Democrats Celebrate Grand Opening of Democratic Party of Doña Ana County Headquarters

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PHOTO: Debra Haaland, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico and Juan Sanchez III Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County Headquarters located at 110 S. Water St. in Las Cruces.

Debra Haaland, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico and Juan Sanchez III Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico joined the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County to celebrate the grand opening of their headquarters in Las Cruces.

The new headquarters is centrally located and will be a place where Democratic candidates can access resources, launch voter outreach operations, and host events.

“An office in Las Cruces will be critical in getting out voters in Doña Ana County,” said Debra Haaland Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “The new headquarters will be a place where our Democratic candidates will be able to work together to compete and win this November.”

The Doña Ana County Democrats Chairwoman, Liz Rodriguez-Johnson expressed her gratitude at the event, “This office will be an asset for Democrats in Doña Ana County. I want to thank the volunteers, contributors, and candidates who helped make today possible, and I invite all our Democrats to come out and help us get out the vote in our community. Todos están bienvenidos.”

At the grand opening volunteers, community, and Democratic candidates gathered outside the building for a ribbon cutting, and then congregated inside to hear from the Democratic Party Chairwoman, Vice-Chair, and county party Chairwoman–all of whom emphasized the need to elect Democrats and the important role the new headquarters will play in this election.

“Doña Ana County is a critical battleground for Democrats this election, and this headquarters will ensure Democratic candidates win up and down the ballot in November,” said Juan Sanchez III, Vice-Chair of the Democratic party of New Mexico.

Senator Udall Statement on Shootings in Dallas, Minnesota and Louisiana

U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement about the tragic shootings this week:

“I join all New Mexicans in offering heartfelt condolences to the families of the officers who were shot and killed in Dallas last night while protecting people who were peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. I have profound appreciation for the men and women who put their lives on the line for the safety of our communities each and every day. The entire law enforcement community is grieving over the senseless violence that claimed lives last night, and I thank them for their service.

“While last night’s shooting was monstrous and horrifying, I also share the real concerns of people in New Mexico and throughout the country about systemic discrimination by law enforcement and violence in our communities. These issues tragically were raised again earlier this week, when two African American men were killed by white officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. We’ve seen too many days and nights of violence — too much of which appears to have been driven by distrust, fear or hatred. We must come together to confront the issues that are dividing us and work together to heal.”

Dõna Ana County Democrats Commemorate Juneteenth

Today the Democratic Party of Dõna Ana County joins millions of Americans in commemorating the one hundred fifty first anniversary of Juneteenth.

Juneteenth, or June 19th, 1865, is the date when the last enslaved people in America were freed.  On that date Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas under the command of General Gordon Granger. From the veranda of Ashton Villa, a plantation in that city, Gordon read the contents of  General Order No. 3 proclaiming the emancipation of America’s last people held in bondage and officially brought to an end one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history. Juneteenth Independence Day has been celebrated throughout the Southwest ever since. It is officially observed by the State of New Mexico.

us_june1As Americans we value the equality and dignity of all. As New Mexicans we salute and strive for a perfect friendship, among united cultures. On this Juneteenth anniversary we call on all of us to work toward those common values we most cherish. We agree with the champions of freedom of our history that no American is free until all of us are free. The Dõna Ana County Democratic Party is proud to stand alongside all of the dedicated leaders of the American past who sacrificed so much for the civil and human rights of all, and we honor those Americans who continue to work toward that vision that we as an organization strive to champion.

We join Americans across the nation in remembering and honoring the historic anniversary of Juneteenth. While we celebrate the progress our country has made, we know the journey is far from finished. There remains much work to be done. We promise to continue to work toward that day when every American is afforded the same opportunities and freedoms regardless of skin color, gender, religious belief, income, sexual orientation, ability or disability, or place of birth.

Text of General Order No. 3 as published in the July 7, 1865 New York Times

Udall, Heinrich Introduce Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks Conservation Act

Wilderness bill completes community’s vision for protection within the national monument

Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich introduced legislation to preserve wilderness within the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (OMDP). The Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks Conservation Act provides permanent protection for some of Southern New Mexico’s most scenic landscapes and will safeguard OMDP’s sensitive cultural, historical and natural treasures for generations to come. A broad coalition of Hispanic leaders, veterans, Native Americans, sportsmen, small business owners, faith leaders, conservationists, local elected officials and others have worked for nearly a decade to protect wilderness in Doña Ana County. More than two years after President Obama designated Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument, Udall and Heinrich are working to complete the community’s vision for protection.

Designating wilderness within the national monument will preserve New Mexico’s outdoor heritage by ensuring that these public lands will remain open to hunting, outdoor recreation and grazing. The bill will provide gold-standard protection for the wildest places within the national monument – including the Organ, Potrillo, Uvas and Robledo mountains, in addition to Aden Lava Flow and Broad Canyon. President Obama based the 2014 national monument designation on legislation introduced by Udall and Heinrich, but only Congress has authority to create wilderness. This final step will ensure full protection for land within OMDP and the unconfined opportunities for recreation that wilderness offers.

“The Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument put a star on the map for Doña Ana County, attracting visitors and showing the world the spectacular treasures Southern New Mexico has to offer,” Udall said. “We’ve worked with the community to draft a bill that strikes the right balance between securing our border and protecting treasured landscapes like the Organ Mountains. Designating these wilderness areas is a final, necessary step toward ensuring the monument’s many treasures will remain protected for generations to come. It will draw even more visitors to the Las Cruces area and add to the already positive economic impact the monument is having on the community.”

“This legislation furthers the community‘s vision for one of Southern New Mexico’s most iconic landscapes by protecting several of the most rugged and unique areas in the monument as wilderness,” Heinrich said. “In addition, management changes south of the monument will create additional flexibility for the Border Patrol and improve security at our nation’s southern border. Protecting these special places as wilderness will serve as a national example of community-driven, landscape-scale conservation that will preserve New Mexico’s culture and natural resources and protect our outdoor recreation economy. I give my heartfelt gratitude to the diverse coalition and stakeholders from southern New Mexico who worked for so many years to make the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument a reality. I have no doubt that future generations will be grateful for their efforts.”

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument has increased tourism and boosted the economy in Doña Ana County, and the wilderness designation will help promote the monument as a world-class destination. The Lonely Planet guidebook, which has a strong international following, has named Southern New Mexico as a top-10 “Best in the United States for 2016” destination, and highlights the national monument as a reason to visit. The Town of Mesilla’s tax revenues have jumped over 20 percent since the monument’s creation and Las Cruces’ Lodgers tax revenues are up since 2015 in part because of new conferences and meetings attracted to the area by the monument. New businesses also have opened to offer outdoor recreation opportunities within the monument and surrounding community.

This updated legislation, previously introduced in 2013, reflects feedback from many individuals and groups, including grazing permittees and private landowners within the proposed areas; electric, natural gas, and pipeline utilities; local governments and community leaders; local law enforcement agencies; sportsmen, heritage, veteran, conservation, and archaeological organizations; flood control and irrigation authorities; airport authorities; the New Mexico State Land Office; and federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Border Patrol, and the Army.

By removing the current wilderness study area designation in 30,000 acres of the monument along the U.S.-Mexico border, the bill will help strengthen border security. In a letter to Udall and Heinrich, U.S. Customs and Border Protection indicated that the provisions of the bill would “significantly enhance the flexibility of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to operate in this border area.”

In April, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance sponsored a poll by Third Eye Strategies, which found that 78 percent of residents in Doña Ana County support legislation to protect wilderness within OMDP.

A fact sheet on the legislation is available here. Bill text is available here. Maps are found here. A summary of the security provisions within the bill can be found here.

Doña Ana County Democratic Primary Results

A large and energized Democratic electorate turned out on Tuesday to participate and vote in the Doña Ana County Democratic Primary. Congratulations to all of our great candidates. We thank them all.

On to victory in November!

U.S. President
Statewide results:
Bernard Sanders: 102,656 48.5%
Hillary Rodham Clinton: 109,139 51.5%

Doña Ana County Results:
Bernard Sanders: 7,243 44%
Hillary Rodham Clinton: 9,097 56%

U.S. Congress
Merrie Lee Soules (Unopposed): 13,435 100%

Secretary of State
Maggie Toulouse Oliver (Unopposed): 13,008 100%

State Senator District 31
Joseph Cervantes (Unopposed): 2,303 100%

State Senator District 35
John Arthur Smith (Unopposed): 621 100%

State Senator District 36
Jeff Steinborn: 2,931 66%
Oscar Vásquez Butler: 1,535 34%

State Senator District 37
Bill Soules (Unopposed): 3,626 100%

State Senator District 38
Mary Kay Papen (Unopposed): 3,104 100%

State Representative District 33
Bill McCamley (Unopposed): 2,189 100%

State Representative District 34
Bealquin “Bill” Gomez: 755 45%
Paul C. Maxwell: 376 22%
Raymundo Lara: 552 33%

State Representative District 35
Angelica Rubio: 1,235 45%
Paul A. Martinez: 660 24%
Ray Jaramillo: 842 31%

State Representative District 36
Nathan Small (Unopposed) 1,768 100%

State Representative District 37
Joanne Ferrary (Unopposed) 2,364 100%

State Representative District 39
Rudolpho “Rudy” Martinez (Unopposed) 974 100%

State Representative District 52
Doreen Gallegos (Unopposed) 1,452 100%

State Representative District 53
Cliff Reed (Unopposed) 413 100%

District Attorney
Mark D’Antonio: 8,966 59%
James A. Dickens: 6,240 41%

County Commissioner District 2
Ramon S. Gonzalez: 1,084 60%
David J. Garcia: 730 40%

County Commissioner District 4
Isabella Solis: 1,698 54%
Wayne D. Hancock: 1,126 36%
David L. Bonner: 308 10%

County Commissioner District 5
Bill D. Standridge: 832 24%
John L. Vasquez: 1,515 43%
Dickie Apodaca: 1,190 34%

County Treasurer
Eric L. Rodriguez: 5,234 36%
Eugenia Montoya Ortega: 4,853 33%
Shannon D. Reynolds: 4,647 32%

Doña Ana County Democrats Celebrate LGBT Pride Month

The Democratic Party of Doña Ana County joins in celebrating LGBT Pride Month. This year we celebrate the great strides toward equality of LGBT people in recent years, including the recognition of marriage equality here in New Mexico and thirty-six other states. While we celebrate the progress we have made in creating a society more inclusive and accepting of all, we note that, as a nation, we still have further to go to achieve the constitutional guarantee of the equal protection of the laws for all Americans.

We also join in celebrating the many contributions that LGBT people have made to enriching the lives of all of us, and the the critical role of all people in the history of New Mexico and the nation. As an organization we pledge to work to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists. We embrace the diversity of leadership that we, as a nation, as a community organization, and as a political party must embrace, if we are to continue to ensure the future success of this great nation and remain a beacon of freedom to the rest of the world.

Christopher Square in New York, a national landmark, site of the Stonewall riots of 1969. The statues of the four figures gathered in the park commemorate the event.

LGBT Pride Month is celebrated each year in the month of June to commemorate anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York. The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous demonstrations against a police raid that took place just after midnight on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are generally cited as the first instance in American history when people in the LGBT community fought back against government-sanctioned repression.

The Stonewall event marked the watershed event that led to community and political organizing in the LGBT community nationally. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBT Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.

On nine occasions the President of the United States has recognized Pride Month through executive order. President Bill Clinton declared June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” on June 2, 2000. President Barack Obama has declared June LGBT Pride Month eight times since 2009.

Doña Ana County Democrats Commemorate Memorial Day

052809Frontsa1_1Today, Memorial Day, the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County joins our fellow Americans in commemorating the lives of those who have served in the cause of preserving the nation’s freedom. We pay honor to the fallen heros of every American conflict, from the fields of Lexington and Concord in 1775 to the mountain sides of Afghanistan. We honor the 2,800,000 Americans who gave their lives in service to their nation, and thank the forty-eight million Americans who have served in the United States Armed Forces since 1775 until today.

On this day we join, as we should on every day, in honoring the sacrifices of those, in the words of President Lincoln, who have borne the battle, and for their families, for the cause of freedom for all of us. In that spirit we call on all Americans to come together to remember the men and women who gave their lives, in every conflict, so that we might continue to live free, and to strive for a just and lasting peace in our world.

Originally known as Decoration Day for the practice of leaving memorials at the grave sites of fallen soldiers, today’s national holiday was first observed by freed African Americans in the south at the end of spring, beginning in 1865, as a remembrance of the lives of the fallen liberators of the Civil War, both black and white, who had fought for and won emancipation. Newspaper accounts of those early annual events led General John Murray of Waterloo, New York to propose a national celebration of the lives of all fallen soldiers.

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, as leader of the Grand Army of the Republic, the organization of Union Civil War veterans, issued G. A. R. General Order No. 11, establishing Decoration Day for the members, families and friends of the veterans organization. May 30, 1868 was chosen by General Logan because it was not the anniversary of a Civil War battle. By 1891 each of the northern states had established Memorial Day as a state holiday. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an Act of Congress, honoring the service of every soldier in every American military conflict.