Letter to the Editor: 2015 Session Was Not Fun

By RICHARD ELLENBERG
Former Chair of the Democratic Party of Santa Fe County
Current Candidate for Democratic Party of New Mexico State Chair

Congratulations to our Legislators for coming together in our big tent to turn back efforts to hurt workers and children. The session was not fun, and was full of ‘my way or the highway’ tactics.

The Republicans at the last minute amended the bipartisan capital improvement bill, cutting programs for seniors, education and others, to create a highway slush fund for the Governor to dole out to her supporters. At the end, they gave the Senate 20 minutes to accept this or the Republicans would try to blame the Senate for the failure to pass a capital improvements budget. Fortunately this failed. A draining, tough and generally unproductive session.

Further credit goes to our legislators who did get a number of non-headline bills on Martinez’s desk. Make no mistake, the price tag of the heads of our heroes in the next election has gone way up. However, the energy and attention was chewed up by her wedge issues. That is deliberate as the Governor wants to avoid real issues. The attention was on hurting unions and wages, not on how we have gone from the top tier in job creation under Gov. Bill Richardson, to the bottom under Susana Martinez. The attention was on what to do with third graders who cannot read at grade level, not on how to assure that third graders do read at grade level.

We need to take our unity at the Legislature and build on it. We need a plan for jobs and education that we can unite behind and build momentum for. We need to drive the conversation. We need it now so it is the conversation by the time of the next session. To do this takes leadership of the Party, our legislators and our allies. But it can be done and we can have a conversation about the dismal state New Mexico has been put in by Susana and how to do better.

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