Inside the Capitol

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

6-24 Congressional races, two-year colleges andBilly

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- The U.S. Senate race got off to a running start over a month. But the 1sr Congressional District contest still is just beginning.
Political observers aren't expecting anything exciting in Congressional Districts 2 and 3 where incumbents Steve Pearce and Ben Ray Lujan appear very safe.
Pearce is telling supporters Democrats plan to give him a tougher district in the September redistricting session but early indications are just the opposite. Democrats may want to cede Pearce's district to the GOP in order to make the other two districts more safely Democratic.
The decision by Democratic Rep. Martin Heinrich to leave his 1st district house seat to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated b y Sen. Jeff Bingaman's retirement yields a wide open race to replace him.
But not much is happening yet. State Sen. Eric Griego, of Albuquerque, is busy raising money and getting endorsements in the Democratic race. But he's by himself for now.
Other possibilities include former Albuquerque mayor Martin Chavez, former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, Rep. Moe Maestas, County Commissioner Michele Lujan Grisham and Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks.
The only Republican firmly in the race is Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis. Other possibilities are state Economic Development Department Secretary Jon Barela, who was defeated by Heinrich in last year's general election and former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones.
It may take all summer for that race to firm up.
* * *
The spread of two-year colleges to many mid-size towns in New Mexico has been a source of great pride to the state and local communities.
These institutions provide higher education opportunities to many young people who would not have the opportunity otherwise. They provide a trained workforce for the small industries the communities want to attract.
But Gov. Susana Martinez thinks the expansion has gone too far. Some communities now have multiple two-year institutions, thereby stretching the lean state budget beyond its capacity.
The culprit in all this seems to be branches of four-year colleges that move into communities that already have higher education offerings. In many cases the result is duplication of services.
It is difficult to take something away that already is offered but Martinez is determined to cut costs.
* * *
Tomorrow is the big auction in Denver, where the one surviving authenticated picture of Billy the Kid will be auctioned. It has been called The Holy Grail of Western history.
The picture is a tintype taken in the winter of 1879-1880 in Fort Sumner. Billy is said to have kept one of the four tintypes produced by the photo process and have given one to his pal Dan Dedrick. The other two were given to female acquaintances in Fort Sumner.
The only surviving tintype was the one given to Dedrick, who later moved to Northern California and did well in the mining business. The tintype was passed down through his family
It was on loan from 1986-1998 to the Lincoln County Heritage Trust and on display at a museum in Lincoln until the Heritage Trust disbanded. The tintype then went back to its owner Frank Upham, a direct descendant of Dedrick.
The auction will take place at professional auctioneer Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, which has become an annual June convention in Denver, attracting many well-heeled collectors of Western history..
Last year, the Roy Rogers collection was auctioned. This year, it will be the collection of Frank Upham, which will include a tintype of Dan Dedrick taken just before Billy's picture.
Billy paid a quarter for the set of four pictures. The bidding in Denver could go over $1 million. Word of the auction has spread worldwide on the heels of a major publicity campaign. Quite a few New Mexicans say they are going up to Denver for the big show.
But none are expected to bring it back to New Mexico.
FRI, 6-24-11

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



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