Tag Archives: Democats

New Mexico Voices in Support of Bill Richardson

So much of the news on the Presidential campaign is impacted by how the political editors, commentators and talking heads in D.C. and N.Y.C. view the race.  They often determine the press coverage that occurs, and can have their biases. 

I’m from California and supporting Bill Richardson.  I want to share commentary on Richardson from two active Democrats from New Mexico who have watched him in office for years.  These commentaries were originally posted on DailyKos and MyDD. They give you a much better sense of Richardson and his record than what you’ll find elsewhere.

“For those of you who don’t already know me, I am Cara Valente-Compton. During the week I am a mild-mannered stay at home mom of four small kids in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Well, maybe not so mild-mannered, depending on the day. Today, for instance, I am dealing with the emotions of a 9 year old who is being manipulated by her “BFF” and a 5 year old eating popcicles in her closet, so I am a little on the grouchy side. On the weekends I work at a local Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, helping the nurses care for the preemies and sick babies. I love it.

I have had a lifelong passion for politics. I remember watching the 1972 conventions, both democratic and republican, with my parents. I was four. I have watched every convention since, for both parties. I was raised to make an informed choice between the parties, but I knew the moment I saw Jimmy Carter speak at the DNC in 1976 that I was a democrat. My father even tried to take me to a Gerry Ford rally at the Winston-Salem airport, but I threw up on the tarmac.

Over the years I have worked hard for a number of candidates. I started with Dukakis in 1988, and was wildly enthusiastic for Clinton in 1992 and 1996. But I have never been so sure of a candidate in my life as I am of Bill Richardson.

Yes, that’s right. I am betting on the dark horse in the race this time, and here is why…

First I must say that I have personal reasons for liking Bill Richardson so much. Back in 1990 I was a Bernalillo County Young Democrat and was asked by a Lt. Governor candidate to make a speech for him at our state party convention. It was my first opportunity to speak to a large group, and I was pretty nervous. Well Bill Richardson, then Congressman from northern New Mexico, was on the dais with me, and we met and exchanged a few words and I told him how nervous I was, and he was so great. He said not to worry, just pretend it was a group of five, not five hundred, relax, and be natural. I took his advice, and it worked. I didn’t speak for more than about five minutes, but it was pretty easy after his pep talk. When I was done he gave me a big, fatherly hug and said, “You did such a great job I am going to let you give all my speeches from now on!” I knew he was just saying that, but it really made me feel better, and I never had problems speaking in public again.

Now, that said, I have a number of other reasons to be supporting Richardson, and honestly if I felt that there was one other candidate more worthy of support I would be working for her or him. But there isn’t. Bill Richardson is by far the superior candidate of either party.

Richardson’s foriegn policy credientials are widely known in the political world. He served under Bill Clinton as the UN Ambassador, and has negotiated with hostile leaders on a number of occasions to release hostages and prisoners. He even brokered a cease fire agreement between Al Bashir and the rebel leaders in Darfur. Other American diplomatic efforts were rebuked, I have heard that Al Bashir refused to meet with Jesse Jackson, he refused to meet with Barak Obama. Though the cease-fire was fragile and broken within days, Richardson knows how to negotiate and leverage third party relationships to acheive peaceful resolutions to conflict.

Bill Richardson is also the strongest candidate on the issue of Iraq, and is demanding that Congress act NOW to remove our troops, not wait until October to think about it.

I am most concerned, as a mom of four, about how a president leads our nation at home, and Richardson’s domestic accomplishments are really vast. On a personal note, again, my husband and I left New Mexico in 1996 shortly after we were married because we didn’t feel that we could raise a family here. The economy was terrible, we were young and dead broke, and the job market was awful. Crime was really high. Everywhere it seemed was bad news, and we decided that we wanted to have kids right away, and so we moved to Missouri. It took us nine years to get back home, and we are so glad to be back.

Since returning to New Mexico we have been amazed at the changes, and credit the improvements in large part to Bill Richardson. Job creation in New Mexico is particularly impressive, with 82,000 new jobs having been created under Bill Richardson’s watch. Now in a state of about 1.5 million, that is a huge improvement. Richardson encouraged companies to bring their businesses here by offering tax incentives to businesses that paid employees over the prevailing wage, so these are by and large great jobs. They are also innovative companies, like Tesla Motors, building mid-sized electric cars, Eclipse Aviation, and new alternative energy plants, such as biomass, solar, and wind farms.

Speaking of energy, Richardson was the former Secretary of Energy. As Governor, Richardson fought for the creation of a light rail system that has connected the major towns and cities along the Rio Grande Corridor, from Belen to Bernalillo, and will eventually reach past Santa Fe to Las Vegas. The League of Conservation Voters says that Bill Richardson is the strongest candidate on energy and environmental issues, and can “restore America’s reputation as leaders” in this all too important issue. Richardson’s plan calls for a huge reduction in carbon emissions over the next decade, and New Mexico is following the Kyoto accord. Richardson also has a new book on the horizon, “Leading By Example: How We Can Inspire an Energy and Security Revolution” which is slated for release in November.

Richardson has brought real tax relief to every New Mexican by reducing state income taxes, and eliminating sales taxes on food and medicine altogether. New Mexicans now have more of their own money to spend. In doing this he has also managed to fund social programs, like pre-k programs, and balance the state budget.

Richardson has a great record on health care. Thanks to him every child in our state is covered until age 5. It is far from universal coverage, but it is a good start. And thanks to his efforts and the efforts of his wife Barbara the number of children lacking immunizations is down dramatically. The Richardsons have also helped to create a new wing at the University of New Mexico Hospital, called the Bill and Barbara Richardson Pavillion, which deals largely in pediatric medicine, with intensive care units for infants and childrens and a new emergency room for “peds”. He has also committed New Mexico to a leadership role in stem cell research, and this year signed into law a bill legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Bill Richardson has also been instrumental in law enforcement. New Mexico has traditionally had a huge problem with drunk driving, and under this administration’s tough standards drunk driving is down significantly. Also, being a very rural state, we were developing a huge problem with meth labs. Richardson has cracked down on this problem, making harder to attain the ingredients for meth and aiding law enforcement in cracking down on offenders.

Is it any wonder, in light of all he has done for New Mexico, that Jon Stewart of the Daily Show called Bill Richardson “Batman”? I personally agree. We need a hero for President, not empty rhetoric. Join me in supporting Bill Richardson, and visit my grassroots website at www.richardsonbringshope.com. If you have any questions, too, you can email me at [email protected].”


“Bill Richardson has a knack for giving diverse groups what they want most without terminally alienating people who don’t want that, whatever “that” happens to be.  He gave the pugs an upper tax bracket rate cut right out of the box in 2003, which pissed off a lot of liberal Democrats like me.

However, there were a few things I didn’t know at the time which the Governor certainly did.  First, the tax cut didn’t take effect immediately.  When oil prices went through the roof, the state had a windfall of revenue despite the loss from the income tax.  If oil and gas prices hadn’t shot up the way they did, he could have put off the tax cut a while longer.  Second, by giving pug voters what they wanted most, he was able to set the stage for several important liberal initiatives that would have been more difficult to achieve otherwise.

He convinced the voters to allow more investment money (our “Permanent Fund” from oil, gas, and mineral severance taxes) to be used for education.  It was a very close vote, but he got it done.

He convinced the legislature to spend a huge amount of money for a commuter train between Belen (south of Albuquerque) and Santa Fe, which has been talked about for more than 20 years.  This train will likely be extended south to Las Cruces and North to the Colorado border, where it will possibly connect to the incipient Colorado commuter train system.  We will soon have commuter rail linking the major metropolitan areas of the state, which now don’t even have bus service between them!  This is a really big deal for New Mexicans, and Big Bill set it all up by cutting Repugnant opposition off at the knees by giving them their core economic need.

Gov. Richardson even convinced the legislature and southern NM voters to approve even more money for a commercial spaceport, which will fuel economic development in that depressed part of the state for at least the next 50 years. 

Most important to me, Governor Richardson got behind the paper ballot early in 2005, recognizing that his Democratic base needed to know that they weren’t being cheated at the ballot box.  I can tell you that we would not have the paper ballot in NM without he Governor’s support.  Period.

Governor Richardson actually represents all of his constituents.  When he was my Congressman in ultra-liberal Santa Fe, he was reliably liberal, leading the fight against WIPP, the radioactive dump we have here.  When he couldn’t delay it any longer, he made good and sure that we got the Federal highway money we needed so that radioactive waste wouldn’t be shipped through the center of town.  What’s more, he told people exactly what he had to do, even though they didn’t want to hear it.

Now that he’s the Governor of the whole state, including the heavily conservative southern part of the state, he has more varied interests to serve.  Yet I’m certain that he’s still just as liberal as he used to be.  Sometimes I don’t understand what he’s trying to accomplish, but I can’t argue with the results.  Bill Richardson is a political genius.

Bill Richardson was reelected in the biggest landslide in NM history because he does a great job.  He’s done amazing things in NM, and if you give him a chance he’ll do great things for the whole country.  We need him.”