Senator Udall Pushes to Improve Voter Access for Native Americans

Native American Voting Rights Act would establish polling locations, boost voter protections on tribal lands

U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced he has joined several senators, including Jon Tester (D-Mont.), in introducing legislation to increase voter protections and access to the polls for Native Americans. Many Native Americans live in rural communities and are often forced to travel long distances to the closest polling location. According to the National Congress of American Indians, Native American voter turnout was 17 percent less than non-natives in 2012.

The Native American Voting Rights Act would expand access to the polls by requiring states to establish polling locations on reservations upon request from a tribe, including early voting locations in states that allow votes to be cast prior to Election Day. The bill also directs state election administrators to mail absentee ballots to the homes of all registered voters if requested by a tribe. Udall is a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Tester is the committee vice chairman.

“For too many Native Americans living in Indian Country in New Mexico and across the nation, simply casting a ballot in an election takes a significant amount of time and effort,” Udall said. “Polling places are located hours from home, it’s difficult to get absentee ballots, and tribal IDs aren’t recognized as a valid form of voter identification. These unfair barriers discourage Native Americans from making their voices heard on election day. Our bill would help break down these obstacles so voters across Indian Country can exercise their fundamental American rights.”

“Nobody should be denied the basic right to vote and have a say in the democratic process,” Tester said. “We should be doing everything we can to increase access to the polls and remove the barriers that keep too many folks from voting. The Native American Voting Rights Act ensures that tribes are receiving the resources needed to increase the opportunity for folks to cast their ballot.”

“Native Americans were the last to legally obtain the fundamental right to vote in the United States, and Native voters continue to face persistent barriers in exercising that right today. Voters on Indian reservations may be hours away from the nearest polling place. The provisions included in the Native American Voting Rights Act will help ensure that American Indians and Alaska Natives have the basic access to elections that most Americans take for granted,” said National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby.

The Native American Voting Rights Act also mandates that states recognize tribal IDs as a valid form of identification if an ID is required to vote.

Additionally, the bill expands provisions under the Voting Rights Act to require the U.S. Attorney General to take civil actions to enforce tribal voting protections and supply poll observers to ensure nobody is denied their right to vote if they meet the qualifications under state and federal law. U.S. Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) have also cosponsored the bill.

The full text of the Native American Voting Rights Act is available HERE.

Dõna Ana County Democrats Commemorate the Life and Legacy of César Chávez

Today, March 31, the Democratic Party of Dõna Ana County commemorates the life and legacy of César Chávez and his enduring vision of human rights and dignity for all.

chavez03We stand by César Chávez’s commitment to unity and strength. We always will. “From the depth of need and despair, people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems and fill their own needs with dignity and strength” Chavez said.

As Democrats, we believe in hope for the future. Like Chávez, we believe this nation is great enough to share the blessings of liberty among all of us. We believe in building a better life for all, and like César Chávez and the movement he helped forge, we vow that we shall never be turned back. “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community” he said. “Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”

We agree with César Chávez, and all of the champions of freedom of our history that no American is free until all of us are free. We are proud to stand alongside all of the leaders of the American past, including César Chávez, 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 all should strive to carry on.

We know there remains much work to be done. Today the Democratic Party of Dõna Ana County calls on all of us to recommit ourselves to the great call of America’s history, to achieve the promise of equality and dignity of all, to stand by the rights of working people, and to win for ourselves and for our children the greatness César Chávez hoped for, the blessings of freedom, dignity and fairness in he workplace, and the security of justice.

In commemorating the life of César Chávez, today on the anniversary of the date of his birth, we call on all of us to work toward those common values we, as Americans, most cherish. Today we should all rededicate ourselves to that dream, so eloquently inspired by the life Chavez and his contemporaries, and promise to continue to work toward that day when every American is afforded the same opportunities and freedoms regardless of skin color, ethnicity, work status, gender, religious belief, income, sexual orientation, ability or disability, or place of birth.

Senator Udall Recruiting Summer Session Interns for Washington, D.C., Office

U.S. Senator Tom Udall invites New Mexico college students interested in gaining legislative or press relations experience to apply for summer internships in his Washington, D.C., office.

For more information and to apply for an internship, please visit http://www.tomudall.senate.gov/internships. During the upcoming summer internship program, Udall’s office in Washington, D.C., will host two summer sessions: May 26 – June 26, and June 29 – July 31. There is limited availability for full summer internship placements from May 26 – July 31. Applications and letters of recommendation for either summer internship session must be submitted by April 5.

“Congressional internships offer a unique opportunity for students to learn about the inner workings of our government, and to experience firsthand how a Senate office operates,” Udall said. “The perspective gained through observing House and Senate gallery proceedings, listening to high-profile officials during the summer speaker series and assisting with my office’s daily operations can provide a valuable perspective to anyone interested in pursuing a career in government or public service. Interns play an integral role in my office, and I encourage interested college students to apply.”

Students of all majors are encouraged to apply and internships may count toward college credit. Students should check with their respective college or university for requirements.

Advocates are Confident that Immigration Ruling by a Texas Federal District Court Will Not Stand – Individuals are Urged to Be Ready to Apply!

Early this morning, a U.S. District Court Judge in the Southern District of Texas issued a temporary injunction blocking the implementation of the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as well as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. The Obama Administration is appealing the ruling.

The application process for DACA was scheduled to begin tomorrow. Approximately 230,000 individuals were prepared to apply for relief under the program. The Court’s Order delays implementation of the DACA program, and thus, those individuals are left waiting for relief until the matter is resolved. The ruling also temporarily affects 3.7 million undocumented parents of US citizens or legal permanent residents. The guidelines for DAPA were expected to be released in the spring, but now under the ruling may be postponed.

LULAC National Executive Director, Brent Wilkes, issued the following response.

“It is disappointing, that after years of promises from Republican leaders claiming to support bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform their only response has been to block efforts that would bring relief to millions. We have heard from our Republican allies who say they have a moral obligation to vote against a position they believe to be unconstitutional. This position ignores the fact that Administrative action was only necessary because of the Republican failure to act on pending bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform. Attempts by anti-immigrant proponents to block the implementation of the DACA and DAPA programs only fuel our resolve to assist the millions of undocumented individuals who could benefit from the President’s Executive Orders. We are confident that the President’s action will ultimately be found by the Court to be constitutional and cleared for implementation. In the meantime, LULAC will educate and assist families in preparing for the application process. LULAC is encouraged by the fact that the programs enjoy overwhelming support by the American people and looks forward to the day when millions of undocumented individuals can come out of the shadows and live productive lives. “

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act: What the President Just Signed

Today, President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Act into law in the East Room of the White House.

The new suicide prevention law is named in honor of Clay Hunt, an extraordinary young Texan and decorated Marine who served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like too many of our veterans, Clay struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress after he came home. Sadly, Clay’s life ended much too soon when he tragically committed suicide in 2011 at the age of only 28.

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act is a testament to the type of man that Clay Hunt was — even after his death, his legacy of helping veterans lives on.

In America, our veterans and troops are still struggling. As a country, we must do more to help our veterans deal with injuries like post-traumatic stress and depression.


“Everyone can do more, with and for our veterans. This has to be a national mission.”

— President Obama


Ensuring that veterans have access to timely and effective mental health care is a top priority for the President and his Administration. The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act will help the Administration take additional steps to address mental health and prevent suicide among veterans.

This new law builds on a long history of executive actions the President has issued to improve access to mental health services for members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their families. The Clay Hunt Act will:

  • Require annual third-party evaluations of VA’s mental health care and suicide prevention programs
  • Create a centralized website with resources and information for veterans about the range of mental health services available from the VA
  • Require collaboration on suicide prevention efforts between VA and non-profit mental health organizations

Veterans’ mental health is an issue that President Obama cares deeply about, and he has directed VA Secretary Bob McDonald to make it a top priority. Read more about the VA’s ongoing efforts to support veterans and their families here.

And if you are a veteran in need, know that you are not alone.


“America is here for you. All of us. And we will never stop doing everything in our power to get you the care and support you need to stay strong and keep serving this country we love.”

— President Obama


For more information on suicide prevention and the veterans crisis line, visit: http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/

Read the President’s full remarks from the event here.

Watch and share President Obama’s remarks here.

DNC Chair Announces Philadelphia to Host the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Today, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced Philadelphia will host the 2016 Democratic National Convention the week of July 25, 2016. The DNC signed the final contract with Philadelphia this morning.

“I am thrilled to announce that Philadelphia will host the convention where we will nominate the 45th President of the United States,” Wasserman Schultz said. “In addition to their commitment to a seamless and safe convention, Philadelphia’s deep rooted place in American history provides a perfect setting for this special gathering. I cannot wait to join Democrats across the country to celebrate our shared values, lay out a Democratic vision for the future, and support our nominee.”

The DNC’s Technical Advisory Group evaluated cities across the country, looking at factors such as hotel capacity, transportation, security, financing and logistics.

“The City of Philadelphia is excited and honored to be selected as the host city for the 2016 Democratic National Convention,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter said. “We believe that it was our proven track record of hosting big events safely and efficiently with a dynamic team of top-tier professionals to organize and manage a conference of this magnitude, paired with our City’s tremendous amenities, its accessible location and historical significance, which made Philadelphia the ideal choice for the 2016 DNC.  I want to thank our great team at PHL DNC 2016, Governor Rendell and Governor Wolf, Senator Casey, Congressman Brady, Congressman Fattah, and former Congresswoman Schwartz.  I especially want to acknowledge our great partners in the Labor unions, business and political communities, clergy and our citizens, who are eager to see Philadelphia on the national stage as the host city.  We’re all delighted to make history again, here in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”

Additional details on the convention structure, host committee, and staff, will be made available in the coming weeks.

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich Sponsors Health Care Enrollment Event In Sunland Park

The Office of U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), along with the New Mexico Primary Care Association, Enroll America, Doña Ana County, and Doña Ana County Community College are hosting a health care enrollment event, “ACA and You,” on Thursday, February 12, 2015 in Sunland Park.

Many New Mexicans qualify for free or low-cost health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). February 15 is the deadline to enroll in a plan for 2015.

Event attendees will have access to well-trained enrollment councilors who provide in-person enrollment application assistance and answer questions about the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, health insurance coverage options, and more. Free flue shots will also be available on site. Information and assistance will be available in English and Spanish. The event is free and all are encouraged to attend.

Sunland Park – Thursday, February 12, 2015
WHO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich’s Staff, New Mexico Primary Care Association, Enroll America, Doña Ana County, and Doña Ana County Community College
WHAT: “ACA and You” Health Care Enrollment Event
WHEN: From 1 to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Doña Ana Community College Computer Lab, 3365 McNutt Road, Sunland Park, N.M. 88063
QUESTIONS: Contact Senator Heinrich’s Las Cruces Office at (575) 523-6561.

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AVISO A LOS MEDIOS: Evento  Para Inscribirse En Cobertura Me?dica En Sunland Park

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – La Oficina del Senador Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Enroll America, New Mexico Primary Care Association, El Condado de Doña Ana, y El Colegio Comunitario Doña Ana están organizando un evento para inscribirse en cobertura me?dica el jueves 12 de febrero en Sunland Park.

Muchos residentes son eligibles y podrían recibir cobertura me?dica gratuita o a bajo costo gracias a la ley de Cuidado de Salud. El 15 de febrero es la fecha límite para inscribirse en un plan para el 2015.

Habrán expertos de la salud disponibles durante el evento para ofrecer respuestas a preguntas sobre la Ley de Cuidado de Salud, Medicaid, las opciones de cobertura médica, y más.  Además se proveerá asistencia individualizada con el proceso de inscripción. La vacunación contra la gripe estará disponible gratis. Información estará disponible en Español y en Inglés. El evento es gratis y todos son bienvenidos.

Sunland Park – el jueves el 12 de febrero de 2015
QUIÉN: La Oficina del Senador Martin Heinrich,Enroll America, New Mexico Primary Care Association, El Condado de Doña Ana, y El Colegio Comunitario Doña Ana
QUÉ: “La Ley de Salud y Usted”, un evento para inscribirse en cobertura médica
CUÁNDO: De 1 a 5 p.m.
DÓNDE: Doña Ana Community College Computer Lab, 3365 McNutt Road, Sunland Park, N.M. 88063
PREGUNTAS: Para obtener más información llama a la oficina del Senador Martin Heinrich en Las Cruces al (575) 523-6561