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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pearce And Heinrich Have Memorable Weeks And Prompt Thoughts Of NM's DC Role, Plus: More From The ABQ Crime Front, And: Your Chance To Win Vintage ABQ Tickets 

Heinrich and Pearce
What a week for Steve Pearce and Martin Heinrich. Pearce was among US House  Republicans at that park where a gunman fired round after round Wednesday, critically wounding a GOP congressional leader and sending Pearce to Facebook to describe what had to be one of the most traumatic events he's ever been involved with.  Pearce flew supply missions during the Vietnam war and must have thought he left the threat of bullets far behind. Not so in today's troubled USA.

Senator Heinrich had another solid week at Senate Intelligence Committee hearings. His declaration that Attorney General Sessions "was impeding" the investigation into Russian ties to the administration went viral and made him a hero for the day among the left.

Pearce and Heinrich's foray into the national spotlight was a bit unusual for them, but New Mexicans are used to seeing their DC representatives there. Former Senator Pete Domenici was a constant national presence on budget matters. Astronaut turned NM Senator Jack Schmitt was a national figure even before being elected in 1976. More recently northern Dem Congressman Ben Ray Lujan has made a national splash, appearing on various media in his role as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And former NM Gov. and Congressman Bill Richardson was again on national TV this week discussing the latest on North Korea.

But fame doesn't necessarily equal power. And that's the modern day problem for our state. Federal funding that began to plunge with the onset of the Great Recession has not recovered. Sandia Labs in ABQ, a key economic driver, grows slowly. And a new funding threat to Los Alamos National Labs funding has just emerged. Then there's the proposal to downsize the federal/state Medicaid program, the expansion of which has provided one of the few economic bright spots here.

With the Senate seniority of Domenci and Jeff Bingaman long gone and congressional earmarks too, federal funding, which built this place into a modern state, is pretty much in a "what you see is what you get" mode. New Mexico will always be a key player in national security with its labs and military bases but the days of steady and assured growth are probably gone forever.

Pearce and Heinrich reminded us this week that we have an able and dedicated congressional delegation, but it was also a reminder that that the overwhelming federal role here and our congressional power have been greatly diminished.

CRIME TIME

It seems just about everyone in ABQ has a crime tale to tell, and that includes reader Elaine Romero:

Speaking of car thefts and organized crime: my second vehicle was stolen from an elementary school - middle of the day - children in the classrooms! It was recovered 30 days later at a casino filled with stolen ID's including passports, government checks, and a counterfeit money-making machine. I was told that I had 24 hours to pick it up or I would be responsible for the storage yard charges. I was told everything in it now belonged to me. Of course I refused to touch it and demanded police deal with the contents. I met them there the following day where one officer told me their warehouse was overflowing with confiscated items and they had no staff or budgets to catalog items. He also said, "there's something about this case that I just can't put my finger on". Enchanting, right?

Soon there will be a new mayor in charge of this mess. Speaking of which. . .

MAYORAL FORUM TONIGHT 

The Bernalillo County Democratic Party will sponsor an ABQ mayoral forum tonight and we'll be the moderator so stop by and say hello. It will be at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Hall 510 San Pedro Dr SE from 5:45pm - 7:00 pm. And don't worry Republicans, at least one of your hopefuls will be there. The election is October 3.

YOUR CHANCE TO WIN

We've got a wonderful night in store for some lucky blog readers.

Courtesy of Vintage ABQ, we're giving away two free tickets to the June 23rd Grand Tasting at the Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum. These tickets go for $85 each and no wonder: "More than 30 wineries pour over 100 wines with local restaurants cooking up perfect complements for your culinary pleasure, truly a mouthwatering culinary extravaganza!"

So how to attend this night to remember free of charge? Well, we can't make it too easy, given the level of this prize. So answer this question first and you will be the lucky winner:

What Bernalillo County politician since the 1970's was the only one to serve on the ABQ city council, the Bernalilo County commission and in the NM state Senate? And what was that politician's party affiliation while serving in each capacity?

Good luck with that. Email your answers. Relatives, friends and Alligators associated with the politico are obviously ineligible. You know who you are. If that question turns out to be too tough, don't worry. We'll have another pair of tickets to give away next week.

Of course, feel free to buy your tickets at Vintage ABQ for the Grand Tasting or the other fine dinner and wine events that kick off June 21. Your purchase will benefit this:

Vintage Albuquerque is an independent 501C3 non-profit charitable organization chartered to raise money to support arts education for New Mexico students. Vintage Albuquerque has raised money for the Albuquerque Museum Foundation, Albuquerque Youth Symphony, Arts in the School, APS Fine Arts Program, New Mexico Jazz Workshop, New Mexico Philharmonic, Popejoy Hall, NDI-New Mexico, and others.

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