Inside the Capitol

Monday, June 29, 2009

7-3 Denish IS Running for Governor

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Lt. Gov. Diane Denish's office wants to make it very clear that rumors she has reconvened her transition team are untrue.
The rumors have been circulating around state offices and various blogs recently. But according to press secretary Josh Rosen there is absolutely no truth to the rumor. "Diane Denish is focused on serving the people of New Mexico as lieutenant governor," he said.
Well, maybe not entirely focused. She also would like to serve us as governor. Not long after releasing a Democratic Governors Association poll showing her handily beating former U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson in the 2010 gubernatorial contest, Denish has sent an e-mail to supporters saying, "I AM running for governor."
Denish notes that all the other contenders for the office are merely "exploring" a possible run. Her bottom line pitch is to contribute to her campaign in order to send a message to the "explorers" that New Mexicans want her to be their next governor.
The e-mail also lists the government reforms Denish has championed over the past six years. It is a smart move because Republican candidates are sure to hit hard on the government corruption of the past several years.
So, my apologies for having helped spread the rumors of a reconvened transition team by saying they were believable in light of reports that a federal grand jury had finished its work on a state government corruption case.
Since our last report on the races for governor, Albuquerque Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones has off9icially become an "explorer" for the GOP nomination.
Blogger Joe Monahan says to add Albuquerque public relations executive Doug Turner to the list of Republican hopefuls. Monahan says Turner has been traveling the state interviewing potential staff for his campaign.
Steve Pearce has announced that he still isn't ready to announce his political intentions. Pearce has been looking at both the gubernatorial race and his old congressional seat in southern New Mexico now held by Rep. Harry Teague.
Pearce had said he would make up his mind by the end of June. Now it will be the end of July, he tells a national publication. If Pearce decides to go for his old seat, he already has name recognition and a list of supporters to set a campaign in motion quickly.
But if he decides to go for governor, the time is getting short for fundraising and setting up a statewide organization. One problem is that those who have gotten serious about campaigning already have picked off some of the key supporters that Pearce might have recruited.
Why the wait? Maybe he wants to do some more polling. Or Maybe he wants to see what develops politically from that grand jury investigation.
Cleaning up Santa Fe corruption surely will be a big theme of any GOP candidate's campaign. Monahan thinks Pearce might be best suited as a Republican gubernatorial candidate to fight corruption.
The most ticklish subject for Pearce may be his unwavering and outspoken support of conservative positions. That makes him an easy target. Opponents can pick and choose from a list of conservative positions that may not appeal to a certain part of the state or certain constituencies.
Republicans appear to be a beaten down, disorganized party at the moment. But as we have said here often, situations can change quickly. Enough Democrat scandals have occurred to give the GOP plenty of ammunition. If the grand jury probe turns out to add further embarrassment, it could be a deciding factor.
One other factor that could help Republican candidates is the creation of a new nonprofit organization that aims to counter the progressive nonprofits that were given credit for ousting several incumbents, Democratic and Republican, in the 2008 primary and general elections.
Blogger Heath Haussamen reports that Southwest Citizens Coalition chairman Allen McCulloch has recently sent a mass e-mail urging support of the organization.
WED, 7-03-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


Thursday, June 25, 2009

7-1 Sen. Bingaman Becoming More Influential

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman has never sought the limelight but he is poised to become more influential in Congress as a result of several factors.
Bingaman's reserved and studious nature is one of his strengths. It inspires trust from his colleagues. They know if they work on an issue with him, they can be sure he will do more than his share of the work and he won't call a press conference to take all the credit. As the years pass, Bingaman's steadiness has gained him more and more supporters in the U.S. Senate.
That approach doesn't necessarily win elections but New Mexico voters have returned Bingaman to the Senate by healthy margins ever since 1982. Even though he's not showy, it's great to send someone to Washington we know won't embarrass us.
Another reason for Bingaman's growing stature is his membership on three committees that will influence much of this year's major legislation.
As chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Bingaman will oversee all the alternative energy issues in Congress plus a huge Western land conservation package of nearly 170 bills.
In addition, Bingaman is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that is drawing up this year's controversial health care legislation. And he's the only member of that committee who also serves on the Senate Finance Committee which has to figure a way to pay for the health plan.
The two committees are far apart in what they want to see in a plan and Bingaman has been put in the role of a go-between to interpret the wishes of each committee to the other.
With the illness of Sen. Teddy Kennedy, the committee chairman, Sen. Chris Dodd has taken over chairing the committee while Bingaman has taken the role of expert on the many technical issues that must be resolved. He has been commended for his ability to reduce complex issues to pragmatic choices.
A recent photo of Bingaman and President Barack Obama in deep conversation in the White House rose garden may cast some light on their relationship. A guy like "no drama" Obama would have a lot in common with Bingaman. A Washington newsman recently compared the senator with movie legend Gary Cooper.
Lest Bingaman starts feeling too good about his rising stature, a PBS interviewer recently introduced him as John Bingaman. He's had some teasing about that.
One New Mexico reporter explained that John is his father's name, which isn't correct either. His father's name was Jess. An uncle named John was the person who got Jeff interested in politics and helped guide his early career. Jeff's and Ann's son is named after his uncle John.
* * *
New Mexico's Mine That Bird, winner of the Kentucky Derby and in the money at the second and third Triple Crown races, is now resuming serious work at Churchill Downs. Trainer Chip Woolley has been working him lightly since the Belmont.
Hanging out at Churchill Downs has been fun. Know one knew or paid any attention to Woolley or the horse before it won the Derby. Now they are celebrities. Woolley hangs out near a bar close to the winner's circle, posing for pictures and signing autographs.
Mine That Bird's next race will be the Aug. 1 West Virginia Derby, followed by the Aug. 29 Travers Stakes at Saratoga. The $1 million Travers is being billed as the possible race of the year because there is a possibility the winners of the other two Triple Crown races also will compete. That hasn't happened since 1982.
The ultimate goal for Mine That Bird this year will be the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 7, at Santa Anita. The owners of Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra already have said their filly won't run on the synthetic track.
Following a previous column on Mine That Bird, P.J. Jurkowski, of La Mesa, NM, emailed to say I should also have mentioned the New Mexico bred mare Peppers Pride who was the only horse to win all 19 of her races. All of those races were in New Mexico so she didn't get the recognition she deserved.
WED, 7-01-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

6-29 Is Something Afoot in Gov's Office?

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- The word in capitol hallways is that Lt. Gov. Diane Denish has reconvened her transition team. It's believable because there has been talk for more than two weeks that the grand jury investigating pay-to-play by Gov. Bill Richardson and staff has finished its work.
By the time you read this, we may know much more. Denish convened that team last November when it appeared Gov. Richardson was headed to the big time. When he didn't, she told team members not to wander too far from the corral.
An early start at playing governor could be an advantage to Denish unless the grand jury findings end up being very embarrassing.
Meanwhile GOP gubernatorial candidates Greg Zanetti and Allen Weh travel the state making local contacts and getting publicity in local newspapers. .
During that time, undeclared gubernatorial candidate Heather Wilson has been on the national stage, appearing on the Bill Maher HBO show and in the Washington Post warning of attacks on vital computer systems by foreign governments.
"We must strengthen our national capability to defend ourselves in cyberspace," Wilson told the Washington Post. Wilson served on the House Intelligence Committee for six years and presently consults on cybersecurity and other national security matters.
Wilson is making a name for herself in Washington but says she would like a job closer to her home and family. The governor's mansion may be just the place.
Nothing has been heard from Senate majority leader Michael Sanchez since the announcement a few weeks ago that he is planning to run for the Democratic nomination for governor.
Sanchez made quite a splash when his wife and daughter helped him post the announcement on Facebook. But so far, he hasn't rounded them up again to post any additional information.
It is impossible to know what the grand jury has decided. The only real hint is that many people have been called to testify. That could mean either a fishing expedition or an attempt to round up all the culprits.
Gov. Richardson's actions have been hard to read also. It has been mostly business as usual except for the questions surrounding why he was out of town when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder were here last month.
Questions also arose about the expenses for the governor's trip to Rome to be honored for signing a bill repealing the death penalty. Richardson's office reported that only legislative aide Eric Witt accompanied him. But everyone knows the governor travels with a team of security agents on the taxpayers' dime.
Now that everything has been tallied, we're told that only one security agent accompanied him and that the total cost of the trip was about $13,000 dollars. That's pretty amazing considering the stories we hear about members of Congress spending more than that to fly from Washington to London.
Richardson definitely has been more forthcoming about his travels than South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who disappeared for a week without leaving a forwarding address. His security force and wife didn't even know his whereabouts.
The major problem in that situation was what happens in an emergency. Who is in charge? This may be a problem nationwide. It might seem logical that the lieutenant governor would be in charge. But the way most state governments work, it ends up being the governor's chief of staff.
Lieutenant governors and most of the general public aren't particularly impressed with the idea of having an unelected official running the government.
Once, when Gov. Bruce King was in office, an emergency arose and Lt. Gov. Casey Luna moved to act on it only to learn that the governor's chief of staff already had taken the same action.
The reason we heard of that incident was that Luna was at odds with the governor. But how many times do you suppose that has happened to other lieutenant governors who didn't make a fuss?
MON, 6-29-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


Sunday, June 21, 2009

6-26 GOP Will Give Rep. Heinrich a Battle

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- The survey done for Lt. Gov. Diane Denish showing her demolishing former Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce in the gubernatorial race wasn't the only interesting political maneuver last week.
Albuquerque Republican Jon Barela has announced his candidacy for the 1st Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Martin Heinrich.
Also present for Barela's announcement was Robert Aragon, a Democratic ward chairman and state central committee member who enthusiastically endorsed Barela.
Such surprises aren't new for Aragon. In fact, they're not even surprises anymore. He has sided with Republicans anytime he felt it might be to his advantage.
The surprise was that Barela evidently figures that Aragon's endorsement will be to his advantage. The chances appear good that Barela will face Republican opposition in next year's primary election.
Funeral home owner Kevin Daniels is said to be about ready to get into that GOP race, in which he is expected to be a strong candidate. Might Barela's warm relationship with Aragon be fodder for Daniels to use in strong Republican areas?
Barela obviously wants to show he can attract Democrat votes in the general election. But is this the time to demonstrate that? The argument didn't work for former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson in her Senate primary election battle with conservative Steve Pearce last year.
There appear to be some ties between Barela and Wilson. Barela has been endorsed by Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White who also is a supporter of Wilson. And Barela is using the campaign manager White used in his unsuccessful contest with U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich last year.
Blogger Joe Monahan says if Kevin Daniels does get in the GOP congressional primary, it will be another face-off between the two party factions still battling for power within the GOP.
If Barela makes it through the primary election, it isn't clear how many Democrats Aragon can attract for him in the general election. Aragon's support of Darren White last year didn't prevent a trouncing by Martin Heinrich. Aragon also supported Sen. John McCain.
Blogger Heath Haussamen quotes Aragon as saying he is a lifelong Democrat but always puts New Mexico first. Actually Aragon always puts himself first. Anyone who watched him while he was a state legislator or a regent of Eastern New Mexico University knows that.
Aragon's tenure in both positions was not lengthy. His actions in the state Legislature were such that he was beaten twice as an incumbent. He never was the powerhouse that his first cousin Manny Aragon was.
Barela held his news conference in Albuquerque's South Valley, saying that his deep roots in the area will help him attract the crossover votes necessary to beat Heinrich, whom he painted as a liberal.
Heinrich may be a liberal but his congressional voting record doesn't necessarily show it. He has voted against his party on some economic and budget issues and on gun control.
He may have gotten passes from party leaders on those votes since his district can swing either way. He also may have gotten party help when the Armed Services Committee, on which he serves, voted to keep the 1,000 jobs associated with the 150th Air National Guard unit at Albuquerque's Kirtland Air Force Base.
The effort to keep the "Tacos" still has a long way to go but the final decision could have much to do with whether Heinrich keeps his seat. Probably a lot more than an endorsement by Bobby Aragon.
* * *
Last month, I wrote about Gov. Bill Richardson being dubbed the "king of pocket vetoes." I observed that former Gov. Ed Mechem was no slouch in that field either. Pocket vetoes occur when a governor takes no action on a bill. I mentioned that some people thought Big Ed might have just been too lazy to go through all the bills sent him.
Mechem's daughter, Martha Vigil of Espanola, called recently to note that Gov. Mechem had four employees compared to Gov. Richardson's 40-some employees.
FRI, 6-26-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


Saturday, June 20, 2009

6-24 Political Maneuvering Beginning Already

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- The season for political maneuvering has arrived. It may seem early but that's the time to nip other possible candidacies in the bud.
The Democratic Governors' Association released survey results last week showing Lt. Gov. Diane Denish leading former U.S. Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce by healthy 22-point margins.
Wilson and Pearce are generally considered the two strongest potential GOP gubernatorial candidates. Both have run statewide races and have strong name recognition. Neither has declared so far.
Greg Zanetti and Allen Weh already have started their gubernatorial campaigns because they have a long way to go in building name recognition.
State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones has put out the word that she may get into the race at any time. She was the lawmaker who got the ball rolling on Webcasting of legislative sessions. She also has played a major part in the scandal-plagued housing authority system.
The choice of Wilson and Pearce to poll Denish against seems an obvious attempt to keep both of them out of the gubernatorial race. Wilson is more likely than Pearce to get into the governor's race.
After Pearce's 61-39 loss to Tom Udall in last November's U.S. Senate race, he appears more likely to attempt to regain his former 2nd Congressional District seat back from Democratic Rep. Harry Teague.
Wilson, on the other hand, tried to convince Republicans last year that her more moderate positions on issues would make her the stronger candidate against a Democrat. She may want to try again to prove that point.
And that may be why the Democratic governors' news release announcing the poll results emphasized that Denish beat Wilson by a 53-40 margin in the 1st Congressional District, which Wilson previously represented.
It has been common wisdom to assume that Democrats would like to see an Hispanic male from the north paired with Denish who grew up in Hobbs.
But an interesting result of the polling shows Denish beating Wilson by a 70-25 margin and beating Pearce 70-24. That is considerably than Denish's 57-35 overall lead. It may be an indication that she doesn't really need help gaining Hispanic support.
The poll also didn't include Democratic Senate floor leader Michael Sanchez of Belen. He may not be seen as much of a threat to Denish. Republicans are expected to hammer away at Democrats for the corruption among Democratic public officials the past several years.
Sanchez appears vulnerable to such criticism because as majority floor leader, he has been instrumental in preventing many ethics measures from getting through the Senate.
His rationale has been that legislation isn't needed because public officials are basically honest. Every year it has become more difficult to take that stand.
This year, about midway through the legislative session, Sanchez explained that he had assumed everyone's basic honesty because he grew up in such an ethical family. That may not get him off the hook unless ethics bills suddenly start flying through the Senate.
The state GOP has responded to the governors' survey saying that any survey taken almost a year ahead of next year's primaries isn't going to have much meaning.
True, elections are a long way off but maneuvers made in the early months can have a major effect on those elections. It is only three months until candidates can pick up nominating petitions. Candidates don't like to be left behind in collecting all the signatures that are required.
Initial polling before the 2008 senatorial race between Tom Udall and Steve Pearce showed Udall leading by about a 60-40 margin. Those polls were dismissed by many who contended the polls were taken too far ahead of the general election and the race would tighten considerably.
Udall won by a little more than the 60-40 polling results. Looks as though it's never too early.
WED, 6-24-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


Sunday, June 14, 2009

6-22 Best Friends of Palau

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- To nearly all Americans, Palau was an unknown island nation until its president offered to take up to 17 Chinese Muslims who have languished in limbo at Guantanamo Bay.
But for American troops stationed in the South Pacific during World War II, Palau is very familiar. They may not have been there but they knew about the Battle of Palau, one of the bloodiest of the campaign to win back the Pacific.
Palau was a Japanese Island, won from the Germans in World War I. Yes, Japan and Germany fought in the South Pacific during the 1st World War. American forces took the islands from Japan in 1944 as we began a string of victories on the march up from Guadalcanal.
This was a case in which the new occupiers were treated as liberators. Conditions had been harsh for the native Palauans under the Japanese. They were treated as slaves and made to dig the tunnels and caves in which Japanese soldiers dug in for the U.S. invasion.
After World War II, the United Nations placed Palau and many other island groups under U.S. administration as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1994, Palau became independent and voted to enter a Compact of Free Association with the United States.
Since then, ties with the United States have remained very close. When my wife and I took a cruise commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, we visited many of the battlefields of the Pacific.
Palau was not included but everywhere in the South Pacific that we stopped, adults and children came to the docks to express their appreciation to the Americans who had liberated them. The ceremonies were deeply moving.
I'm sure our reception in Palau would have been just as touching. When President Johnson Toribiong announced his decision to accept the detainees he explained "This is but a small thing we can do to thank our best friend and ally for all it has done for Palau."
China has demanded that the men be returned to their homeland and has pressured countries not to accept them. But the United States fears that these men will be tortured or executed as Islamic separatists if returned to China.
It is doubtful China has put any pressure on Palau because it is one of a handful of countries that does not recognize China and maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, instead.
China has worked very hard at building close relationships with other Pacific island nations. When we visited Rarotonga last year, a local guide proudly showed us new government buildings the Chinese government had just built them.
In turn, the United States has been very generous toward Palau. Although President Toribiong says acceptance of the detainees is being done as a humanitarian gesture, recent information indicates that it is part of the renewal negotiations for the Compact of Free Association.
There also is a very large chunk of American money for numerous projects that is part of the compact negotiations. Those projects are administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs.
Some Palau citizens are said to be unhappy with the offer to accept the detainees. Whether that has any effect on the Palau government eventually agreeing to accept the detainees may be an indication as to how independent Palau really is.
Here's another sticky subject. In 1981, Palau voted for a constitution that included a nuclear free clause. This delayed Palau's independence because it also wanted a Compact of Free Association with the United States and we wouldn't agree to that until Palau repealed the nuclear-free section of its constitution.
It is reported the detainees are there only temporarily and no compact has been signed yet. So there is some doubt about how this may all end up.
MON, 6-22-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


6-19 Juneteenth Gaining Universal Popularity

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Juneteenth has been a Texas celebration for 144 years. For well over 100 years, few outside of Texas had ever heard of it. The Spell check on my computer still doesn't know the word.
But it is quickly becoming a national celebration. By 2003, twelve states had officially recognized it as a state holiday or observance. New Mexico became the 19th state to officially recognize Juneteenth in 2006. It is now official in 31 states.
For those of you who haven't figured out what we're talking about, June 19, 1865, was the day the last slaves were freed. It happened at Galveston, Texas when Union troops reached the town following the April 9 end of the Civil War.
President Abraham Lincoln had issued his Emancipation Proclamation effective January 1, 1863 but the emancipation of slaves didn't take place in any of the Southern states until Union troops were in the vicinity.
Why did they take so long to get to Texas? The Union gained control of the Mississippi at the Battle of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863. That split the Confederacy and left Texas and other states West of the Mississippi isolated and unimportant.
But when the Union troops finally reached Galveston, the celebration started. It continued yearly on June nineteenth and the words gradually became shortened into Juneteenth.
The celebration expanded throughout Texas and then into other states and became known by additional names, such as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day.
In Texas, it became an official state holiday in 1980. In some states, it is a holiday for workers but in most it just is an official observance. That is the case in New Mexico.
In 2004, state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, an Albuquerque Democrat, introduced legislation to add New Mexico to the list of states that officially observe Juneteenth. In 2006, she was successful in getting it passed. Celebrations now are held in many communities throughout the state, usually on the third Saturday in June.
Blacks comprise only about two percent of New Mexico's population. The official recognition of the day gives blacks hope that they finally will be recognized as a mainstream part of the state's population.
Juneteenth may not be in many history textbooks yet but there is a growing movement for a National Emancipation Day. Official recognition by over half the states should help that movement along.
The effort hasn't gotten far in Congress, yet, which has had problems with slavery ever since we became a nation. Most members of Congress would rather forget about it and hope the rest of the world does too.
It is much like the debate presently occurring in New Mexico about whether to commemorate the Long Walk taken by the Navajos and Mescalero Apaches to captivity near Fort Sumner in 1863. It opens so many old wounds that some would prefer to not bring it up again.
Other factors possibly holding back national recognition are similar observances such as Black History month in February, Kwanzaa, immediately after Christmas and Martin Luther King Day, which has been made a national holiday.
Somehow Juneteenth deserves some sort of recognition by Congress, if only a simple resolution. It was the first of the African-American celebrations to my knowledge. Although it was extremely localized in its beginnings, it has spread widely, even to foreign countries worldwide.
Googling Juneteenth international reveals a surprising number of Juneteenth observances celebrating freedom in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Maybe it is because Juneteenth celebrations are more lighthearted than their counterparts. They have an interesting origin and they come at a good time of year for picnics, barbecues and all types of family outings.
And they are becoming more diverse, like St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
Fri, 6-19-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


Saturday, June 13, 2009

6-17 Manny Parties on Way to Prison

Syndicated Columnist

SANTA FE -- Manny's finally in jail. But that hasn't been the big news. The party thrown for him before he went has caused tongue wagging around the state. What gall. How inappropriate. Who would throw such a party? Who would go?
Well, quite a few people went. A party for someone who has violated a public trust isn't unusual, although no one likely threw a party for Bernie Madoff. But Manny is different. It's partly because he's Manny, partly because this is New Mexico and mostly because of human nature.
Manny has an appealing personality. He's always stood up for the little guy, which has made him very popular among that segment of society. As a legislator, he introduced many bills relating to prisoner rights. Were he going to a New Mexico prison, that might have made him very popular.
New Mexico was Hispanic 100 years longer than it has been American. There is a Spanish tradition of the hero bandit. Actually it happens wherever there is a rich, landed class and a poor class. England had its Robin Hood.
But as I understand the tradition is even stronger in the Spanish culture. We would have won the Mexican-American War much more quickly had it been over when it appeared we had defeated the Mexican army.
But we hadn't beaten the many bands of guerilla fighters who roamed the countrysides raiding the haciendas of the rich and the military supply trains of the Americans. These bandidos became heroes to the very large Mexican under classes.
At that time, American troops were occupying New Mexico, which wasn't happy with that state of affairs, regardless of what history textbooks say about General Kearny's takeover of the territory. The raids of the Mexican bandit gangs were just fine with the New Mexicans of the day.
Roswell historian David Clary explains all this much better than I in his upcoming book Eagles and Empire, which is the story of the Mexican-American war told from both sides. It can be pre-ordered from Amazon now, and probably from your local bookstore.
That tradition still lives. Those who defy the establishment become heroes to a large segment, whether their actions are legal or not.
People marvel at the continuing popularity of Billy the Kid. He fought a corrupt establishment of politicians, lawyers and big business and became hugely popular with the native population, while we were in the early days of territorial status.
It's not just a New Mexico tradition, however. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojavich was reelected to a second term because he was a lovable scoundrel. That reputation faded, however, when his phone intercepts showed he was just a petty money grubber.
Adam Clayton Powell managed to keep getting reelected to Congress, representing Harlem, despite fierce opposition from New York's crooked Tammany Hall machine. Southern Democrats didn't want a Black in their party, either, and led an effort to unseat him. Despite being corrupt himself, he won election to fill his vacated seat. He still has his supporters.
So Manny had a nice turnout for his farewell party. Pictures from the party indicate that it was attended by a retired chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court and a former Republican Senate president pro tem who often did battle with Manny.
Does this mean that New Mexico is the most corrupt state in the nation? We've had a bumpy road recently but we're really still in the minor leagues. It seems residents of every state like to say their legislature is the most corrupt.
The New York Legislature currently is experiencing a whale of a scandal. It is alleged that two Democratic senators received payoffs to switch parties and change the balance of power in the chamber. And we hear stories often from Illinois and Louisiana
We know that New Mexico is behind most other states in passage of ethics laws. One of the holdups is Michael Sanchez, the Senate majority leader. He has said we don't need more ethics legislation. Now that he is a gubernatorial candidate, maybe he'll rethink that.
WED, 6-17-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


Thursday, June 11, 2009

6-15 Of Pens and Swords

Syndicated Columnist

SANTA FE -- The pen is mightier than the sword. The adage has been used for decades, especially by journalists. It makes us feel good. But does anyone believe it? Certainly today's warmongers don't.
Evidently President Barack Obama doesn't, either. Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy have been told to leave their swords at home for graduation ceremonies at which Obama will speak. But cell phones and texting will be allowed.
But, surprise, surprise, North Korea apparently does believe it. Remember those two fighter pilots whom North Korean authorities claimed wandered into their airspace? Gov. Bill Richardson brought them back.
Now North Korea is holding two female reporters that it claims wandered into their country. No one has been able to negotiate their release and they have been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor at a prison camp.
So How come Gov. Richardson hasn't been sent to negotiate their release? He has the track record. He has contacts over there. They even came here to see him early the first month that he was governor. He's a natural.
But, once again we seem to have another Richardson snub. Is he poison to the Obama administration? Is it Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who has the say on that. Would his trip come out of her budget? Maybe she hasn't forgiven him yet. Certainly her husband hasn't.
Speaking of paying for trips, who paid for Richardson and entourage to go to Rome to be honored by Pope Benedict XVI for signing New Mexico's death penalty repeal? The governor's office says the state paid the expenses for Richardson and Eric Witt, his deputy chief of staff.
But Richardson takes a security force wherever he goes. We're also told that Richardson met with Italian tourism officials and international reporters to promote travel to New Mexico.
* * *
I didn't give President Obama a grade on his first 100 days in office. He made so many changes and spent so much money that it made my head spin. It will take a lot longer than 100 days to determine how he's doing.
I thought it was interesting that his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, gave him a B-plus, saying they are proud of what they're doing but there is room for improvement.
What I can say about Obama is that I now like him better as a person than I did during the campaign. John McCain was my guy back then. I felt comfortable with him. He was my age. He was funny and likable. I admired his service to our country. We thought alike in so many ways. And I thought Cindy would make a great first lady.
Somehow, despite all his ads and speeches, I didn't feel like I knew Obama. His words were just platitudes to me. I couldn't figure out who he was other than a great organizer and good speaker. Although he inspired so many people, it just didn't take with me.
I appreciated his intelligence, thoughtfulness and deliberative nature but I just couldn't relate to him or Michelle. Maybe it was mostly a generational thing. I mainly wished he was Colin Powell, whom I would follow anywhere.
Now, I like Obama as a person and the first lady too. I finally see them as real people and a real family. I appreciate Obama's openness, his willingness to have news conferences, his calm manner and his practice of not talking down to foreign nations. It is refreshing to see him think through questions in public. I wish him well. But I'm still worried.
* * *
The capture of a couple who had been spying for Cuba for years as Agent 202 and Agent 123 brings back fond memories of the old "Get Smart" TV spoof of James Bond movies, with Agent 86 and Agent 99. Barbara Feldon, who was Agent 99, has lived in Santa Fe for years and is as charming as ever.
MON, 6-15-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


Monday, June 08, 2009

6-12 June is the Greatest Month

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- I love June. Everything finally turns green in Santa Fe. The days are the longest of any month. Remember to enjoy the summer solstice because the days get shorter after that. And it hasn't even gotten hot here yet.
Many interesting things happen in June. The one I have been looking forward to the most is June 12, when the big national television conversion takes place. I don't expect my TV to get any better but all those commercials and announcements will end.
And they surely better do it this time. Last time was a false alarm and the announcements continued another several months. It's been almost as bad as a political campaign season.
D-Day is another observance I like. Ask men the place they'd most like to visit and many of them will pick the beaches of Normandy. We got to see a little more D-Day coverage this year than most because the U.S. president visited.
Britain raised a stink about its queen not being invited, considering the Brits lost more troops on D-Day than any of the allies. The French said she was welcome to come. The Queen said she needed to be invited. But even her own prime minister didn't do that.
At the last minute, President Barack Obama got involved but the Queen said it was too late. President Sarkozy said this year's observance was intended to be mainly Franco-American.
The Brits said that was because "Sarco the American" wanted Obama's ear all day long. As it turned out, he didn't have it. Obama had other plans and Prince Charles showed up to represent his mum.
The first Saturday in June is the Belmont Stakes. New Mexico colt Mine That Bird had been a surprise Kentucky Derby winner last month and came in a surprise second place in the second leg of horse racing's triple crown at the Preakness
After twice proving the elite of horseracing wrong, Mine That Bird was the favorite in the Belmont. Alas, it didn't happen. The horse came in third. But finishing in the money at horse racing's three top events, served notice to the world that little New Mexico is capable of raising and training a winner. And other New Mexico owners can say to themselves, "If they can do it, we can too."
It should help the New Mexico racing industry tremendously. It also will help if Mine that Bird can run some of its races in New Mexico. Unlike most Derby winners, who retire to a blissful life on a stud farm, Mine That Bird was gelded long before his first owners realized the little club-footed colt with a funny gait could actually run. So the colt will spend the rest of his life competing.
June also was when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano came home to speak about improved border security. It must be nice to be back in a state where people can pronounce your name correctly.
They pronounce it correctly in Washington also but in Arizona, where she was attorney general for eight years and governor for another six years, they never could get it right.
Napolitano brought Attorney General Eric Holder along with her to help explain about fusion centers, involving everybody in all branches of government at all levels so we have people sharing information instead of jealously guarding it as they did before 9/11.
But the big question of the day was "Hey, where's Bill?" With two top cabinet officials in town, Gov. Bill Richardson was nowhere to be seen. Aides said he was in T or C doing some Homeland Security work. And then he filmed some public service announcements.
But other reports put him at the Staples Center in Los Angeles watching the first playoff game of the NBA championship Series. When the Lakers play in Los Angeles, TV cameramen get many crowd shots of all the celebrities at courtside. Richardson was spotted in one of those.
The last time President Obama was in Albuquerque, very little interaction occurred with Gov. Bill. A picture of a handshake showed Obama looking the other way.
What does that mean?
FRI, 6-12-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


Saturday, June 06, 2009

6-10 Exhumations on the Rise

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- Now they're wanting to dig up Meriwether Lewis, a leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to scout the Louisiana Purchase.
A group of Lewis' descendants have established an Internet site, hoping to generate enough support to convince federal officials to exhume the explorer's body and investigate his death.
So far, the National Park Service, which owns the Tennessee property where Lewis is buried, has denied the request despite intervention from state and national political figures.
Most historians figure Lewis shot himself but the family hopes modern scientific techniques can prove he was murdered. And it appears they expect the National Park Service to pay for the investigation.
The Lewis family evidently is worried about their ancestor's reputation. But in my opinion, the general public doesn't care how Lewis died. He is famous for his major role in exploring the American continent.
Ever since CSI shows hit the tube, the general public believes that those people can solve anything with modern scientific techniques. So we've had numerous efforts of late to dig up graves of famous people for one trivial reason or another.
You've read numerous comments in this column, and a subsequent book, about the recent efforts to dig up Billy the Kid in Fort Sumner and his mother in Silver City. Those efforts were largely defeated in court but the judge in Silver City left the door open a crack. So that chapter isn't over yet.
You've also seen in this column about the effort to dig up Geronimo's bones at Fort Sill Oklahoma and bring them back to his birthplace in New Mexico. That issue is in court.
Some exhumations do receive permission. Recent ones include outlaw Jesse James, President Zachary Taylor, Lincoln conspirator Samuel Mudd, civil rights leader Medgar Evers, Eva Peron, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Lee Harvey Oswald.
Requests have been made for exhuming an unknown soldier buried at Arlington Cemetery, Lincoln assassinator John Wilkes Booth, President Jack Kennedy, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, Clinton Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and Clinton White House counsel Vince Foster.
Unfortunately, digging up the dead has been a practice throughout the history of mankind. It has been done for religious reasons throughout the ages. Grave and tomb robbing were rampant in the days when a king's riches were buried with him.
Anthropologists and archaeologists have disturbed the dead to find out about ancient cultures. Old graves have been dug up in already-full cemeteries to make room for new bodies. For centuries dead bodies were exhumed to provide cadavers for medical study and teaching purposes.
In modern society corpses are disinterred to identify a body, to determine cause of death, to prove relationships, to relocate graves or entire cemeteries or to see if a body really is in the grave.
A century ago, grave robbing became a fad. Native American corpses were especially popular for study at archaeology labs and museums. Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which requires the return of human remains and objects to the tribe from which they came.
And sometimes the collection of skulls and bones was done on a lark. How cool to have a cadaver hanging in your den, dorm room or clubhouse. The infamous Order of Skull and Bones at Yale University is the most notorious example of that practice.
Fortunately that sort of thing is behind us. But pathologists report that the number of exhumations has sharply increased in the last three decades with scientific advances in DNA testing that result in more requests to dig up corpses for criminal trials.
And adding greatly to recent exhumation totals are the war crimes trials in Bosnia, Rwanda, Chile and other countries in which evidence of mass graves is presented.
WED, 6-10-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


Thursday, June 04, 2009

please disregard...

...the column I just sent. It was for the state employee newspaper.

June column

RTR June 09 Jay Miller

When is that grand jury investigating the Governor's Office going to release its findings? Whether good or bad, the findings might affect what Gov. Bill Richardson does next. If he were to leave before his term ends, that could affect many state employees.
Meanwhile life goes on. Lt. Gov. Diane Denish continues her well organized gubernatorial campaign and gets farther ahead of any possible competition that may develop.
We haven't heard much from Val Kilmer lately. But Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez says on his Facebook page that he has formed an exploratory committee. The use of Facebook may be an indication that Sanchez is pretty serious about a run.
Cutting edge technology has become the big thing in political campaigns, especially since President Barack Obama used it so successfully in his unlikely presidential campaign last year. For Sen. Sanchez to jump into Facebook is quite a surprise, considering his previous old-fashioned ways.
Many will remember that a couple of years ago Sanchez sponsored legislation that would have allowed candidates to opt out of filing campaign finance reports electronically. As my son would say, "Oh, Dad. That's so 20th century."
But Sanchez is getting with it now. He says he will make a decision within the next few weeks whether to run or not. If he does, Senate sessions may get even more interesting because the lieutenant governor presides over them. And we may get to see it all on webcasts from the Senate floor.
Republican governor candidate Greg Zanetti, an Albuquerque financial adviser, has been traveling the state for weeks talking to business leaders, GOP leaders and journalists about his campaign.
Former state GOP chairman Allen Weh, of Albuquerque, recently has announced that he will travel 2,500 miles to 26 New Mexico counties to talk with business leaders about their concerns.
These are the only Republican gubernatorial candidates to announce so far but others have expressed interest. Former U.S. Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce both fall into that category. Pearce also is taking a close look at running for his former U.S. House seat in the 2nd Congressional District. There is evidence that is the direction he may go. State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones also is serious about the race. She's the one who brought Webcasting to the Legislature.

The Democrat lieutenant governor's race is beginning to fill up. Sen. Linda Lopez was one of the first to announce her interest in the post. Recently, Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino got into the contest. Senators don't have to run for reelection next year so we may see additional solons looking at statewide office.
Others mentioned as being interested in the lieutenant governor race include Rep. Lucky Varela, state Veterans' Services Department Secretary John Garcia, longtime government chief executive Lawrence Rael, state Auditor Hector Balderas, Espanola Mayor Joe Maestas, Pojoaque Pueblo Gov. George Rivera, Sandia Pueblo Gov. Stuwart Paisano, state Democratic Party Chairman Brian Colon and former chief counsel to Gov. Bill Richardson, Geno Zamora.

All statewide elected offices will be on the ballot next year. State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons is the only elected state official who is term-limited from seeking reelection. He is looking at a spot on the five-member Public Regulation Commission.
The state Land Office race always is hotly contested. Former Land Commissioner Ray Powell, an Albuquerque Democrat, would like to come back. On the Republican side, Bob Cornelius will seek the GOP nomination. Cornelius grew up in Southeast New Mexico and is a former executive director of the Bernalillo County GOP.
First-term state officials who can run for a second term are Secretary of State Mary Herrera, Attorney General Gary King, state Auditor Hector Balderas and state Treasurer James Lewis.

All three of New Mexico's newly-elected members of the U.S. House also face reelection next year. And all three began raising money and getting in close touch with constituents the day they took office.
Rep. Martin Heinrich's 1st Congressional District is seeing the most action with two possible Republican challengers, a Libertarian, an unregistered hopeful and a lawsuit. The Republicans considering the race are Albuquerque businessman Jon Barela and Kevin Daniels, an Albuquerque funeral home owner.
The Libertarians have nominated retired Albuquerque lawyer Alan Woodruff who also is serving as lead attorney in a suit being brought by the Libertarian and Green parties. The suit seeks to invalidate a wide range of state election provisions they say unfairly restrict ballot access for minor parties.

Last month's column addressed some of the problems with the state's new train service from Belen to Santa Fe. At about the same time, results of a passenger survey were released indicating over 90 percent satisfaction with the service.
State Transportation Secretary Gary Giron says the findings will be used to further improve the service and to give officials direction.
Passengers were asked the ideal time to reach their final destination in the morning and evening and about the convenience of connections getting them to their final destination. Some 90 percent of passengers are using the train to get to work or school.
Passengers obviously will be more satisfied with the train service than those who have chosen not to ride because of inconvenient timing or train delays. Getting their opinions will be more difficult since that would require a survey of the general public.



Tuesday, June 02, 2009

6-8 U.S. Reps Keep On Running

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- All three of New Mexico's newly-elected Democratic members of the U.S. House face reelection next year. And all three began raising money and getting in close touch with constituents the day they took office.
Rep. Martin Heinrich's 1st Congressional District is seeing much action with two possible Republican candidates, a libertarian, an unregistered hopeful and a lawsuit.
Republican Jon Barela says he plans to make an announcement very soon. The Albuquerque businessman has been a first vice chairman of the state GOP and was appointed to the Albuquerque Public Schools board. Also looking seriously at the race is Kevin Daniels. An Albuquerque funeral home owner.
The Libertarian Party has nominated Alan Woodruff, a retired Albuquerque lawyer, as its 1st Congressional District candidate. Woodruff also is serving as lead attorney in a suit being brought by the Libertarian and Green parties, Woodruff and Daniel Fenton of Albuquerque, who is not registered to vote but wants to run for Congress.
The suit seeks to invalidate a wide range of state election provisions they say unfairly restrict ballot access for minor parties. The contested provisions include petition requirements, voter registration requirements, replacement of candidates, straight party voting and party disqualifications.
The suit contends our state election code contains considerable obstacles that aren't present in most other states. Woodruff says the state election law is skewed toward the two major parties.
He's right. Back in the mid-'90s, Democrats figured they lost some major elections because Green Party candidates took too many votes away from them. So they made it more difficult for minor parties to get candidates on the ballot.
Republicans were the beneficiaries of those Green candidacies but they didn't really complain about the changes pushed by Democrats because they knew a Libertarian or some other third party could take votes from them.
Rep. Harry Teague's 2nd Congressional District has been very quiet. The speculation is that possible GOP candidates are waiting to see whether former Rep. Steve Pearce decides to run for governor or tries to get his old seat back. I hear the smart money is on the latter.
In Rep. Ben Ray Lujan's 3rd Congressional District, Republican Dan East won a surprise primary election victory last year but then only pulled 30 percent of the vote in the general election. That was with Carol Miller, an independent candidate in the race, who took 13 percent of the vote.
This year, another third party candidate has announced his intention to run. Adam Kokesh, a Libertarian, says he is getting help from U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a Texas Republican who made a surprising splash in the GOP presidential primary last year. With a little Ron Paul guidance in Internet fundraising, Kokesh might get noticed.
In the secretary of state's race, it appears Mary Herrera will try for a second term. She may be challenged in the primary by Democrat County Clerk Stephanie Gonzales of Santa Fe. No Republicans have publicly expressed interest yet.
The state Land Commissioner race is usually hard fought. Republicans always find a strong candidate to run because that office has so much affect on rural New Mexico.
Former land commissioner, Ray Powell, Jr., a Democrat already has announced. On the Republican side, Bob Cornelius will seek the GOP nomination. He grew up in Southeast New Mexico and is a former executive director of the Bernalillo County GOP.
Cornelius briefly entered the 2008 race in the 2nd Congressional District and now works for the state Public Regulation Commission as an investigator.
Current land commissioner, Pat Lyons is term limited. He appears ready to jump into the state Public Regulation Commission race in District 2, currently held by David King.
MON, 6-08-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


Monday, June 01, 2009

6-5 Queen Gets Snubbed on D-Day

Syndicated Columnist

SANTA FE -- Is the 65th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, worthy of a major commemoration? That question is at the heart of a big international controversy this year.
Usually major observances are held every 10 years but this year, the British Normandy Veterans Association thought there was reason for an exception.
The organization has voted to disband after this year's ceremonies because it has very few members left and will have even fewer by the 70th anniversary.
A request was made to Prime Minister Gordon Brown for extra funding to get as many British Normandy Veterans to the observances across the channel as possible.
The prime minister wasn't particularly moved by the request so vets went to the newspapers, which joined their side immediately. And soon the funding was increased.
But Brown still wasn't convinced that a larger ceremony was in order. Every year, remembrance services are held on the two beaches the Americans took and the three beaches taken by the British and Canadians. But only at 10 year intervals are heads of state usually invited by the French to their shores.
All this changed, however, when French President Nicolas Sarkozy invited U.S. President Barack Obama to participate in ceremonies at Utah beach -- and Obama accepted.
Prime Minister Brown immediately went into action requesting a personal invitation to participate with Sarkozy and Obama. But he neglected to request an invitation for the Queen, who is the head of state for both Britain and Canada.
And that's when things really came apart. Brits noted that Queen Elizabeth is the only living head of state to have served in uniform during World War II.
She was a volunteer with the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service, service number 230873. She served as a driver and mechanic. I can remember seeing a picture of her at the time in Life magazine, changing a tire on a jeep in her uniform. The Normandy vets consider her "one of us."
The Queen has said that she would be delighted to accept an invitation. Evidently diplomatic protocol requires that a head of state can visit another country only when invited by that country's head of state.
President Sarkozy replied that this ceremony was planned as strictly a Franco-American and said it would be too late logistically to invite the Queen, although if Brown had put her on his invitation request, she could have come.
Brits are of two minds about the mess. Most blame the French, which is a favorite sport in England anyway. They claim that their queen wasn't invited because Sarkozy wanted an uninterrupted day with Obama. Had the queen been invited, he would have had to attend ceremonies on the British beaches too.
Evidently Sarkozy has been working hard at currying favor with Washington recently. In Britain he has been branded "Sarko the American. London's Daily Mail newspaper says, "Everyone wants to be best friends with the most popular politician on Earth."
But many in Britain blame Mr. Brown for not recognizing the importance of D-Day's 65th anniversary and for thinking of himself first instead of the Queen.
Sarkozy is not required by protocol to include Brown in the program for the day so Brown will stay in the British sector and not be particularly visible there because of his embarrassment over exclusion of the Queen.
This isn't the first time there have been hurt feelings in Europe over a D-Day observance. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl took offense at not being invited to the 50th anniversary despite his efforts to promote German-French reconciliation. Germany was finally invited two years ago.
D-Day doesn't get much recognition in the United States but it will get more this year because of Obama's participation. For the remaining Normandy vets in America, it will be a nice treat.
FRI, 6-5-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)


6-3 column revision

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- As predicted, additional candidates are announcing their commitment or interest in running for top-of-the-ballot offices next year.
Shortly after I listed possible candidates a month ago, former state GOP chairman Allen Weh announced he has formed a gubernatorial exploratory committee to take a long, hard look at the race.
Weh is the chief executive officer of CSI Aviation services in Albuquerque and a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel. A primary focus of Weh, 66, will be recent corruption cases involving state Democratic officials.
Also announced in the GOP gubernatorial primary is Greg Zanetti, an Albuquerque financial adviser and New Mexico National Guard brigadier general.
Seriously considering the GOP gubernatorial race is former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, a former Air Force officer with a strong intelligence background.
That may complete the GOP gubernatorial field. Former Rep. Steve Pearce, a former Air Force pilot, is talking about the race but many of his actions indicate that an attempt to recapture his 2nd Congressional District from current incumbent Harry Teague is a more likely possibility.
Notice the amount of military brass among these for possible candidates. They'd all be an even pick on that basis. But one advantage Wilson might have is that all three men are strong conservatives while Wilson is more moderate. That could help her in both the primary and general election.
State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyon and state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones also have expressed some interest in the GOP gubernatorial race,
On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish may have some competition. Senate majority leader Michael Sanchez has posted on his Facebook page that he is forming an exploratory committee. He'll have to move fast. Denish now has raised over $2 million and had a huge lead in name recognition.
The word in state office buildings is that something will happen soon in the grand jury pay-to-play investigation. Disagreement still exists about whether it will be good or bad for Gov. Bill Richardson. Either way, it could mean that he may be gone before the end of his term a year from December. If that happens, Denish will be running as an incumbent.
The 2010 elections will be especially important to both parties. The governor and Legislature elected then will determine congressional and legislative redistricting. Many changes could be made to affect either party's numbers in either direction.
The lineup of Democrats wanting to run for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Diane Denish continues to grow. Nearly all of them are male Hispanics from Albuquerque and north. Conventional wisdom says that would be a well-balanced ticket.
The exceptions are state Sen. Linda Lopez, of Albuquerque, who already has started her campaign and former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil Giron who talked early on about a run.
Only two males have officially announced for lieutenant governor. Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano has been running for lieutenant governor as long as Diane Denish has been running for governor. That means ever since the 2006 elections ended.
The other male Democrat is state Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque. He finds himself in an interesting situation. Although he has been involved for decades with advocacy groups, charities and governmental agencies that deal with the Legislature, he never ran for the Legislature until 2004 when he was elected to the Senate.
Now in his second term, he sees it will be many years before he has the seniority to make an impact. So, at 67, Ortiz y Pino has set his sights on the lieutenant governor's office to make that impact. He says he has no ambitions to move up farther than that.
Others who have expressed interest are longtime top government chief executive Lawrence Rael, state Auditor Hector Balderas, state Rep. Lucky Varela, state Veterans Department Secretary John Garcia, Espanola Mayor Joe Maestas, Pojoaque Pueblo Gov. George Rivera, Sandia Pueblo Gov. Stuwart Paisano and former chief counsel to Gov. Richardson, Geno Zamora.
WED, 6-03-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)

Graff on Dem gubernatorial candidates revised to reflect Sen. Michael Sanchez's Sunday post on his Facebook page that he has formed an exploratory committee.