Inside the Capitol

Monday, December 13, 2004

NM Blue Book

SANTA FE – The current New Mexico Blue Book, packed with new topics and new information, beats them all.
I usually get to give you a preview of what the new edition offers so you can be one of the first to order yours. But this time delays and administrative glitches delayed my copy until nearly the end of the biennial period it covers.
Nevertheless, the 2003-2004 edition of New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron’s Blue Book is another treasure. Although I have a rather extensive bookshelf of reference books on New Mexico, this one publication supplies me with probably 90 percent of the background material I use in writing this column.
When I ask myself where I might find a piece of information, I always first turn to the Blue Book, hoping there is a section with that information that I have neglected to notice. I’m often delighted to find it there. And when I don’t, I often call editor Kathy Flynn and suggest the new category of information.
This edition contains all the new departments created by Gov . Bill Richardson and all his new appointees. It also has the e-mail and Web addresses for its extensive lists of the people to know in and around state government. And just in time for my yearlong tribute to the New Mexico National Guard is an expanded National Guard section in the Blue Book.
In every edition, editor Kathy Flynn weaves a new theme among the section dividers of the Blue Book. This year it is prominent pioneer women of the state. Many of them were the first women to crack into the men’s worlds of politics, public service, business and science.
And some are a selection of the most colorful women of New Mexico’s past – women such as La Dona Tules, Mabel Dodge Luhan, the Harvey Girls and even Mildred Clark.
Why is a book containing information about state government called a Blue Book? The first known annual government report ever published was in 17th century England. It was printed on blue paper and thus became known as the Blue Book. The practice passed down through many countries and political subdivisions.
New Mexico’s Blue Books aren’t printed on blue paper but they almost always have blue covers. “Blue Book” may seem a very unimaginative title for an important government publication, but it isn’t the only case of an often-used document getting a nickname.
The federal government publication listing all appointive jobs, their qualifications and pay range, is called the Plum Book. It’s cover is a plum color, which may lend its name, however, the fact that it also lists the plum jobs in a new administration may have something to do with the name.
Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron puts a lot of effort into her Blue Books. Each year she adds some new information and deletes anything that is dated or hasn’t created much interest. And she welcomes your suggestions.
This is the third edition in which she has had a Trivia Section at the end of the book. She compiled the first set of trivia questions, herself. For the next edition, she asked editor Kathy Flynn to enlist some other longtime New Mexicans to make additions. Charlie Cullin, a former columnist for Inside the Capitol, and I were two of those she corralled. Over coffee at Tiny’s Restaurant, we came up with some great ones.
For this edition, Vigil-Giron asked for trivia suggestions from readers. I want to compliment all of you who sent suggestions because this expanded trivia Section is first-class. It could give you hours of pleasure and should be developed into a game. Vigil-Giron wants more trivia items suggested for the next edition. Call 800-477-3632, 505-827-3600 or 505-476-0353 with your ideas.
For a free copy of the Blue-Book, call the Secretary of State’s Office at 800-477-3632. If your address in-state, there is no charge for mailing.


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