The Democratic Party of Doña Ana County Wishes You a Happy Thanksgiving

From our friends and families to yours, the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

History of the Thankgiving Holiday

In the United States, according to cultural tradition, the Thanksgiving holiday is traced to a 1621 feast by the Pilgrim settlers and the Wampanoag tribe held to celebrate a good harvest and the alliance of their communities at Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival became commonplace among the Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620′s and 1630′s. Proclamations of Thanksgiving were made by both civil and religious leaders in New England into the Eighteenth Century.

There were also earlier celebrations of Thanksgiving and feasts held by Europeans including that of Spanish explorers in present-day San Elizario, Texas near El Paso in 1598.

As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving in America marking November 26, 1789, as a national day of thanksgiving. In 1863, in the depths of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, by proclamation, established Thanksgiving as a national holiday to be held on the last Thursday in November, as a day set aside for national prayer for “peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”

At the time of another national crisis, the Great Depression, owing to the hardship and financial challenges faced by Americans in holding two holidays in less than a month, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, agreed to calls by business leaders who feared they would lose the much-needed revenue an extra week of shopping would afford them if the holiday fell on a Thursday only three weeks from the Christmas holiday. Roosevelt moved the permanent date of the Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States one week earlier to the fourth week in November. President Roosevelt, however, chose to keep the Thanksgiving holiday on a Thursday as it had been held for nearly three-quarters of a century since Lincoln’s proclamation.


Read President Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Doña Ana County Democrats Commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

The Democratic Party of Doña Ana County joins today in commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Today marks a worldwide observance to draw attention for the need of continuing action to eliminate violence against women, projects to enable women and their children to escape violence and campaigns to educate people about the consequences of violence against women.

women-violence_26As an ongoing campaign that people are encouraged to participate in, especially around this time of the year when awareness levels for the day are high, is the “Say No to Violence Against Women campaign”. Through the campaign, anyone can add their name to a growing movement of people who speak out to put a halt to human rights violations against women.

According to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, six in ten women worldwide suffer physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives, usually at the hands of their husbands or partners. In 139 countries, however, constitutional law guarantees equality between women and men, and 125 countries criminalize domestic violence in an attempt to safeguard women’s rights. Eradicating this gap between practice and principle is the essential aim of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

On November 25, 1960, three sisters, Patria Mercedes Mirabal, María Argentina Minerva Mirabal and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal, were assassinated in the Dominican Republic on the orders of the Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo. The Mirabel sisters fought hard to end Trujillo’s dictatorship. Activists on women’s rights have observed a day against violence on the anniversary of the deaths of these three women since 1981.

Since the year 2000, November 25 has been designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by the UN General Assembly in cooperation with thousands of non-governmental organizations opposed to violence against women across the globe.

Senator Martin Heinrich Statement on Gila Diversion

In a statement issued on Facebook today, Senator Martin Heinrich announced his opposition to the Gila River diversion proposal:

“The Gila is the last free-flowing river in the Southwest. Its natural hydrology and gallery riparian forests make it a unique, last of its kind gem that is important to sportsmen, farmers, and tourists alike. Based on all the analysis to date, it is hard to imagine a dam or diversion project on the Gila River that is not irresponsibly expensive as well as destructive to other economic and resource values. We owe New Mexico’s taxpayers cost effective, science-based solutions if we are to manage our limited water supplies in this era of drought, climate change, and constrained budgets. Damming or diverting the Gila River simply does not meet that standard.”

No Response from Gov. on New Evidence That TRD Secretary Tried to Help Client

Question Remains: Does Gov. Martinez Condone Abuse
of Power in Her Administration?

With clear, written evidence now out in the open showing that Taxation and Revenue Department Secretary Demesia Padilla tried to use her position to get preferential treatment for a former client being audited, the only question left to answer is whether Gov. Susana Martinez approves of the Secretary’s actions.

“New Mexicans need to know,” said Democratic Party of New Mexico executive director Joe Kabourek. “Does Gov. Susana Martinez approve of her hand-picked Secretary of Taxation and Revenue using her position and influence to try to get preferential treatment for a former client? As the Martinez Administration’s house of cards continues to fall, it’s time for answers.”

In breaking news on Monday and Tuesday, news outlets across New Mexico reported on the release of a veritable smoking gun in State Auditor Tim Keller’s investigation of abuse of power by Padilla. The letter was released due to a public records request and showed definitively that Padilla directly intervened in an audit being conducted on her former client, Harold’s Trucking.

“This is not acceptable,” Kabourek said. “An appointed leader in the administration must be beyond reproach. Sec. Padilla has failed to live up to the responsibility of her position by engaging in an inherent conflict. Not only that, she used her position to pressure state employees time and time again. Now it’s time for New Mexicans to finally hear from Gov. Martinez. Does she condone this kind of activity under her watch?”

Despite months of ongoing investigations of various activities involving the Taxation and Revenue Department, Gov. Martinez has had little to say about the scandals or her hand-picked department secretary.

Senator Udall Statement on NM Unit Agreement and Gila Diversion

“Based on everything I’ve seen so far, this project simply isn’t financially realistic or environmentally wise… The Gila is the last free-flowing main-stem river in New Mexico — to sacrifice it to a project that the state can’t afford and that might not ever yield enough water, would be irresponsible. Those millions of dollars would be better spent to rebuild roads, bridges and the crumbling water infrastructure in communities across our state.” – Senator Tom Udall

U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement on the Secretary of the Interior’s decision to further evaluate the impacts and costs of any potential New Mexico Unit Agreement to the Central Arizona Project:

“Today’s decision means the Interior Department will move forward with a legally required process to establish a framework for federal participation to study the environmental cost of diverting water from the Gila River. The process sets high standards and additional requirements that will have to be met for any potential New Mexico Unit of the Central Arizona Project to move forward.

“Based on everything I’ve seen so far, this project simply isn’t financially realistic or environmentally wise. Given federal budget constraints, funding outside the Arizona Water Settlements Act is extremely unlikely. Further, many New Mexicans are rightly concerned about the extremely high cost of this project and the damage that it could do to our thriving tourism and sporting businesses. The Gila is the last free-flowing main-stem river in New Mexico — to sacrifice it to a project that the state can’t afford and that might not ever yield enough water, would be irresponsible. Those millions of dollars would be better spent to rebuild roads, bridges and the crumbling water infrastructure in communities across our state.

“Three years ago, I co-hosted New Mexico’s Water Resources Research Institute’s annual water conference to discuss our water challenges and brainstorm forward-thinking solutions. The conclusion reached by the experts and stakeholders who participated was that given the financial and environmental realities we face, we must address water scarcity primarily through flexible water-sharing arrangements and by advancing innovative ways to conserve water and eliminate waste. I appreciate why the state is examining its options under the Arizona Water Settlements Act but given the huge financial hurdles and environmental risks, it is time for the state to focus on forward-looking solutions.”

New Mexicans Need Accurate Information about REAL ID

Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Valencia, Bernalillo) has expressed deep concerns to several federal officials about misinformation given to the public about the impact of REAL ID.  In an attempt to clarify the misrepresentations that have been “reported” regarding driver’s licenses, a top official from Department of Homeland Security sent a letter to the Albuquerque Journal.

“Right now, no one needs to adjust travel plans, rush out to get a new driver’s license or a passport for domestic air travel. And when you do, we will make sure you have plenty of notice,” wrote Philip A. McNamara, Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Homeland Security. “DHS is in the process of scheduling plans for Real ID enforcement at airports and will ensure that the traveling public has ample notice – at least 120 days – before any changes are made that might affect their travel.”

During the 2015 legislative session, the Senate passed (35-5) a bipartisan bill that would have made New Mexico REAL ID compliant, however it failed to pass the House of Representatives.  Senator Sanchez is confident a REAL ID compliant bill will be introduced and passed again in the Senate during the upcoming 2016 session to make New Mexico compliant with federal law.

Senator Sanchez believes it is important that the public has information based on fact and not unfounded fears and hysteria regarding any upcoming travel plans.  “I would encourage members of the public and media to contact my Santa Fe office or visit the following links if they have any questions about REAL ID,” said Senator Sanchez. “New Mexicans deserve accurate information about this policy issue, and I am committed to supplying accurate information to New Mexicans and the press.”

What you need to know about effects of Real ID Act

By Philip A. McNamara / Assistant Secretary For Intergovernmental Affairs, Department Of Homeland Security

In response to the Nov. 18 editorial in the Journal (“NM law means you need passport, terrorists don’t”) the Department of Homeland Security would like to highlight the key facts about the Real ID Act.

While New Mexico is not yet in compliance with the Real ID Act, here are facts New Mexicans should know:

  • The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The act established minimum security standards for driver’s licenses and prohibits federal agencies from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting these standards.
  • The Real ID Act places the responsibility for action on the state, not residents of the state.

The state of New Mexico has not yet taken the necessary steps to comply with the Real ID Act or receive an extension on compliance.

  • Right now, no one needs to adjust travel plans, rush out to get a new driver’s license or a passport for domestic air travel. And when you do, we will make sure you have plenty of notice.
  • If traveling by air, residents from any state are still able to use a driver’s license, or any of the various other forms of identification accepted by the Transportation Security Administration (Passport or passport card, global entry cards, U.S. military IDs, airline- or airport-issued IDs, federally recognized, and tribal-issued photo IDs. See the full list on the TSA website.)

DHS is in the process of scheduling plans for Real ID enforcement at airports and will ensure that the traveling public has ample notice – at least 120 days – before any changes are made that might affect their travel.

Starting Jan. 10, New Mexico residents will need to show an alternative form of ID when visiting federal facilities, nuclear power plants and military bases. If planning a visit to one of these facilities, you should contact the agency in charge to confirm what alternative forms of identification are accepted or what procedures the facility allows for persons without acceptable identification.

The Department of Homeland Security is committed to working with the state of New Mexico to support its becoming compliant with the Real ID Act standards and to grant an extension upon taking the necessary steps.

Overall, states have made considerable progress in meeting this key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission to make driver’s licenses and other identification more secure. Every state has a more secure driver’s license today than before the passage of the act.  


Debra Haaland: My view: Gov. Martinez’s house of cards is falling

Reposted from the Santa Fe New Mexican

Gov. Susana Martinez has built a house of cards in Santa Fe, and it’s New Mexicans who are being left to pick up the pieces as the cards begin to fall.

The secretary of state who Martinez supported resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to criminal charges; her secretary of the Taxation and Revenue Department is under investigation; and now her closest political adviser — a man she says she still speaks to daily — is under FBI scrutiny for political fundraising irregularities.

The house of cards is starting to fall.

Martinez swept into office in 2010 and again in 2014 with the overwhelming support of New Mexicans who believed promises that her administration would stand up to corruption and fight for open and transparent government.

Under Martinez’s watch, however, the exact opposite has occurred. Her administration has become mired in investigation after investigation – casting a long and dark shadow across the entire state.

Moreover, as the corruption she allows to exist has started to surface, New Mexicans are still struggling to find jobs and the state’s economy continues to languish. Forbes magazine recently ranked New Mexico the fourth-worst state in which to do business. In fact, New Mexico is experiencing the worst recovery from the recession in the country and it is the only state with more people moving out than in.

It’s time for Martinez to stop looking the other way and to start focusing on doing something to clean up the mess that’s been made in Santa Fe since she took office.

Martinez has even broken her recent promises to focus on New Mexico’s problems not her national profile. On Thursday, Martinez was in Las Vegas, Nev., where she assumed the chairwoman position of the Republican Governors Association — with her disgraced political adviser, Jay McCleskey, at her side.

While padding her political résumé in Sin City, she left behind many unanswered questions here in New Mexico about the various scandals paralyzing her administration.

Recently, news broke that the governor’s political action committee directed political funds to an untraceable shell corporation managed by McCleskey to avoid public scrutiny. This comes on the heels of news that federal authorities are investigating McCleskey’s political fundraising practices and whether the state Taxation and Revenue Department used its auditing power to retaliate against the governor’s former political allies.

But, as we know, it doesn’t end there. The governor continues to ally herself with her hand-picked Taxation and Revenue secretary, Demesia Padilla, who is accused of pressuring state employees to give favorable treatment to a former employer. The governor also has close ties to Dianna Duran, the former secretary of state who resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to money laundering and embezzlement charges.

Instead of flying around the country to raise her own political profile and to raise cash for Republican candidates, Martinez should focus on New Mexicans concerned about the integrity of state government. The first step is for Martinez to answer some basic questions. Why has she been unable to deliver on the central promise of her campaign to create jobs by rooting out corruption? Why have corruption and scandal flourished in Santa Fe under her watch? Is her political ambition more important than meeting every New Mexican’s expectation of clean government? New Mexicans deserve answers.

Over the past five years, Martinez has built a house with no foundation, and now it’s falling. Hardworking New Mexican families struggling to get ahead expected more and deserve better.

Debra Haaland is the chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. Haaland is the first elected Native American to be chairwoman of a major state political party.

Weekly Address: In the Face of Terror, We Stand as One

In this week’s address, the Vice President spoke to his and the President’s commitment to protecting our country from terrorists, while also providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. He emphasized that he and the President consider the safety of the American people to be their first priority. But slamming the door in the face of refugees fleeing precisely the type of senseless violence that occurred in Paris last week would be a betrayal of our values. The vast majority of Syrian refugees are women, children, and orphans; survivors of torture; and people desperately in need of medical help. And all refugees undergo the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States. The Vice President reminded us that ISIL wants us to turn our backs on Muslims victimized by terrorism. We win by prioritizing our security while refusing to compromise our fundamental American values of freedom, openness, and tolerance.

Watch and share today’s weekly address.

VIDEO: Gone in 60 Seconds: Gov. Martinez’s Fox News Disaster

Fox News is supposed to be a comfortable place for Republicans launching into the national spotlight.
But not for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. In 60 seconds, the honeymoon was over for the newly minted chair of the RGA.
A simple question from Fox’s Bret Baier about the ongoing FBI investigation into her administration quickly turned into a 60-second-long stumbling disaster from Governor Martinez.
Among Martinez’s excuses in 60 seconds:
– “The laws changed”
– “I had just gotten elected”
– “I’m an attorney!”
Watch the video here.
Governor Martinez clearly has questions to answer about her involvement in this ongoing FBI investigation,” said Jared Leopold, communications director at the DGA. “Her rambling, confusing interview on Fox only raised further concerns about her role in this fundraising scheme. Her chairmanship of the RGA could not have gotten off to a worse start.
A transcript of the exchange is included below:
Bret Baier: “There is now an FBI investigation related to your administration, some of your top aides, at least one of them, that deals with emails—public and private. What about that as you take over the head of the  RGA?”
Susana Martinez: “Oh no. The investigation referenced in the emails were actually by an individual that worked on my campaign and, um. actually served federal prison time.”
Baier: “Yeah, but separately from that came an investigation into campaign fundraising.”
Martinez: “Okay, so, fundraising versus emails.”
“Well, the fundraising is absolutely proper. Um, we have done all of the state law, New Mexico state law, the attorney general. We’ve done everything right.
“I have all the confidence in the world that there is nothing that has gone wrong in my administration. I had just gotten elected, um, and then the laws changed right after I got elected and we did everything that is lawful. I’m an attorney. I understand how to read those statutes and so it’s certainly something that I have no concerns about.”
Baier: “No concerns about those investigations?”
Martinez: “No.”

Scandal Follows Martinez to RGA Event

Gov. Susana Martinez took her disgraced political adviser, Jay McCleskey with her to Las Vegas for the Republican Governors Association convention where she is expected today to be named chair of the RGA, despite the scandals eating away at her Administration. Jay McCleskey, whose fundraising practices on behalf of the governor are now under federal investigation,

According to The Albuquerque Journal, McCleskey, whose fundraising irregularities are the latest example of corruption in the Martinez Administration to be investigated, was by the Governor’s side yesterday as the RGA convention opened.

“Gov. Susana Martinez continues to ignore the scandals that are eating away at her Administration,” said Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director Joe Kabourek. “To keep Jay McCleskey by her side even as a federal grand jury considers indictments against him sends a message to New Mexicans that Susana Martinez is comfortable with scandal and corruption. New Mexicans have had enough. Her key political adviser, her secretary of state, her secretary of taxation and revenue – where does it stop?”

The following is a list of scandals within the Martinez Administration:

“It is unbelievable that the Republican Party would even consider Gov. Martinez to lead their governors given the scandals eating away at her Administration,” Kabourek said. “New Mexicans and Americans deserve more from their leaders.”


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