner and Margaret Branch and a few others.

Also attending were former US Senator Jeff Bingaman and wife Anne. Elected officials there were Las Cruces are State Senator Joseph Cervantes (a possible '18 NM Dem Guv candidate), Jeff Apodaca, son of former NM Guv Jerry Apodaca who friends say is a possible future political candidate and ABQ State Representative Deborah Armstrong. The rules insured that all elected officials gave the $2,700 donation. (Well, except a few pals of Ed Romero's).

State Democratic Party Chair Debra Haaland introduced Hillary. Hillary took pictures with everyone and chatted with each person there--very intimate. She spoke for about half an hour. The topics included building tomorrow's economy today and how we include all Americans. A lot of comment about income disparity and inequality.  She made a strong call for immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship. She pledged to continue to support the Affordable Care Act and made a big plea for investment in early childhood education (birth to 3 and universal pre-K)

For those who wanted a public event in NM, I would simply say that we're not an early primary state - she's campaigning very publicly in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina - and this swing is about funding her campaign.

That's good stuff from the Senior Gators, but we're sorry to say we can't reimburse them the $2,700 they spent for the occasion.


After weeks of bickering among themselves grassroots pressure from across the state as well as the business community appears to have forced the hand of Governor Martinez and the Democrats. Everyone will gather in Santa Fe for a special session of the Legislature, most likely on Monday.

(The Governor's news release is here.)

The compromise that had Martinez announcing the special was crafted in behind-the-scenes talks and sets the stage for a session that is expected to last only a day, perhaps only hours.

Both sides gave some to get a deal and there was no obvious big loser. However, ABQ State Sen. Michael Padilla said progressive Democrats wanting the special to include the expired solar tax credit were disappointed. And the fact that there were those smallish GOP tax breaks included in the special agenda--albeit now some with sunset clauses---was no cause for Dems to cheer. (More tax cuts when the oil crash is costing the state millions in revenue?)

The special will focus on the capital outlay bill--now put at $295 million--that died in the final hours of the '15 session and that includes money for roads and senior citizen centers, items that have broad constituencies.

The flat-on-its back and jobs needy state economy had small town and big town mayors and business interests petitioning the Governor to call a special, even as political insiders said she would use the failure to get a capital outlay bill as an issue against the Dems in the '16 legislative races. But the pressure was too great from even Republicans and the second term executive had to head back to the bargaining table.

One wall-leaner points out that a lot of the money in the bill is to buy equipment and goods which will not create any direct jobs.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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