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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Guv Friendly City Council Candidate Robert Aragon On Campaign Trail, State Permanent Fund Soars As State Stagnates And Trump's Favorite Guvs (Not Susana) 

Robert Aragon
A member in good standing with the Guv's political machine is poised to become a member of the ABQ city council, say city politics watchers checking in here.

Attorney Robert Aragon, appointed to the state Board of Finance by Gov. Martinez, is the early favorite to replace Dan Lewis in a six way battle for Lewis' west side council seat. Lewis is vacating the post to run for mayor.

Many politicos will recall how Aragon was tossed from his position as a Democratic ward chair for supporting GOP congressional candidate Jon Barela back in '08. He has since hooked up with Martinez and the R's. It would not be a shocker to see Martinez's political action committees supporting him financially. They did exactly that for Robert's wife, Peggy Muller-Aragon, donating $15,000 to her campaign when she won a spot on the ABQ School Board. From that perch she tirelessly carries water for the Fourth and Fifth floors.

Aragon, 59, is a respected attorney who has been in the political game for years. Oldtimers will remember him for getting elected to the state House at the age of 21 and serving three terms beginning in 1979. His father Bennie Aragon was a longtime power player in the House. His sister, Margaret Aragon, was first lady of ABQ when married to former Mayor Martin Chavez. His uncle Mel Aragon was a member of the ABQ city council back in the 70's. His cousin, Manny Aragon, was one of the most powerful state Senate leaders in NM history.

With that political pedigree and his Machine credentials in the GOP leaning seat,  Aragon's foes are going to have their hands full keeping him from capturing a seat on the nine member council.

ARAGON SUBPLOT

A subplot involving Aragon that has been making the rounds may have been put to bed with his council candidacy. That plot had Aragon being appointed State Auditor by the Governor if current Auditor Tim Keller is elected mayor this year. Aragon was the Republican nominee and lost against Keller in 2014. The new subplot has Aragon possibly becoming the chief council critic of Democrat Keller if both men are successful in their campaigns this year.

THE PARTISAN FUTURE

So what's the early take on what the partisan breakdown of the ABQ City Council will be following this fall's election? It's currently controlled by the Dems 5 to 4 and that may not change. Councilors Ken Sanchez, Don Harris, Klarissa Pena and Diane Gibson are all favored for re-election. If they all win and if, as expected, an R replaces Councilor Lewis, we will stay at five to four.

SOARING FUND; SINKING STATE

The bull market in stocks has the Land Grant Permanent School Fund soaring to a value of $15.8 billion at the end of March. But with New Mexico lagging in just about all the major social conditions indicators--poverty, education, crime etc.--the calls continue to invest more of the money directly in the state's people. Dem ABQ State Rep. Javier Martinez, a longtime advocate for a constitutional amendment that would ask voters to tap a portion of the huge fund for very early childhood programs, comes with this reaction to the Permanent Fund closing in on $16 billion:

We're in a moral crisis of historic proportions. This state is bleeding and screaming out in pain. The status quo of the political and business classes has failed us. And now we learn that our land grant fund increased in value (again) and now sits at $15.8 billion, all the while NM's kids continue to suffer unimaginable trauma and neglect. All we're asking for is a 1% investment. We've addressed all of the concerns of the opposition. Rep. Moe Maestas and I have a very strong bill with support from a wide cross-section of New Mexicans from all over the state. House Dems stand ready to lead and send this proposal to the Senate again for its consideration. It's time. No more excuses.

The constitutional amendment has passed the House but for years has been blocked in the Senate by Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith.

TRUMP'S FAVES

One of the Alligators sends this in along with a note saying, "this pretty much confirms that the NM Governor is not a Trump favorite":

President Trump selected seven governors he will appoint to two-year stints on the Council of Governors, according to a White House statement issued Monday evening. Among the three Republicans, three Democrats and one Independent to be nominated are some of Trump's favorite conservatives who he was endorsed by during his campaign or later befriended following the contentious election. Republican Govs. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma; Rick Scott of Florida; and Eric Greitens of Missouri were tapped to sit on the National Governors Association board.

Gov. Martinez refused to endorse the Trump candidacy.

THE BOTTOM LINES

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales interviews with radio host Ricard Eeds on Tuesday's defeat of the sugar tax he pushed so hard for.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017
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