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Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Udall Won't Run For Governor, NM Again Ranks As Worst Run State In The USA, Another Funeral For Proposed Ethics Commission? And A History Lesson 

Senator Tom Udall decided today not to seek the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2018. His decision is likely to prompt ABQ Dem Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham to get into the race. Here is Udall's statement:

"I am very grateful for the support of so many New Mexicans who have personally urged me to run for governor in 2018. Under the current governor, our state has fallen behind in education and jobs. We have failed to take full advantage of our abundant natural resources and our potential for developing a renewable energy industry. While I firmly believe that I have the backing and the experience to properly address all these issues, I have determined, after consulting with my family, colleagues and constituents, that New Mexico will be better served by my remaining in the United States Senate. . . 

"This is not the time to weaken our position in Washington. President-elect Trump has proposed policies with respect to health care, constitutional rights, immigration, privatizing public lands, and foreign policy that could be devastating to the citizens of New Mexico. When I was elected to the Senate, I committed to standing up in Washington for New Mexico families to ensure everyone has an opportunity to get ahead and their needs never take a back seat to wealthy special interests. I believe that pledge is even more important now."

Other possible Dem Guv candidates are Attorney General Hector Balderas, businessman Jeff Apodaca, Las Cruces area state Senator Joe Cervantes and Santa Fe businessman Alan Webber. There likely will be more.

For the Republicans, Lt. Governor John Sanchez, Congressman Steve Pearce and ABQ Mayor Berry are all mentioned as possible candidates.

STILL STUCK

How far have we sunk? Too far. In 2010 when 24/7 Wall St first ranked the best and worst run states in the nation New Mexico came in 37th. Not great but not all that bad considering our longstanding challenges. Where are we today? Dead last--50th-and for the second year in a row.

New Mexico ranks as the worst run state by 24/7 Wall St. for the second consecutive year. Following a large. . . shortfall in the state’s fiscal 2016 and 2017 budgets, Moody’s downgraded the state’s credit rating and outlook. . The likelihood of living in poverty is very high for individuals without a high school diploma. In New Mexico, fewer than 85% of adults have a high school diploma, nearly the lowest high school attainment rate, and more than 20% of state residents live in poverty, the second highest rate of all states. Like most poorly-run states, New Mexico’s labor market is struggling. The state’s labor force declined over the last five years, and 6.5% of workers were unemployed as of October, the highest October jobless rate of all states.

The long decline in the rankings coincides with the administration of Gov. Martinez who was sworn in January 1, 2011. Certainly her supporters would argue that there were events beyond the control of any governor that have led to the death spiral in the state's economic and social conditions. But her denial of reality can hardly be disputed. For years, Martinez has refused to even acknowledge the state's decline. And in the rare instances when she has she blamed "Senate Democrats" for our many ills.

Willful ignorance and not really caring--a malignant neglect--are the two great political sins of this administration. History will dutifully record that there were events beyond any one person's control that contributed to our diminishment, but it will not wash away those sins that have cost us so dearly.

ETHICS R.I.P.

A bill to establish a state ethics commission will be back in the legislative session in January for the umpteenth time and it looks like another funeral is taking shape for this legislation. Here's soon-to-be state House Speaker Brian Egolf:

I don’t know that it’s top-of-the-mind with voters. I do think there are a good number of members who want to see something like this happen.

Not exactly a burst of enthusiasm there. Well, after all it is a funeral.

ART'S CLASS

From Bernalillo County we get this:

Over 400 students will get an early holiday gift on Wednesday, Dec. 7, when Bernalillo County District 2 Commissioner Art De La Cruz will present them with free books to read over the winter break. The children, from both county and city community centers in District 2, have been invited to be a part of this special event.

And the first book on the list that Art will read "The Magic of The Kingdom of Santolina." Enjoy that, kiddos.

HISTORY LESSONS

Bill Redmond
In a first draft Tuesday we blogged that Gov. Ed Mechem appointed himself to the US senate upon the death of Senator Dennis Chavez in 1962. Actually, Mechem arranged his appointment by resigning the governorship and then was officially appointed to fill the vacancy by Lt. Gov. Tom Bolack.

Reader Gian Travers was prompted by our blogging of congressional vacancies to recall that not only did the ABQ experience a vacancy in the 1990's but so did the northern district:

You may recall what happened when a vacancy occurred in the Third Congressional District after Bill Richardson resigned to become Ambassador to the United Nations—appointed by Bill Clinton in 1997 after Bill won reelection in 1996 (defeating Bill Redmond in the general election).

The Democratic State Central Committee members from the counties included in the Third District met and choose the ethically-challenged Eric Serna as the party’s nominee—old time Democratic machine politics at work and the party rank-in-file were incensed. The Republicans chose Bill Redmond as their nominee to succeed Richardson.

The Green Party nominated Carol Miller and numerous Democrats (outraged over their party elders’ nomination of Serna) voted for Miller in the special election. Consequently Serna’s support was substantially diminished with those defections to the Green Party and Redmond was elected to serve out the remainder of Richardson’s term.

Redmond ran for reelection in 1998, but was defeated by Democrat (and then Attorney General) Tom Udall, whom those dissident/anti-Serna/rank-in-file Democrats supported in the primary election that year.

Thanks, Gian. We recall that upheaval as one of the more entertaining chapters in our beloved La Politica.

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