Retake our Democracy in Gallup to discuss Strategies for the 2018 Election

This event has been cancelled.
Retake Our Democracy is a grassroots organization, co-founded by Roxanne Barber and Paul Gibson of Santa Fe, which is attempting to Engage, Educate, and Activate the 99%.  Paul and Roxanne will be in Gallup on Friday August 24 at 1:00pm (until about 2:30). We will be meeting at Camille’s to discuss Strategies for the 2018 Election, 2019 Legislative Priorities and the formation of a Legislative Response Team.  I know this is late notice and many of you are working at that time, but please come and join our conversation for all or part of the time if you can.
Regardless of whether or not you can make it on Friday, you can learn more about Retake on their website at Retake Our Democracy . Also, if you haven’t done so already, please go the site and click on Speak Up New Mexico! TAKE THE LEGISLATIVE SURVEY! I originally sent out the link to the survey in May and I know some of you have already completed it–Thank you!  For those of you who haven’t, this is your opportunity to make your voice heard as to what you deem are the most important issues for the 2019 New Mexico Legislative Session.  In addition, if you choose, you can sign up to participate on the Legislative Response Team (learn more about this at the end of the survey).


Saturday, August 11, 2018 @ 8:30 a.m.

Ceremonial Parade Walkers meet at the Aztec Theater@ 915 West Aztec Ave. Gallup, NM.  Look for Michelle Lujan Grisham banner.

Note: You can wear traditional Native American attire, rodeo attire or uniform.

Saturday, August 11, 2018 @ 8:00 a.m.

Gallup Flea Market need 2 volunteers for 8:00 am to 11:00 am Shift and 11:00 am to 2:00 pm Shift.  Volunteers will be getting “Commit to Vote Democrat in 2018” cards filled out by Democratic supporters.

For more information contact:

Charmaine Jackson
Navajo Nation Field Organizer
Democratic Party of New Mexico
Phone: (505) 357-7561

HYPOCRISY ALERT: Stingy Steve Pearce Profits Off Taxpayer $$$…

As multi-millionaire Steve Pearce calls on New Mexico’s unsalaried State Legislature

to forgo their pensions, he continues to collect a hefty congressional salary, use generous benefits, and will receive his own pension worth over $40k each year after retirement. At the same time, Pearce continues to hide his assets and income from the public by refusing to release his tax returns even as he promised to months ago.

“Multimillionaire Steve Pearce is demanding our citizen legislators give up modest benefits while he continues to rake in his Congressional salary, receive taxpayer-subsidized health care, and rack up a big fat pension? What a hypocrite.” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “If he really believes what he says, Pearce should lead the way: Release his tax returns like he said he would and give back the millions in salary, benefits, and travel expenses he’s received as a member of Congress to help start paying for the GOP’s $1.9 trillion tax cut.”

As a member of Congress, Pearce has also received benefits like tens of thousands of dollars in travel, and paid his own companies over $17,000 in federal reimbursements.

Let’s compare Pearce and a NM state legislator:

Pearce (after seven terms in Congress) NM Legislator (serving 14 years)
$174k salaryHigh quality subsidized health care

Pension worth over over $40k per year

No salaryNo health care

Pension worth about $15k per year

Pearce paid his own companies to shuttle him around in private aircraft.

  • 2010: the Albuquerque Journal reported that Pearce spent $17,483.07 in taxpayer dollars paying two of his own companies, Gree Ltd. and Trinity Industries Inc.. “Pearce, who held the 2nd Congressional District seat from 2003 through 2008, pocketed $17,483.07 in federal reimbursements for air travel with two Pearce companies.” [Albuquerque Journal, 10/21/2010]

Tax-Hiding Peas in a Pod:

More than three years after launching his campaign for President, Donald Trump continues to hide business deals, foreign ties, and conflicts of interest from the voting public by refusing to release his tax returns. Steve Pearce, once again following directly in Trump’s footsteps, seems to think he can get away with the exact same deception in his run for governor.

Just like Trump, Steve Pearce has exploited his public profile to get richer and now he’s got to hide the evidence. Pearce said would release his tax return 68 days ago, but he still hasn’t delivered on his promise to New Mexicans.

“The only reasonable explanation for Pearce’s blatant lies and refusal to release his tax returns is that, like President Trump, there’s something he doesn’t want you to know hidden in there,” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “Pearce has had 68 days to release the last five years of his returns, like he promised. And like with Trump, until we see Pearce’s returns, we can’t know whether he’s hiding shady foreign investments, corrupt business deals, or conflicts of interest that the public deserves to know about.”

PEARCE FOLLOWS: Doesn’t even pretend to have an excuse after his false promise

  • Pearce promises on-air to release his returns: “Lujan Grisham posted online five years of federal and state tax returns dating back to her first year in Congress, noting that the financial disclosures go beyond those provided by rival Democratic candidates. […] Through a campaign manager, Lujan Grisham called on Republican candidate Pearce to follow her example by providing directly to the public at least five years of tax returns. Pearce told a radio show host Wednesdaythat he would release his tax returns if Lujan Grisham did.”
  • And months later, there’s still nothing there:Pearce’s website contains no information on his tax returns, even though we know he’s worth millions.

DONALD TRUMP LIES: Cited “routine audit” to justify concealing his tax returns.

  • In 2016 Trump justified keeping his tax returns a secret by saying they were under a “routine audit”… routine for someone with a history of shadybusiness deals.
  • Fact checked: the Washington Post called out then-candidate Trump, saying “the audit does not prohibit from releasing the returns.”

Gun violence prevention takes center stage, with Giffords in Albuquerque

Courtesy of

When retired U.S. Navy Captain and astronaut Mark Kelly asked nine high school students how many knew someone who had been shot, all of them raised their hands.

The students were from Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe and two schools on tribal land.

He said that’s the first time every student raised a hand; it’s usually closer to 50 percent when he asks that in other states—and closer to zero percent in other developed nations.

Three of the students later said they had been shot at themselves .

Kelly appeared with his wife, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords in Albuquerque on Tuesday. Giffords survived an assassination attempt in Phoenix in 2011 in which six other people were killed. She has since become one of the most high-profile gun violence prevention activists in the country.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and First Lady Liz Kistin Keller also took part in the roundtable discussion with student activists, some of whom were part of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence or March for Our Lives.

The students spoke about their experiences with gun violence. One high school student said he became involved when a friend killed himself with a gun. Another said that he’s known so many people who have been shot at that he’s lost count.

Kelly offered advice to the students on how to advance the cause of gun violence prevention. He encouraged them to vote, when eligible, to make sure their peers vote and to call their legislators and other elected officials.

Giffords herself briefly spoke, saying that we live in “scary times” and urged the students to “make our country a safer place, a better place.”

Keller told students that the real battleground is at the state level, in part because local governments have their hands tied.

But he was optimistic that their generation would be able to move gun violence protection forward.

“Thanks to your generation, I think there’s more hope than there has ever been to reduce gun violence,” he said.

He compared it to the LGBTQ rights movement, which saw a swift move towards gay marriage legalization after years of incremental moves forward.

Kelly agreed and said the group of students who took part themselves “stand out as a pretty compelling group of people” because of their diversity and backgrounds

“As a group of people, you guys can be pretty powerful if you organize as a group and worked on this issue at the state and local level,” he said.

Just down the hall, state legislators held a joint hearing that included presentations on four bills, including one that passed the Legislature last year and would have stopped domestic abusers from keeping their firearms, but was vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez. .

Interim hearing

Julia Mazal and Sophia Lussiez, high school students who also participated in the roundtable discussion, presented a bill in front of the Legislative Health and Human Services and Courts, Corrections and Criminal Justice Committees.

According to the students, the Child Access Prevention Bill would prevent minors from accessing guns.

Mazal told legislators two-thirds of school shootings could not have happened if the shooter did not have access to guns, such as at home. Since the mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, nearly 150 young men have turned firearms upon schoolchildren.

One bill that has a chance of passing next year would prevent people who are convicted of domestic violence or stalking from owning a gun. Currently, there is no legal framework in the state for the removing firearms from those convicted of domestic abuse.

State Rep. Deborah Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, said the bill would save lives.

“The presence of a gun in domestic violence situations makes it five times more likely that the woman will die,” she said. “And it is one of the highest causes of death in domestic violence is the use of a gun.”

Similar legislation passed the Legislature in the 2017 legislative session, but Martinez vetoed the bill. She said in her veto message that judges already had the authority to bar those subject from restraining orders from possessing firearms.

While it has been rare for gun control bills to become law over the past few decades, thanks in large part to lobbying from organizations like the National Rifle Association, some states have passed so-called “red flag” laws to allow authorities to remove firearms from those deemed to be an imminent danger to themselves or others.

State Rep. Daymon Ely, R-Albuquerque, said eight states have passed red flag laws since the Parkland, Florida school shooting in February.

Hannah Shearer, a staff attorney and Second Amendment Litigation Director with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said it isn’t just for preventing mass shootings, but to prevent suicides.

“New Mexico has a real opportunity to use this law to reduce its high suicide rate,” she said.

New Mexico has the eighth highest rate of suicide in the nation.

State Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Española, also presented a bill that would close what he calls a loophole on gun sales through the internet by requiring background checks for gun sales arranged online.

“This is about denying convicted felons and people who should not have possession of firearms,” Albuquerque Police Department Deputy Chief Harold Medina told legislators.

Giffords Visit Puts Pearce In The Hot Seat

Failing to acknowledge that common sense gun laws lead to safer communities and save lives, for 20 years Steve Pearce has worked hand in hand with his major donors in the gun lobby to halt any progress. Only three sitting members of the House have gotten more cash from gun lobbyists.Since his early days as a state legislator, Pearce has worked to block child access prevention laws, undermine concealed carry restrictions, and he even opposed legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists and domestic abusers.

“New Mexico has one of the highest rates of death from gun violence in the country, but it seems like Steve Pearce doesn’t care,” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “There are steps New Mexico must take to protect our communities, but Steve Pearce is more interested in helping the NRA and Donald Trump put more guns on the streets.”

Pearce said he supports background checks, but voted against strengthening life-saving checks.

  • 2002: Pearce Said He Supported Background Checks. In 2002, Pearce said he supported background checks to prevent felons from acquiring weapons. [Albuquerque Journal, 5/23/02]
  • 2015: Pearce Voted for Blocking Consideration Of Background Checks For Gun Purchases. In October 2015, Pearce voted for to block consideration of a vote “on the bipartisan King-Thompson Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act to strengthen the life-saving background checks that keep guns out of the wrong hands.” The previous question passed, 244-183. A vote against the previous question was to force a vote on background checks. [H Res 466, Vote #541, 10/8/15; Democratic Leader – Previous Questions, 10/23/15]

Pearce has fought child access prevention laws since 1999.

  • 1999: Pearce voted against the “Children and Firearms Safety Act.”The law would have required firearms dealers to provide safety locks and required owners to safeguard guns from children. [HB 239 1999]
  • 2006: Pearce Supported Overturning Law Requiring Child Safety Locks on Handguns. In 2006, Pearce voted in favor of an amendment to overturn a recently enacted law requiring safety trigger locks on all handguns sold in the United States. In 2005, President Bush signed legislation giving gun makers broad protections from civil lawsuits, but that law contained the mandatory trigger lock provision. The amendment reversed the trigger lock provision. [Reuters, 6/29/06] The amendment passed 230-191. [HR 5672, Vote #343, 6/28/06]

Pearce supports letting domestic abusers keep firearms.

  • New Mexico had the third highest rate of men killing women, and more than half of these intimate partner victims are killed with a firearm.
  • 2011: Pearce Voted Against a Motion that Would Prevent Concealed Weapons for Stalkers and Abusers. Pearce voted against a motion that prevented the forced recognition if the permit carrier had been convicted of a sex offense against a minor; had a restraining order for harassing, stalking or threatening loved ones, partners or the children of partners; or if the attorney general had determined them suspected to be, engaged in, or supported terrorism. [CQ Floor Votes, 11/17/11] The motion failed 161-263. [HR 822, Vote #851, 11/16/11]

Pearce voted 20 times to let suspected terrorists purchase firearms.

And he doesn’t think states should have any leeway to pass reasonable gun laws.

  • In August 2017, Pearce Sponsored “Reciprocity” Legislation that Would Undermine New Mexico’s Training and Screening Standards for People Seeking Concealed Carry Licenses. According to the Los Alamos Monitor, “With members of Congress returning home for August recess, Americans for Responsible Solutions on warned that concealed carry “reciprocity” legislation would undermine New Mexico’s rigorous training and screening standards for people seeking to obtain licenses so they can carry concealed handguns. Robin Lloyd, director of government affairs for Americans for Responsible Solutions, warned that as many as 25 other states do not meet New Mexico’s requirements for background checks and firearms safety training for people authorized to carry concealed weapons. New Mexico could be forced to allow unverified people from other states to carry concealed guns in public places under the proposed legislation, according to a flier distributed by the group. [Los Alamos Monitor, 8/2/17]

Hey Steve, Ya Just Lied Not “Clarified” Claiming to Support New Teachers

On Thursday, just half an hour after the AP published a story exposing Pearce’s evaluation plans, Pearce tweeted and posted on facebook saying “I enjoyed attending Belen’s 30th Annual New Educator’s luncheon to show my appreciation for teachers, principals, and support staff.”

At the same time, Pearce’s campaign posts clearly indicated that he was spending the day at events hundreds of miles away in San Juan County.

It took four days for Pearce to “clarify” that he’d lied and it was a staffer who’d attended the luncheon.

“Steve Pearce is running for the highest office in New Mexico, but this dishonesty isn’t acceptable from anyone and it’s just the latest sign he is unfit to lead. Pearce never misses an opportunity to insult educators and students; he’s on a destructive crusade for school vouchers and now he’s skipped this teacher’s event and lied about it,” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “New Mexico educators, students, and families don’t want a governor who lies to them, they want an honest advocate like Michelle Lujan Grisham fighting for them everyday.”

This is just the latest instance of fraud in a decades-long record of Pearce claiming to support students and teachers while slashing funding, failing to support at-risk students, and pushing school vouchers against the will of NM educators, students, and families.

Pearce failed at risk students and fought to slash funding

  • 1997: Pearce voted against the at-risk student adjustment in the school funding formula. Only 10 members of the house voted against the bill which was eventually signed by the governor. This provides more support for schools serving more at-risk students. [HB 215 1997]
  • 1997: Pearce voted against the Education Appropriation Act in the New Mexico House. Only six members voted against the bill. The bill included $1.3b in public school support and some emergency appropriations. [HB 3 1997]
  • 1997: Pearce voted against teaching American Sign Language in NM Public Schools.  [ SJM 44 ,1997]
  • 1998: Pearce voted against a memorial requiring New Mexico’s education department to to develop a plan to honor the NM constitution and provide spanish proficient teachers. [ HJM 38 1998]
  • 1999: Pearce pushed a voucher plan that would have cut education funding by $300m. [Albuquerque Journal, 3/20/1999]
  • 2003: Pearce Supported Diverting Special Education Funds to Vouchers. In 2003, Pearce voted in favor of an amendment that would have diverted scarce special education dollars to unaccountable private school vouchers. The amendment was defeated 182-240. [HR 1350, Vote #151, 4/30/03]
  • In 2013, Pearce Voted for Partisan Education Bill Would Gut Public Education Funding by $1 Billion. In July 2013, Pearce voted for a Republican education bill that would gut public education and remove accountability measures. “The bill would freeze education spending at sequester rates instead of restoring federal dollars to pre-sequester levels, which means public schools would receive $1 billion less next year. […] Public education has largely been a bipartisan issue in Congress; Friday’svote was the first time that major legislation was moved on a party line vote. […] The bill would delete a provision known as “maintenance of effort,” which currently ensures that states use federal dollars in addition to, and not as a replacement for, state and local dollars to help low-income, minority, disabled students and English learners. […] The bill eliminates the current accountability system, called adequate yearly progress, which requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014.” [Washington Post, 7/19/13] The bill passed 221-207. [HR 5, Vote #374, 7/19/13]
  • In 2015, Pearce Voted Against A Motion To Guarantee Continued Funding For The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. In July 2015, Pearce voted against a Democratic motion to recommit that “guarantees continued funding for IDEA [Individuals with Disabilities Education Act], including for students with autism and cognitive disabilities; and protects children with disabilities from abusive seclusion and restraint practices, which, according to the GAO, have resulted in severe injury and even death.” The motion failed, 185 to 244. [HR 5, Vote #422, 7/8/15; Democratic Leader – Motion To Recommit, 7/8/15]
  • In 2015, Pearce Voted Against Ensuring That Minority And Low-Income Students Are College-Ready. In July 2015, Pearce voted against an amendment to the Student Success Act that would determine, “that the enactment of this Act, and the amendments made by this Act, will not decrease the college and career readiness of students who are racial or ethnic minority, students with disabilities, English learners, and low-income student.” The amendment failed 189 to 241. [HR 5, Vote #418, 7/8/15]

77% of educators and 85% of top teachers oppose school vouchers…

…but Pearce apparently forgot to bring them to the table while aggressively pushing vouchers over two decades.

  • 1999: Pearce played a key role in efforts to hold education funding and the state budget hostage over school vouchers, trying to cut public school funding by $300 million. In 1999 Pearce voted against both the regular and special session appropriations bills in the NM House of Representatives. Pearce voted no on the regular session budget, which was vetoed by the governor in order to push a school voucher program. Senate Majority Leader Tim Jennings criticized the governor and allies saying that “a whole lot of people in New Mexico are going to find themselves in a world of hurt if the governor remains bent on saying there’s going to be no budget unless he gets his voucher program.” In the special session, the spending bill included funding for education priorities, including a 5.25% salary increase for public school teachers, 5% more for higher education, and $5m for early childhood literacy. Pearce again voted against the budget, which was signed by the governor, while pushing his own pilot school voucher program. According to the AP, “the bill would provide for 7,500 students from welfare-eligible families to get $3,100 to attend any public or private school.” The bill did not make it out of committee. Pearce had previously voted in favor of a full school voucher program, that would, according to the ABQ Journal, “have given vouchers to about 100,000 poor children in its first year at a potential cost of $300 million which would have come out of the state’s public schools budget.” During this entire fight, Pearce aligned himself with efforts Senate President Pro Tem Manny Aragon described as “at war with the public schools of the state of New Mexico.” [HB 4 1999 1st Special; HB21 1999 1st Special; AP, 3/12/1999; AP 5/13/1999; AP, 5/10/1999; AP, 5/22/1999; AP, 5/14/1999; AP, 3/20/1999; Albuquerque Journal, 3/20/1999]
  • 2003: Pearce Supported Diverting Special Education Funds to Vouchers. In 2003, Pearce voted in favor of an amendment that would have diverted scarce special education dollars to unaccountable private school vouchers. The amendment was defeated 182-240. [HR 1350, Vote #151, 4/30/03]
  • In 2011, Pearce Violated Republican Spending Rules to Support School Vouchers. In 2011, Pearce voted for a reauthorization and modification of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program which grants school vouchers to low-income D.C. students without offsetting the cost of the program through spending cuts. The legislation would authorize, from Fiscal Year 2012 through 2016, $20 million annually to reinstitute a school voucher program in the District and would also authorize an additional $40 million annually to assist District public and charter schools from fiscal 2012 to 2016. This funding was not offset by cutting spending elsewhere in the budget and would have violated the CutGo rule put in place by Republicans; they waved the rule for this bill. [CQ Today Online News, 3/30/11; Associated Press, 3/31/1] The bill passed 225-195. [HR 471, Vote #204, 3/30/11]
  • In 2015, Pearce Voted for D.C. Private School Voucher Program. In October 2015, Pearce voted for the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act, a bill providing funds for a private school voucher program for K-12 students in the District of Columbia. “House Republicans approved a bill Wednesday to extend the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, the only federally funded, private school voucher program for K-12 students, through 2021. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) authored the bill, which for the first time would require that some students with vouchers take the same standardized tests in math and reading administered to public school students in the District.” The bill passed, 240 to 191. [HR 10, Vote #559, 10/21/15; Washington Post, 10/21/15]
  • 2016: Pearce Voiced No Concern Over Trump’s Voucher Plans and Said He was “Excited to Work with the Trump Administration to Advance and Strengthen the Educational System in New Mexico.” According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, “U.S. Rep.Steve Pearce, a New Mexico Republican and a Trump supporter, didn’t voice any concerns about a voucher program. Whether Trump plans to “promote a greater choice in educational institutions or the advancement of STEM” — science, technology, engineering and math programs — ‘I am excited to work with the Trump Administration to advance and strengthen the educational system in New Mexico,’ Pearce said in an email.” [Santa Fe New Mexican, 11/26/16]

Pearce Lies Pile Up

After his false promise to release his tax returns in May, last week Steve Pearce got caught revealing he lied about his plans to change the teacher evaluation system. In the same hour, he tried to get away with faking his attendance at an event in Belen supporting new educators. Pearce just can’t stop lying to New Mexican educators, children, and families.

“Steve Pearce is doing all he can to hide his corruption, extremism, and support for Susana Martinez and Hanna Skandera’s failed education policies,” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “New Mexico voters are getting a taste of what a Pearce governorship would look like: deception, broken promises, and four more years of Susana Martinez’ failed Republican leadership in New Mexico.”

68 days ago the AP detailed Pearce’s promise to release his tax returns…

  • “Lujan Grisham posted online five years of federal and state tax returns dating back to her first year in Congress, noting that the financial disclosures go beyond those provided by rival Democratic candidates. […] Through a campaign manager, Lujan Grisham called on Republican candidate Pearce to follow her example by providing directly to the public at least five years of tax returns. Pearce told a radio show host Wednesday that he would release his tax returns if Lujan Grisham did.”

… but he continues to hide his income and assets from the public

Pearce courted attention saying he’d suspend and transform teacher evaluations…

  • In June the AP reported: U.S. Congressman and GOP nominee Steve Pearce told The Associated Press on Thursday that the current system for rating teacher performance has crushed the spirit of many talented educators and contributed to the state’s teacher shortage.

…then revealed his own lies, saying he wanted to keep “almost exactly the same system”

  • Educators were “frustrated” by Pearce’s decision to stand by the failed Martinez/Skandera education reforms that have left New Mexico in 50th.

And 30 minutes after that story broke, he blatantly lied about supporting teachers by attending a local luncheon in Belen:

  • Despite spending the day campaigning in Farmington, Pearce claimed to attend the New Educator’s luncheon in Belen hundreds of miles away.

  • It took four days for him to issue a “clarification”, admitting his lies and failing to apologize to the educators he’d used as political tools to divert attention from negative press.

Changes in Meeting Schedule

Going forward the Democratic Party of McKinley County will have the following meeting schedule.

1st Tuesday of each month, online meeting by phone. Details can be found here.

3rd Tuesday of each month, in person meeting at the Red Mesa Center. Details can be found here.