Udall, Democratic Senators Call for Independent Prosecutor to Investigate Trump Officials’ Collusion with Russia and Apparent White House Cover-Up

Senators to AG Sessions: ‘At stake is the integrity and honesty of our most trusted public officials and the viability of our justice system’

Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall and a group of 10 other senators called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint an independent Special Counsel to investigate possible illegal communications between retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn and representatives of the Russian government, as well as efforts by Flynn and other White House officials to conceal any wrongdoing.

“An independent investigation is now necessary to determine what General Flynn did, who knew about it, and when,” the senators wrote. “To maintain the confidence, credibility and impartiality of the Department of Justice, we urge you to immediately appoint an independent Special Counsel to investigate collusion with the Russian government by General Flynn and other Trump campaign, transition, and Administrative officials.”

The letter, which was led by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), was signed by Udall, Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

Yesterday, following General Flynn’s resignation, Udall called for a full, independent investigation into the influence of the Russian government on the Trump administration and the 2016 election. “National security and the sanctity of our democratic government are not Republican or Democratic issues. Attorney General Sessions is too close to the president. We need a thorough, independent investigation into any and all dealings between President Trump, his team and the Russian government,” Udall said.

The full text of the letter is available here.

Doña Ana County Democrats Celebrate African American History Month

The Democratic Party of Doña Ana County is proud to celebrate diversity and to join in the observance of African American History Month.

This year’s theme, The Crisis in Black Education focuses on the crucial role of education in the history of African Americans.  Carter G. Woodson once wrote that “if you teach the Negro that he has accomplished as much good as any other race he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race.”

This year’s annual theme was selected by the Association for the Study of African American Life & History to bring attention to the failure of our nation to address the need for quality, universal education and the importance of the future of educational opportunities, including quality public education, for African Americans and for all of us.

We also honor the historic role of African Americans in the cause of freedom throughout our shared history up to the present time. We celebrate  the heritage, the achievements, and the ongoing contributions of  African Americans, here in New Mexico, and throughout the United States, during the observance this month, and throughout the year, and without whose historic efforts and sacrifice, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, this nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to equality would not have endured.

We also join in celebrating 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.

Each year, Americans observe African American History Month in February by celebrating the history, cultures and contributions of African American citizens whose forebears came to the Americas from the African Continent.

Conceived by the Harvard-educated historian and teacher Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week in 1925, the celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. In signing the enabling Act, President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Senator Udall Statement on Trump Border Wall and Immigration Executive Orders

U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement on President Trump’s executive order calling for the construction of a wall on the Southern border and to block local protections for immigrants:

“As residents of a border state, New Mexicans know that border security is critically important to our national security. I support — and have voted for — hiring more Border Patrol agents and funding more security equipment and technology. Building a border wall isn’t a new idea, and over and over again, the facts have shown that a wall along the entire border would be ineffective and outrageously expensive — over $16 million per mile, in some areas. One of the most difficult places to build a wall is the remote Bootheel region of New Mexico, which is so rugged, Border Patrol agents have told me that horses and ATVs are the best ways to patrol. The wall also would be a symbol that empowers anti-immigrant rhetoric, while disrupting our relationship with Mexico, New Mexico’s number one trading partner. I urge President Trump to listen to the experts at DHS, who will tell him that what we desperately need is to invest in technology, better retention of Border Patrol agents, and other effective and more efficient ways to keep the border safe and secure.”

Regarding President Trump’s decision to block funds for sanctuary cities: “We should get violent criminals and drug dealers off the streets, no matter where they were born. But President Trump’s executive order isn’t guaranteed to do that at all. What it likely would do is interfere with local police, prevent local governments like Santa Fe and Doña Ana County from providing services that taxpayers depend on, and threaten millions of families. A more effective — and humane — approach would be to bring the country together and fix our broken immigration system once and for all. I have supported bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform for many years, and I will continue to support policies that will secure our border, find a path to legal status for the 11 million undocumented people living in the country today, and ensure employers can find legal workers.”

Doña Ana County Democrats Commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Today on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. King and the enduring vision of the civil rights movement.

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-9365086-2-402“Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten” Dr. King wrote in 1967, “America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness–justice.” On the event of this dedication, we have not forgotten that that debt is not yet paid, greatness is far from won, justice still eludes us, and the dream of Dr. King not yet reality. Regrettably, determination of the nation to finish the work of the civil rights movement is still very much at risk.

We must never turn back. We agree with Dr. King, 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 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 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.

Now, more than ever, we know there remains much work to be done. Today the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County calls on all of us to recommit ourselves to the great call of America’s history, to achieve the equality and dignity of all, and to win for ourselves and for our children the greatness Dr. King hoped for, the blessings of freedom and the security of justice.

In commemorating the life of Dr. King and the movement he led, 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 of Dr. King 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, gender, religious belief, income, sexual orientation, ability or disability, or place of birth.

DNC National Candidate Forum To Be Live Streamed on Saturday, January 14

This weekend in Phoenix, the Democratic National Committee is hosting a forum featuring all candidates for DNC offices, including DNC National Chair.

Please see below for the link to the Phoenix Future Forum live stream this coming Saturday, January 14, 2016. While the full day will be live streamed, the Candidate Forum has been scheduled from 1:00 pm MST – 6:00 pm MST that day.

https://www.democrats.org/page/dnc-future-forum-livestream

Steve Pearce Votes to Sell Off Public Lands, Harm New Mexico Economy

In one of their first moves as a legislative body, Congressman Pearce and U.S. House Republicans voted to sell off public lands, which would have negative impacts on New Mexico’s culture and economy. The provision comes as an amendment to U.S. House Rules and would make it easier for Congress to surrender federal management of public lands.

“Congressman Steve Pearce is undermining the role our public lands play in our economy and our culture,” said Debra Haaland, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “In New Mexico we understand the value of public lands—we know they create jobs, we know how important it is to protect our land, air, and water, and we know that these moves by Republicans will only harm our state.”

Throughout his time in Congress, Pearce worked against community efforts to designate the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument, supported the armed takeover of public lands in Nevada, and has introduced legislation that would risk the protection of New Mexico’s valuable resources.

Public lands are woven into the fabric of New Mexico’s culture, and federal management offers valuable protection for Native American sacred sites, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation.

More information on public lands’ economic impact in New Mexico is available here.

Year End Update From DPDAC Chair Liz Rodriguez-Johnson

Dear Doña Ana County Democrats:

I wish you and your families a happy holiday season and best wishes for the New Year. I also want to express my thanks for your continued support of the Democratic Party.

I am very proud to say that Doña Ana County saw a record voter turnout in 2016, surpassing even the historic turnout of 2008. From 2014 to 2016 the voter turnout in our County nearly DOUBLED! With only the exception of one, the Doña Ana County Democratic candidates for local offices all won their contests. Even at that, we fell only 109 votes short of a complete sweep in our county.

Our victories were instrumental in taking back the New Mexico House of Representatives, and expanding the majority in the State Senate. We took all five State Senate contests in our County, and we won seven of the eight House contests. All County-wide offices (District Attorney, County Clerk, and County Treasurer) were won by Democrats, and all three of our Democratic County Commission candidates were elected. We also helped elect Maggie Toulouse Oliver as our Secretary of State, and Julie Vargas to the State Court of Appeals.

All eight Democratic county-wide campaigns won within Doña Ana County (3 of the 4 statewide candidates won statewide; Merrie Lee Soules also won in Doña Ana County but lost districtwide).

Of the 24 Democratic candidates who appeared on the ballot in Doña Ana County, 22 won all or parts of the County. Only Representative-elect Rodolpho ‘Rudy” Martinez and Willie Madrid failed to get majorities within their parts of Doña Ana County, but won in Grant and Otero Counties—Martinez, of course, was elected districtwide, while Willie Madrid lost by only 109 votes.

We saw record turnouts in the hotly contested precincts of District 37, and victories for Senator Bill Soules and Representative-elect Joanne Ferrary; and in our south valley, with Sunland Park, La Union and Anthony leading the way. In House District 36, a big turnout in the North Delray-East Doña Ana communities helped Representative-elect Nathan Small gain his historic victory. Senator-elect Jeff Steinborn also recaptured the District 36 State Senate seat.

The final canvass of votes cast in our county totaled 71,084 which represented almost a seventy percent turnout. Of those who voted, nearly 50% of all voters were registered Democrats (well above the 46% registration total), while only 29% of all voters were registered Republicans (well below the 31% registration totals).

Over 43,000 Doña Ana County voters cast early or absentee ballots, well above the previous high number of just over 29,000. Hispanic turnout in key precincts was significantly higher in 2016 than in 2012 or 2008.  Our largest vote-getters county-wide were Hillary Rodham Clinton with 37,947 and Maggie Toulouse Oliver 37,753 respectively. Among all the local contested races, State Senator Mary Kay Papen won by the widest margin in our county with over 67% of the vote. Senator Papen will again lead New Mexico’s upper legislative chamber as President pro Tempore.

These numbers are amazing in of themselves, but when you consider that in 2016, nationwide, fewer Democratic voters went to the polls, Doña Ana County’s voter turnout was incredible. In the three biggest counties in New Mexico, Bernalillo County’s voter turnout slightly decreased and Santa Fe’s voter turnout slightly increased, but Doña Ana County saw a big increase over the last presidential year and almost a 100% increase over two years ago in voter turnout, which is unprecedented!

While this is very good news for our County and our Party, specifically, our challenge ahead is not to fall into old patterns and allow our momentum, our vision and our energy to evaporate in 2018 or in the local elections between now and then.

We are a community-based volunteer organization. Your support and participation is critical.

The Democratic Party of Doña Ana County (DPDAC) has set in motion a successful voter turnout campaign which must not be allowed to be reversed. Working together for the future, DPDAC will continue to build an even stronger structure so that our record of success can continue.

Together we can, and we should, continue to lead the way in New Mexico.

For all of you who helped as volunteers, made calls, knocked on doors, staffed the offices, helped protect the vote at the polling places and otherwise gave it your all, thank you!

Finally, I would like to personally take this opportunity to thank our wonderful Democratic National Committeewoman, Joni Gutierrez, who put so much her time, personal resources and effort into the 2016 campaign. Her leadership was irreplaceable.

Thank you all, so very much!

 

Liz Rodriguez-Johnson
Chair
Democratic Party of Doña Ana County