Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another First: Incoming Staff Chiefs For State's Three New Congressmen Are All Hispanic; An Insider Takes A Look 

There were all kinds of historical tidbits in New Mexico politics in 2008. Here's another one. For the first time anyone can recall the chiefs of staff for the state's three US House members are all Hispanic, yet another confirmation of our "majority-minority" status in which Hispanics and other ethnic groups make up most of the population and Anglos are in the minority. One of our D.C. Alligators gives us a take on the three key staffers for Congressmen Heinrich, Lujan and Teague:

These are powerful positions that drive policy, staffing and politics in the office. All three staff chiefs are under forty, and all have extensive Washington experience. Steve Haro, with Martin Heinrich, worked his way up to legislative director in Rep. Becerra's office. Steve is a quick study. He is a team player who should work well with the other chiefs of staff...

Adrian Saenz is an excellent choice for (southern Dem) Congressman-elect Harry Teague. Saenz served as chief of staff for Representative Ciro Rodriguez who has a "Will Rogers" style similar to that of Teague. Adrian knows the politics of the state as he helped deliver a victory for Obama as his NM state director. With outgoing GOP US Rep. Pearce mulling a run against Teague in 2010, Adrian will be earning his money in DC and back in the district.

Finally, Congressman-elect Lujan's pick of Angela Ramirez is significant as it establishes Lujan as an immediate power player in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus where she served as executive director. Most importantly, all three chiefs of staff are friends; they have all risen and worked on Capitol Hill together in an environment where Hispanics are under represented in senior positions.

The staff chiefs to be ought to enjoy the good press while it lasts. It could take a turn when they start making decisions.


In the final edition of her e-mailed newsletter ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson sums up the main legislative accomplishments of her 10 year US House career this way:

All legislation is a collective effort, but I look back with some satisfaction on the resolution of the Sandia Land Claim, the Ojito Wilderness Act, and the Baca Ranch bill.

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