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24

Jul

"I WILL ACT ON CLIMATE” 27-STATE BUS TOUR TO ARRIVE IN ALBUQUERQUE

Farmers, Activists, Local business owners to discuss climate change, and the importance of sourcing local food 

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – JULY 23, 2013 – A coalition of local business and community leaders will host the “I Will Act On Climate” bus tour as it arrives in Albuquerque’s South Valley on Wednesday, July 24 as part of a 27-state bus tour to highlight local support for climate change standards and to call on residents to act on climate change. The bus will arrive at Skarsgard Farms on Wednesday for a press conference at 1:00pm.  Speakers include Farm Owner Monte Skarsgard; Ron Curry, Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; small business owners from Bocadillos Catering and representatives from Edible Santa Fe Magazine, La Montanita COOP and New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light. The event will conclude with a hayride tour of Skarsgard Farms.

 

The “I Will” bus is traveling to local communities like Albuquerque, which have been directly affected by climate change, to highlight the need for local and federal action to address the issue. The bus tour comes after President Obama took action on climate change by announcing the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution, as well as infrastructure improvements and new investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. Nearly two-thirds of voters (65 percent) support “the President taking significant steps to address climate change now,” according to a February 2013 poll for the League of Conservation Voters.

The “I Will” Act on Climate bus tour (#ActOnClimate) is supported by a diverse set of local, state-based, and national public business, health, and environmental organizations. Across the country, organizations are joining in this effort by bringing the ‘I Will’ bus to their community, highlighting impacts of climate change and opportunities created to address the issue.

Local spokespeople will be available for interviews.

What"I Will Act On Climate" bus tour stop in Albuquerque and Press Conference 

WhenWednesday July 24, 2013 – 1:00 PM

WhereSkarsgard Farms, 7525 Rays Court SW, Albuquerque 87105

WhoMonte Skarsgard owner of Skarsgard Farms, Robin Seydel of La Montanita Coop, Sister Joan Brown of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, Karla Arvizu Bocadillos Catering, Sarah Wentzel-Fisher of Edible Santa Fe, Ron Curry of the Environmental Protection Agency

Contact:

Aric Caplan at 301-998-6592 aric@caplancommunications.com  

Frank Cole at 785-456-5482 or frankhillcole@gmail.com  

03

May

Immigration Reform: Is it Rhetoric or a Dream?

The time for common sense immigration reform is now. To some that sounds like rhetoric; to millions it sounds like an almost attainable dream. We often use these words lightly: immigration reform and dream. Well, not everyone. Not folks who are living in limbo, not folks who have gone through a fifteen to twenty year process to become Americans, not their friends, and not their family. I’m family to both ends of the spectrum, to those who live in limbo, and those who struggled for years to become American citizens. To us, the words immigration reform and dream are one in the same and millions of dreams are on the verge of finally coming true now that Congress has introduced and is holding hearings on comprehensive immigration reform. 

If you’ve ever observed the swallows coming home to San Juan Capistrano in Calif., then you have seen migration. For many in our global community migration is just as natural. In many parts of the world, migrating for the promise of freedom and economic opportunity is a part of life. As Americans we often do this too, we just don’t think of it as migration. That’s why so many New Mexicans are transplants from other parts of our country. Our country works best and our economy prospers when we all do our part and work as one nation. Immigration reform will allow this to happen.

Raised by Salvadorian immigrants, I witnessed the drawn out – sometimes unfair –process that my parents undertook to become American citizens.  Yet there was more than just the struggle that I was able to witness. I witnessed proud parents teach their children about democracy and constantly heard stories of what it was like to grow up in a country that lacked it. I witnessed first hand my parents’ iron will to succeed as my father worked double shifts and overtime, and while my mother cleaned multiple houses on a daily basis. They instilled a work ethic in us as kids that always meant failure was not an option. They also applied this iron will to succeed to their citizenship process - failure was not an option.  

Our story is not much different than many new American immigrants’ except that many new American immigrants have not had the option of a pathway to citizenship as my parents did. You see, my parents were fortunate to have a pathway to becoming Americans because of President Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. For far too long, too many of our friends, family members, and loved ones have not had the option to start the journey on their pathway to citizenship – to them it has only been a dream.

We find ourselves in historic times as we inch closer to comprehensive immigration reform. We are on the verge of so many first generation Americans being able to witness their parents start their journey to becoming new American citizens, as I was lucky enough to do growing up.  What I love about New Mexico – I too am a proud transplant – is that New Mexicans know that it’s not about what you look like or where you were born that makes you American - it’s how you live your life and what you do that defines you.  A common sense pathway to citizenship not only keeps faith with this, but also respects New Mexico’s rich diversity and proud legacy of embracing immigrant communities who contribute to our culture.

I’m proud to live in a state that respects and values our immigrant community and their cultures. I’m proud to live in a city that celebrates International Workers Day every May 1st. I am a proud New Mexican transplant, a proud United States Marine, and the proud daughter of two amazing immigrants. More importantly, I’m the proud daughter of two amazing Americans. 

-Marsha Garcia, Hispano Media Director, ProgressNow New Mexico

This editorial originally appeared in the Albuquerque Journal on April 29, 2013.

16

Apr

Looking forward on immigration reform

New Mexicans have an astounding ability to unite as one and move forward. Out of many cultures, New Mexico’s strength is grounded in the ability to work together as fellow Americans. As we stand together as a nation in light of the tragedy in Boston, we continue to work towards a brighter future for all Americans and our aspiring new citizens.
Today, the bipartisan Gang of Eight unveiled their framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. In New Mexico, we know that it’s not about what you look like or where you were born that makes you American – it’s how you live your life and what you do that defines you here in the country.


In these historic moments we look to our United States Senators to lead the way as only New Mexicans can.


“People from around the world come to the United States in search of a better life for themselves and their families”, said Senator Tom Udall. “They bring with them a hope for the future, a desire for success, and cultural vibrancy that makes America great. One of our greatest traditions as a nation, I believe, is our history of welcoming legal immigrants to our land to contribute.  Comprehensive immigration reform is necessary to fix our broken borders and I believe that solutions to this problem need to also take into account the interests of families who have put down roots in our country.”  - Senator Tom Udall


“New Mexico’s remarkable spirit is rooted in our rich diversity and culture. We need a fair and just approach to comprehensive immigration reform”, said Senator Martin Heinrich. “One that includes a roadmap for undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship, pay a fine, complete a background check, study English, and show a commitment to America. And we can do this while strengthening enforcement and securing our borders”. – Senator Martin Heinrich

10

Apr

[AUDIO]: National Republican Calls Reporter a “Dumb F*ck,” Angry Over Being Forced to Resign for Racist Comments

[AUDIO]: National Republican Calls Reporter a “Dumb F*ck,” Angry Over Being Forced to Resign for Racist Comments

ALBUQUERQUE – The Santa Fe Reporter has just released an audio recording and transcripts of embattled National Republican Committeeman and former Modrall Sperling attorney Pat Rogers verbally berating one of their reporters. 

Rodgers, apparently angry over ProgressNow New Mexico’s actions last year that exposed his now-infamous statement that Republican Governor Susana Martinez “dishonored” Colonel George Custer’s memory by meeting with tribal leaders, was caught on tape calling Santa Fe Reporter journalist Justin Horwath a “dumb f*ck.”

 Audio and additional excerpts from the conversation are here. 

Additionally, Rogers threatens litigation during a later exchange with the Santa Fe Reporter but revealed that he “hasn’t decided yet” who would be the target of such legal action.

 During the firestorm of media attention surrounding Rogers’ comments last year that led to his resignation from the Modrall Sperling law firm, ProgressNow New Mexico and a diverse array of Native, Hispanic, and LGBT communities called for Rodgers to step down from his national Republican post. 

As the face of the New Mexican Republican Party, Rogers represents New Mexico on a national stage and his actions reflect back on the state as a whole. Following this newest revelation that Rodgers is openly berating journalists and threatening specious litigation, ProgressNow New Mexico is renewing its call for Governor Susana Martinez to denounce Rogers and for him to resign as a Republican National Committeeman.

“The national Republican Party is in the process of changing its image to reflect a commitment to openness, respect, and accountability,” said Pat Davis, Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico. “Yet, Republican’s are wondering why they’re still having such a hard time connecting to voters. It’s a good bet that media strategies like this one don’t help.”

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08

Apr

Governor Martinez vetoes bill to help families of gay soldiers; signs bill limiting help to straight-only couples

Republicans across the country are coming out for equality.  But not in New Mexico, and certainly not Governor Susana Martinez.

The legislature sent Republican Governor Martinez two versions of the same bill, HB180 and SB258, making it easier for the state to help our active duty and retired service members and their spouses obtain professional licenses like those issued from the state for contractors and barbers.  It’s a good idea that seems simple enough.

The only difference?  The Senate version contained an amendment, offered by Sen. Jacob Candelaria, to be sure domestic partners of gay service members would be covered too.  

MartinezVeto.jpgOn Friday she made her choice: Governor Martinez vetoed the version to extend help to partners of gay service members.  

In the post-“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era, openly gay service members are proudly serving and dying for our country.  And their partners back home bear the same burdens as their straight neighbors. But helping gay soldiers, veterans and spouses be successful in New Mexico was too much for Martinez.

Whether Governor Martinez likes it or not, New Mexico is ready for marriage equality and it’s time we show our support!    Last month millions of Facebook users changed their profile pictures to support equality and our New Mexico version was one of our most popular posts.

We can’t undo the governor’s veto, but we can show our LGBT family, friends and neighbors – including the partners of our proud gay service members – that we support them.

I’m showing my support and pride. Will you?

PatSigSM.png
Show your support for equality in New Mexico with our equality project sticker! 

..

Just $5 

Text link: Buy Now. Click here to reach our store.

Whether on the bumper of your car, on your bulletin board at work or on the front door of your business this sticker says you and New Mexico stand for equality.  

— 3”x3” bumper sticker —

Proceeds from the $5 sale support our work organizing for progress.

 

equalitypics.png
Where better to show your support for equality than right between your Obama 2012 and ‘save our water’ stickers? 
 

03

Apr

RELEASE: New Mexico Has the Seventh-Worst Rate of Gun Violence in the Country, According to a New State-by-State Analysis

New state-based campaign launches supporting federal action; petitions to be delivered to DC offices of US Senators Udall & Heinrich Monday

April 3, 2013

Read the full report here. (click to read)

 

New Mexico has the seventh-worst rate of gun violence in the country, according to a new state-by-state analysis of gun violence released today by the Center for American Progress.

 

The report examines how each of the 50 states fare across 10 key gun-violence indicators such as firearm deaths among children, firearm homicides among women, and law-enforcement agents feloniously killed with a firearm, among others. The analysis ranks each state according to the rate of each indicator of gun violence. These rankings are then compiled to create an overall aggregate ranking of the states across all 10 indicators.

 

The analysis finds that New Mexico:

•   New Mexico’s gun-death rate is 40 percent higher than the national average.

•   Weak laws make New Mexico a favorite state for gun traffickers to purchase guns.

•   In 2010 New Mexico had the seventh-highest rate of women being killed by men—the majority of which occur with a firearm.

 

From 2001 through 2010, 2,932 people were killed by guns in New Mexico.  That is more than 70 percent more than the number of U.S. combat deaths in the Afghanistan war.

 

ProgressNow New Mexico and a coalition of community partners and victims led an effort in the 2013 legislative session to pass HB77 closing New Mexico’s gun show loophole.  The session ended before the State Senate could vote on the measure.

The United States Senate is set to take up a package of federal gun violence prevention bills as early as next week.  Today, ProgressNow New Mexico and New Mexicans for Gun Safety launched a united effort to encourage Senators Udall and Heinrich to support universal background checks supported by 83% of New Mexicans and other common sense bills like limiting the sale of high-capacity magazines and increasing the penalties for criminal gun traffickers. 

The petition site, StandUpToTheNRA.org, was launched today.  ProgressNowNM will travel to Washington, DC on Monday to deliver the petition letters to the Capitol Hill offices of New Mexico’s Senators. 

11

Mar

Gov. vetoes min. wage protections even after ABQ whistleblower threatened w/ machete by employer for complaining

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Gov. vetoes min. wage protections even after ABQ whistleblower threatened w/ machete by employer for complaining

Santa Fe – Governor Susana Martinez’s first veto of the 2013 session came this afternoon as she vetoed SB395, a proposal to protect minimum wage workers whose employers exploit them and steal from their minimally due compensation.

Just weeks after an Albuquerque minimum wage malt shop employee was threatened with a machete and a bat by his employer’s son after he blew the whistle on his boxx stealing from his check, Governor Martinez similarly struck a blow against those same workers by vetoing a bill that would have protected the identity of whistleblowers who file minimum wage complaints with the state.

According to a KRQE story on the incident: “About an hour after that whistleblower went to the media about his boss’ decision to not pay the new minimum wage; he says the boss’ son showed up at his door, ready to take batting practice.” 

“The recent Albuquerque case shows exactly why specific protections for wage theft protection blowers are absolutely necessary,” says Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico.  “Since her campaign, the governor has promised to stand up for the law and prosecute offenders to the utmost; but with this veto she chose to protect those who subvert the law and turned her back on those who stand up for it.”

"Standing up for your paycheck shouldn’t require a batting helmet and armor chest plate, but in New Mexico it does; and Governor Martinez just said that is OK."

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27

Feb

Governor Martinez’s Pay-To-Play Appointments

 

SANTA FE – Do you ever wonder how Governor Martinez decides who gets a job in her administration and who doesn’t? If you said “show me the money,” you’d probably be right.

Results from an ongoing ProgressNow New Mexico investigation show that Governor Susana Martinez rewards her favorite donors with cushy state jobs in what is just the latest example of the pay-to-play cronyism that’s becoming a hallmark of the Martinez administration.

Butch Matthews, for example, was reappointed to the State Transportation Commission after giving a total of $58,750 in personal and business donations to Martinez’s gubernatorial campaign, her SusanaPAC, and her Reform New Mexico Now PAC.

And then there’s Paul Kienzle III, an Albuquerque lawyer who recently received a controversial appointment to the State Game Commission by Governor Martinez. Kienzle was a member of Martinez’s campaign committee and served as the attorney for Martinez’s Reform New Mexico Now PAC, which was scrutinized during the 2012 elections for violating campaign finance laws. New Mexico’s sportsmen’s community was livid after Kienzle’s recent appointment – the board is supposed to include representatives from five areas of the state but Kienzle is the third Martinez appointee from the Albuquerque area – and a spokesman for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation was quoted as saying, We’re just disappointed the governor took off an everyday New Mexico sportsman and replaced him with what seems to be a political associate.”

The examples of Martinez’s pay-to-play appointments displayed below represent only the most recent results of our investigation. Check back soon for more information on Martinez’ pay-to-play appointments.

 

Martinez PayToPlay Appointments 

22

Feb

ProgressNowNM to deliver rainbow-colored “tower of petitions” to committee hearing marriage equality bill

ProgressNowNM to deliver rainbow-colored “tower of petitions” to committee hearing marriage equality bill

6,500+ petitions, stacked 4-feet tall, to be presented

Santa Fe -  ProgressNow New Mexico, a progressive non-profit organization, will present a rainbow-colored “tower of petitions” in support of marriage equality almost 4-feet tall to members of the House Voters & Elections Committee this morning when they meet at 8:00 am to hear HJR3, a constitutional amendment permitting voters to chose marriage equality for all New Mexico couples.

More than 6,500 persons signed petitions to the legislature supporting the legislation sponsored by Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) and opposing a counter bill, HJR4 sponsored by Rep. Nora Espinoza (R-Roswell) which would have prevented the recognition of marriages between same-sex couples. HJR4 was tabled in an earlier hearing.

The petitions, printed in various colors of the rainbow and stacked in the colors of the LGBT pride flag, is almost 4-feet tall.  Laid end-to-end, the petitions would stretch more than 1.1 miles.

"New Mexicans are making their voice heard on this issue and we want to be sure legislators see exactly how many people support their children, neighbors and coworkers whose relationships are just as loving and valid - except for recognition - as their own," says Pat Davis, Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico.

"All New Mexico families matter and that’s the message we are delivering with these petitions."

If HJR3 passes this hearing, it’s second, it will head to the full House for a vote.









08

Feb

During the last election, did you face long lines at the ballot box? A confusing polling place? A late absentee ballot? We need your voice! Voters will have a chance to express their concerns about the election process during a special hearing by the House Voters and Election Committee and the Senate Rules Committee. Join us on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. to directly address the committees about the barriers and problems you faced in the 2013 elections. The meeting will be held at the New Mexico State Capitol, House chambers. 

During the last election, did you face long lines at the ballot box? A confusing polling place? A late absentee ballot? 

We need your voice! Voters will have a chance to express their concerns about the election process during a special hearing by the House Voters and Election Committee and the Senate Rules Committee. 

Join us on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. to directly address the committees about the barriers and problems you faced in the 2013 elections. The meeting will be held at the New Mexico State Capitol, House chambers.