DASWCD Tax Increase Overwhelmingly Defeated at the Polls

The Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District Mill Levy tax question was resoundingly defeated by Doña Ana County voters on Tuesday. Voters braved long lines at the five designated polling places to cast their ballots overwhelmingly against the proposed tax increase. 85% of voters rejected the DASWCD tax increase.

A broad-based coalition of Doña Ana County voters, including the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County, came together to oppose the DASWCD tax increase. The Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District  had exercised its’ statutory right to hold a vote on the tax increase Tuesday.

The seven member DASWCD, a regional quasi-governmental body, has passed resolutions opposing, among other issues, the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, Mexican wolf and jaguar recovery, and  a free-flowing Gila river.

The Democratic Party of Doña Ana County Democratic Party thanks the voters of our county for rejecting this ill-conceived tax increase.

Unofficial Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District Tax Election Results

For % For Against % Against
Absentee 2 8% 22 92%
Radium Spring Community Center 34 34% 67 66%
Las Cruces Home Builders Association 131 24% 628 76%
Doña Ana County Govt. Center 224 13% 1415 87%
Good Samaritan Society Village 86 11% 671 89%
Gadsden Learning Center (DACC) 23 27% 62 73%
 Total 500 15% 2865 85%

Equal Pay Day Fact Check: Congressman Pearce Opposes Paycheck Fairness

Today marks Equal Pay Day—the annual reminder of how much longer women must work to earn the same pay as men do for the same work. In 2014, women working full time are still only paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.

Equal Pay Day is also a reminder that Congressman Pearce has blocked equal pay legislation to address the inequality for New Mexico’s working women and their families. The Paycheck Fairness Act would strengthen the penalties courts can impose for pay discrimination, and forbids retaliation against workers that inquire or disclose information about employers’ wage practices.

“Equal Pay Day is an important reminder to New Mexico’s women that Congressman Pearce has continually put special interests ahead of women and middle class families,” said Rocky Lara. “As a small business owner, I find it reprehensible that in this day and age pay discrimination is even an issue, but it should come as no surprise given Congressman Pearce’s record of opposition to legislation that would address pay inequality for women. It’s time Congressman Pearce stands up for New Mexico’s middle class families and supports equal pay for equal work.”

Background

Congressman Pearce Claimed He “Unequivocally Believe(s) in Equal Pay.” In a statement, Congressman Pearce said he “unequivocally believe(s) in equal pay.” [Congressman Pearce Statement, 4/08/14]

Congressman Pearce Voted Against Considering the Paycheck Fairness Act. In 2013, Pearce voted against consideration of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen the penalties courts can impose for pay discrimination, and forbids retaliation against workers that inquire or disclose information about employers’ wage practices. [H Res 146, Vote #97, 4/11/13Huffington Post, 4/11/13]

…And Again Voted Against Considering the Paycheck Fairness Act a Few Weeks Later. In 2013, Pearce voted against considering the Paycheck Fairness Act. The previous question was ordered so the bill was not brought up. [H Res 198, Vote #132, 5/07/13]

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Statement on National Equal Pay Day

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement on National Equal Pay Day:

unnamed“On National Equal Pay Day, we are reminded of how we impede our own success when we refuse to compensate women equally. Women still make just 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Over a lifetime, that adds up to more than $430,000 in lost compensation for her, her family, and our economy. For Hispanic and African American women, the gap is shamefully even greater.

“Women now constitute nearly half of the nation’s work force. More women are acting as their family’s primary breadwinner, and many families rely on the paycheck of a wife or mother just to make ends meet. Pay equality is not just a women’s issue – it’s a family issue, and an economic issue.

“As the party of inclusion, empowerment, and opportunity, these issues are priorities for Democrats. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill signed into law by President Obama, and Democrats in Congress continue to fight for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. In addition, Democrats support increasing the minimum wage, because no one who works full time should have to live in poverty. We also recognize that real economic equality includes enabling women to decide for themselves when to start a family.

“The contrast with Republicans is clear. Republicans stood steadfast against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, oppose increasing the minimum wage, and have repeatedly blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act. They continue to double down on their obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act, and with it the provision that bars insurance companies from treating being a woman as a preexisting condition increasing the cost of health care for women and their families. The net effect is that while Republicans are fighting against bigger paychecks for women, they would also subject them to higher health care costs. That is an unsustainable proposition for America’s families.

“Equal pay is about more than just women’s rights. It’s about the economic security of our families. It’s about ensuring that our daughters enter a work environment that treats them with fairness and respect. And it’s about growing our economy, because we know that when women succeed, America succeeds. It’s high time Republicans get on board.”

Vote NO Today on the DASWCD Mill Levy Election

Please be aware that the Doña Ana Soil & Water Conservation District (DASWCD) has exercised its’ statutory right to hold a Mill Levy Election on April 8 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Please be aware that the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County Executive Committee URGES A NO VOTE on this Mill Levy election

The Mill Levy Election, should it pass WILL RAISE property taxes.

Five Voting Places. April 8, 2014 8 am to 5:00 pm:
Las Cruces Home Builders Association, 2825 N. Main St., Las Cruces
Good Samaritan Society Village, 3011 Buena Vida Circles, Las Cruces
Doña Ana County Government Bldg., 845 N. Motel Blvd., Las Cruces
Doña Ana Community College Gadsden Learning Center, 1700 E. O’Hara Road, Anthony
Radium Springs Community Center, 12060 L.B. Lindbech Road, Radium Springs
It is important that we all get out to vote today on this important issue.

You will find on their website that the DASWCD has passed resolutions opposing the : Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, Mexican wolf and jaguar recovery, and  a free-flowing Gila river.

DASWCD’s web site is http://www.daswcd.org/home/documents

Vice President Biden on Voting Rights: “It’s Time to Stand Up and to Fight Back”

Vice President Joe Biden today called on Democrats across the country to fight back against Republican efforts to suppress the vote, and to stand up for efforts to protect and expand voting rights for all Americans.

Biden sent his message in a video to Democrats as part of the Democratic National Committee’s new Voter Expansion Project.

“I’ve got to tell you, if someone had said to me ten years ago that I’d have to make a pitch for protecting voting rights today, I would have said ‘you got to be kidding,’” Biden says.

In the video, Biden highlights the bipartisan support voting rights legislation enjoyed since President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but notes that when the Supreme Court cut out a key part of the law last year, it “opened up the floodgate to voter suppression”. Biden reminds us that this year alone “there are almost 50 restrictive voting bills under consideration nationwide” and “At least 11 states have introduced legislation either requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls or make existing photo ID laws more restrictive.”

Biden finishes the video with a call to action for supporters, “That’s why the Democratic National Committee’s new Voter Expansion Project is training staff and volunteers to protect the right to vote all across this nation. And it’s simple. We need your help. Stand up with us. . . . This is a fight we have to make again but it’s a fight we can win again, And we need your help.”

Biden instructs viewers to visit www.Democrats.org/ExpandTheVote and add their names in support of voter expansion.

The video’s release comes the same day that the DNC relaunched the Vice President’s campaign Twitter account @JoeBiden, which will be another way for the Vice President to engage supporters ahead of the midterm elections.

The DNC’s Voter Expansion Project, announced by former President Bill Clinton in a video to DNC supporters in February, is working to ensure that every eligible voter can register, that every registered voter can vote, and that every vote is accurately counted. The initiative is taking the DNC beyond simply protecting the right to vote, to being the leader in expanding the vote by building and maintaining a new permanent infrastructure for the Democratic Party and its candidates.

Watch the Vice President’s Voter Expansion video here.

Weekly Address: The President’s Budget Ensures Opportunity for All Hard-Working Americans

In this week’s address, the President highlighted the important differences between the budget he’s put forward — built on opportunity for all — and the budget House Republicans are advocating for, which stacks the deck against the middle class.

While the President is focused on building lasting economic security and ensuring that hard-working Americans have the opportunity to get ahead, Republicans are advancing the same old top-down approach of cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans and slashing important investments in education, infrastructure, and research and development.

VIDEO MENSAJE DE LA CASA BLANCA: El Presupuesto del Presidente –Expandiendo la oportunidad para todos

En el mensaje de esta semana, la Directora del Consejo de Política Doméstica de la Casa Blanca Cecilia Muñoz habla sobre el presupuesto del Presidente que ampliará las oportunidades para todos, incluyendo a millones de familias hispanas.

English/Inglís: Watch and share President Obama’s weekly address.

En Español: Video mensaje de la Casa Blanca.

Senator Martin Heinrich: It’s Time To Raise The Minimum Wage

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) delivered a speech on the Senate floor yesterday in support of raising the minimum wage. Senator Heinrich is a cosponsor of S. 1737, the Minimum Wage Fairness Act, which would raise the hourly federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2015.

Senator Heinrich is a strong advocate for raising the national minimum wage. Last September, Heinrich and 14 other Senators sent a letter to President Obama urging him to sign an executive order setting the minimum wage for workers under new federal contract to be paid $10.10 an hour. The president signed the executive order in January. In 2005, then-Albuquerque City Councilman Heinrich successfully led the fight to increase the city minimum wage.

Below are Senator Heinrich’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, I can still remember my first job like it was yesterday.

I worked as a busboy at a local family restaurant, during our small-town fair.

While the job only lasted a few days, I still remember how incredibly proud I was to have earned a few dollars myself.

The next year, that same family hired me to bus tables and wash dishes year-round at their restaurant.

I soon went from busing tables to bagging groceries and then to stocking shelves at the local grocery store.

Now, I grew up on a small farming and ranching operation. So whether it was drying dishes after dinner or helping my dad with the cattle, hard work was simply a requirement for every member of our family.

In addition to tending our cattle, my dad worked as a utility lineman. And my mother worked in a factory inspecting wheels on the assembly line.
Like many Americans, I learned the dignity of work long before I ever held a job.

I learned at home.

Mr. President, everyone deserves a fair shot at success in this country.

That is at the heart of why raising the minimum wage truly matters.

Minimum wage workers are not just teenagers.

They are single parents working two jobs to make ends meet.

They are women working a minimum-wage job at a movie theater for eight years waiting for a raise.

They are students working toward a degree that they hope will make all the difference in their lives.

They are mothers and fathers working 40 hours a week to support their families.

These are the Americans who work hard and earn the federal minimum wage and still find it difficult — some would say impossible — to get ahead.

At $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum wage has lost more than 30 percent of its value over the past four decades.

Groceries, housing, education, and energy costs all continue to rise, but the minimum wage simply has not kept pace.

This financial hardship is especially felt by women, who make up a majority of minimum-wage workers.

And stagnant wages hinder a family’s chance to work their way into the middle class.

For many…raising the minimum wage means the difference between poverty and dignity.

It can mean the difference between a trip to the food bank and a trip to the grocery store.

It means the difference between earning enough just to get by, and earning enough to think about the future.

That is why I am supporting the Minimum Wage Fairness Act to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2015.

According to recent estimates, more than 100,000 New Mexicans would receive a direct raise from this legislation and another 43,000 would see their pay increase as overall wages improve, dramatically increasing economic opportunities for New Mexico families.

Raising the minimum wage is not just good for workers, it is good for business and for the economy at large.

A higher minimum wage helps reduce turnover, increases productivity and boosts consumer demand.

A higher minimum wage puts more money in the pockets of people who spend locally, and helps create a ladder of opportunity into the middle class.

Americans are no strangers to hard work, and embrace the belief that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to get ahead.

There are cities in New Mexico who are already taking the initiative and raising the minimum wage.

The City of Santa Fe’s minimum wage is $10.51 per hour.

As a city councilor I fought to raise the minimum wage in Albuquerque, and today Albuquerque’s minimum wage is $1.25 higher than the current federal rate.

And in in Las Cruces, there is a growing grassroots effort to raise the city’s minimum wage.

I know this fight — we need to raise the national minimum wage so that all workers have a fair shot to get ahead.

Because, the truth is, the deck has been stacked against working families for some time now.

Too many working families are forced to make decisions that hurt the progress and strength of our nation.

Like taking on an extra shift instead of pursuing their education, or having to choose between paying the heating bill or the phone bill.

Raising the minimum wage is key to making the economic recovery work for all of us.

But raising the minimum wage alone is not enough to constitute a middle-class economic agenda.

We need to put preschool within the financial grasp of every working family and address the outrageous increase in college tuition and loan costs.

We must invest in vocational training and help build the modern American manufacturing economy of the 21st century.

And we must close the gender wage gap to ensure women are paid what they deserve.

Fair, livable wages together with educational opportunities for middle-class families is a formula for a real “opportunity agenda.”

It’s time to ensure that every New Mexican — every American — has a fair shot.

It’s time to raise the minimum wage.

Watch and share today’s video.

Senator Tom Udall Statement on Supreme Court’s McCutcheon Decision

Senator Tom Udall

Senator Tom Udall

Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down aggregate limits on campaign donations. The McCutcheon v. FEC decision will allow a federal politician to solicit – or a wealthy donor to give – a $3.6 million check to benefit a political party and federal candidates over a two-year election cycle.

Udall issued the following statement:

“Americans already believe the election system has been fundamentally corrupted by big money from corporate special interests. And today, the Court has confirmed their fears in its seriously misguided decision, which makes it legal for a few wealthy individuals to flood campaigns with cash, drowning out the voices of regular voters.

“The Court’s ruling returns the campaign finance system to Watergate-era rules – the same rules that fostered corruption, outraged voters and prompted campaign finance regulations in the first place. There has to be accountability. Campaigns should be about the best ideas, not the biggest checkbooks. It’s time to put elections back in the hands of American voters, and not with a tiny number of extremely wealthy people and special interests.

McCutcheon should be the breaking point that forces Washington to permanently reform the campaign finance system. And today, I am again calling on the Senate to support my constitutional amendment, which would enable Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that withstands constitutional challenges and ensures all voters continue to have a voice in our democracy.”

An outspoken critic of Citizens United and a leader in the Senate fighting for campaign finance reform, Udall introduced S.J. Res. 19 last June to reverse the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision, in which the Court held that restricting independent campaign expenditures violates the First Amendment right to free speech. Udall’s constitutional amendment would explicitly authorize Congress to regulate the raising and spending of money for federal political campaigns, including independent expenditures, and allow states to regulate such spending at their level.

New Mexico LULAC is Concerned and Opposed to NMSU Attempts to Raise the Admissions Criteria will Disenfranchise Economically Disadvantaged Students

The New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens (NM LULAC) has expressed that it is extremely concerned and vehemently opposed to efforts attempted by the NMSU Faculty Senate to raise the present admission criteria for students. This initiative will raise standard of admission for entering freshmen students from a 2.5 to a 2.75 GPA. It will also raise the standards of transferring students from a 2.0 to a 2.5 from any accredited institution in the U.S.

NM LULAC fears that this will deny access to rural, underserved and underprivileged communities throughout the state. The proposed policy will refer admissions to Doña Ana Community College, which currently has a disparaging 18% 3-year completion/transfer rate. It is feared and believed that Students not living near a NMSU system college will likely enroll elsewhere. This will deny access for transfer students from other institutions throughout the U.S.

LULAC has called a press conference for today on campus to express its’ concerns.

LULAC is this nation’s oldest and largest Latino organization. Since 1929, LULAC has served as a vanguard in fight for civil rights and social economic party for Latinos at all levels and facets in our American society.

More Than 7 Million Americans Have Enrolled in Private Health Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act

Today, the White House announced that more than 7 million Americans signed up for affordable care through the Health Insurance Marketplace during the Affordable Care Act‘s open enrollment, which ended on March 31.

The number, announced during Press Secretary Jay Carney’s briefing, means that millions of Americans across the country now have access to quality, affordable care. And as numbers continue to come in from states that run their own Marketplaces, that number will continue to rise.

Though HealthCare.gov got off to a rocky start in October, the open enrollment period ended with soaring interest — including a record-breaking 4.8 million visits to HealthCare.gov, and around 2 million calls to CMS call centers. Throughout this weekend, Americans across the country were literally lined up around the block at local enrollment centers.

It’s important to remember that 7 million represents only part of the total number of people who have received coverage under the Affordable Care Act: millions more have been covered by state Medicaid expansions, and around 3 million Americans under 26 are now covered under their parents’ plans.

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