Monday, May 13, 2013

Two Big Paychecks For New NMSU Prez Carruthers; One You Know About And One You Probably Don't, Plus: Kiki Plans To Kick Back; Long Run By Saavedra In State House Nears End 

You probably know that former GOP New Mexico Governor Garrey Carruthers will make a handsome paycheck of $385,000 a year as the new president of New Mexico State University, but you may not know that while serving as head of the NMSU biz school Carruthers has sat on the board of directors of Molina Health Care and made major money doing so.

Public records show he has been awarded 25,582 shares of Molina since being named to the company's board. The shares closed at $36.98 on the NYSE Friday. That would value Carruthers' holdings at nearly $1 million or $946,000 to be precise.

The stock has been on a tear the past year--like many others--and has more than doubled in price. We don't know when Carruthers is eligible to cash in his holdings.

Carruthers began his service on the Molina board in February 2012. On May 2--just days before he became NMSU President--Molina reports awarding Carruthers stock grants valued at $411,000.

His new five year contract with the NMSU Regents says he must get their permission for any outside employment--like being a member of the Molina board for which he was compensated $52,000 in 2012, according to public records.

Before joining NMSU Carruthers was president of Cimarron Health Plan. According to a 2010 news report:

Molina insures 1.5 million Medicaid and Medicare recipients in 10 states, with 91,000 members in New Mexico. It is based in California and entered the New Mexico market in 2004, when it acquired the Cimarron Health Plan operation.

The Carruthers Molina connection has not been mentioned in media accounts, but there has been mention made that there is no "buy out" for Carruthers if he should leave NMSU before his contract expires. But with a cool million or so waiting for him, that wouldn't seem much of a worry for the 73 year old Garrey. He had a nice payday when Cimarron was sold and now in his golden years, he's scored another nice one.


Rep. Saavedra
Kiki Saavedra, 77, and is one of the longest serving members of the state House of Representatives as well as chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, will not seek re-election to another two year term next year. That comes directly to us from a family member who told us of the lawmaker's intentions weeks before last week's mishap involving one of his sons.

And it does not appear a family member will try to succeed Kiki in the ABQ South Valley area seat that the Democrat was first elected to in 1976.

Saavedra's son, Randy Saavedra, had his name tossed about as a possible successor to his legendary dad, but his hopes--if he had any--were quashed last week when he was busted for his third DWI. That made headlines because Randy, 41, is a public official--on the staff of Sandoval County District Attorney Lemuel Martinez as a programs director.

We are still awaiting word on whether Santa Fe State Rep. Lucky Varela--the deputy chair of the powerful appropriations committee--will seek another term in '14. He is close to 80, had a health episode at the recent session of the Legislature and may decide now is the time to give it up after decades of service. The retired state employee was first elected in 1986.

Kiki and Lucky would have no problem getting re-elected. Both remain highly popular in the city and the Roundhouse.

State Rep. Patty Lundstrom is positioning herself for the chairmanship in the event Lucky joins Kiki in hanging up his spurs and assuming the Dems retain control of the House after the '14 election.


 Luján.& McMillan
From Washington, northern Democratic Congressman Ben Ray Lujan reacts to a letter on the Friday blog from Dr. Henry Casso that the state's congressional delegation work on tech transfer from the state's two national laboratories:

I couldn’t agree more with the reader that technology transfer has the potential to be a key component to economic growth and job creation in New Mexico...Last Congress, I founded the Technology Transfer Caucus in the House in order to draw attention to this issue and this year I am a co-chair of the Science and National Labs Caucus. 

During the last Congress, I also held a summit in Santa Fe to bring together local stakeholders and discuss strategies to expand opportunities to transfer technology from the labs to the marketplace. Last month, I introduced legislation to make it easier for local businesses to partner with the labs to bring new innovations to market and create new business ventures...

Just last week I met with Los Alamos Director McMillan to discuss efforts to enhance tech transfer at Los Alamos. I will continue to work with him, as well as Director Hommert at Sandia Labs, the Department of Energy, and my colleagues in Congress to promote tech transfer and the benefits that it can have for New Mexico. But...state and local governments, as well as organizations in the regional entrepreneurial system, must also be key contributors. New Mexico has great potential, but we all need to work together to turn this potential into fully realized economic benefits, and improved coordination is essential...


Imagine if Hispanics who vote heavily Democratic popped their turnout by just a couple of more percentage points in New Mexico. Take a look:

The Census Bureau reports a larger share of New Mexico's Hispanic voters participated in last year's presidential election than in 2008 when President Barack Obama was first elected. About 56.2 percent of eligible Hispanic voters cast ballots in November, up from almost 53.7 percent in 2008. Turnout among non-Hispanic white voters, what in New Mexico often are called Anglos, was 70.5 percent last year compared with 71.5 percent in 2008.

That would seem all the more reason for new Dem Party Chairman Sam Bregman to be out pounding the pavement looking for young Hispanic candidates to get in the political game.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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