Steve Pearce Doesn’t Listen to Teachers, 20 Year Anti-Education Record & Recent Caught-on-Camera Comments Make it Clear

Steve Pearce will say anything to get elected, like saying he’ll work closely with New Mexico teachers to support the change our public schools need, but his 20 year record of support for measures like school vouchers and lower teacher salaries, alongside recent comments that he’d keep “almost exactly the same system” for teacher evaluations demonstrates he is not being truthful.

“Pearce has had over 20 years in politics to listen to and work with teachers to transform education in New Mexico, but he’s more interested in pursuing destructive policies like school vouchers, cutting classroom funding, and opposing even modest raises for some of the lowest-paid educators in the country,” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.“He’s now been busted for talking out of both sides of his mouth, promising to overhaul the evaluation system, but then saying he’d probably install ‘almost exactly the same [Martinez/Skandera] system’ when he thought fewer people were listening.”

WATCH: “We may use almost exactly the same evaluation system.”

Pearce has spent his political career aggressively pushing destructive anti-educator policies without taking the time to hear what educators themselves might think:

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]
  • 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]
  • 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 doesn’t seem to have listened to anyone about New Mexico underpaying its educators.

  • New Mexico ranks 44th in the nation in average teacher salaries.With an average 2016 salary of $47,163, only a few states paid their educators less than New Mexico.
  • Pearce hasn’t committed to raising teacher pay during his gubernatorial campaign: Politico reported that “Lujan Grisham has said that should she be become the state’s next governor, she would cut the fight short by “immediately” halting the state’s appeal of the ruling. […] Among Lujan Grisham’s campaign promises is a proposal to boost teachers’ starting salaries to $40,000 from the current $36,000. Pearce, meanwhile, stopped short of making such a commitment on the school funding case. “This ruling underscores the importance of my plan to reform education. The old way is broken,” Pearce said in statement to Morning Education through a spokesman.
  • 1999: Pearce voted against education appropriations legislation that would have raised teacher salaries. “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.” [HB 4 1999 1st Special; AP, 5/11/1999]

And when educators have graded Pearce on his work in Congress, he’s always earned an ‘F’

  • NEA’s Legislative Report Card has given Pearce an ‘F’ each time he’s been graded. Their grades focus on votes in Congress as well as the legislators accessibility to educators and behind-the-scenes work.

NM looks to lead the nation in health care with Medicaid buy-in option

Courtesy of NMPoliticalReport.com

Althea Yazzie, from McKinley County, said it was a slow build toward her support of Medicaid buy-in.

But when her grandson was born premature and her son and his wife were stuck with an unexpectedly large bill, she started advocating for the option. That option would allow people to pay a premium, like for private insurance, to buy into Medicaid or a Medicaid-like program.

Earlier this year, the state Legislature passed a memorial authorizing a study into the viability of Medicaid buy-in for the state.

Supporters say this would not only save money for those buying in, but also for the state and hospitals.

Yazzie and others gathered at the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church Monday, the 53rd anniversary of when President Lyndon Johnson signed a bill creating Medicare and Medicaid, to discuss the option.

The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty helped organize the event, but the organization’s supervising attorney for healthcare, Abuko Estrada, said it was people like Yazzie who pushed the proposal forward.

“I think it goes back to community here in New Mexico being so strong and having that understanding that no family should go without health coverage because they can’t afford it,” Estrada said. “We’ve worked with families across the state to take that message to everyone and to really build upon that foundation.”

Yazzie says friends and neighbors have encouraged her.

“People are just for us and they tell us to just fight for them. That’s how we got this whole thing going,” Yazzie said. “We went on the media, we went out talking to people, we got people to come in and support us.”

A leader in the space

Ben Ray Lujan, the Democratic congressman who represents the state’s 3rd Congressional District, also attended the meeting.

Lujan said that Medicaid is a key way to expand access to health care in a way that is affordable, accessible and high-quality.

“I would argue, in New Mexico where we have over 40 percent of New Mexicans who are benefiting from Medicaid, that we already have a large pool,” he said. “So a buy-in program in New Mexico can build upon that success.” It would be another choice for people to find coverage, he said, and the infrastructure is already in place.

Andy Slavitt, a former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama, agreed that New Mexico could lead the nation. About a dozen other states are considering Medicaid buy-in programs, he said, but New Mexico is furthest along in the process.

“I think if New Mexico keeps its plan together and keeps working and gets everybody involved, it could be the first state in the nation and a shining light, much in the way Massachusetts was when Romneycare passed it became a model,” he said.

It’s important for states to lead the way in the effort is important, Slavitt said, because states can’t count on the federal government to lead the way any more.

Something that can be done now

While Medicaid buy-in would expand health care options, there is another, more drastic solution: Medicare-for-all.

This single-payer system would insure all Americans without co-pays or premiums. A study from a libertarian think tank estimated it would cost the federal government $32.6 trillion over ten years—but overall health spending in the United States would actually be less than with the current system.

But Medicare-for-all wouldn’t happen very quickly.

“I think [Medicaid buy-in] is an option that can be achieved sooner while other options will continue to be debated, looking at the thresholds required to get those implemented as well,” Lujan said.

He also noted that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who is sponsoring the Medicare-for-all bill, is also co-sponsor of the Senate version of the Medicaid buy-in bill.

Lujan takes a pragmatic look at the issue.

“The idea here is how do we build the conversation and ultimately get this passed and implemented to provide more opportunities, affordable care, accessible care and high-quality care to people across New Mexico,” he said.

For an increasing number of Democrats, Medicare-for-all is the ultimate goal, something Kimberly Espinoza, Lujan’s health advisor, acknowledged.

“The Congressman’s obviously working very hard in his other role as a reality in a blue house, but there’s still so many hurdles,” she said. “And while we’re jumping those hurdles at the federal level, people are going without coverage.”

Steve Pearce Caught On Camera Admitting He Supports “Exactly The Same” Failed Martinez/Skandera Evaluation System

In a shocking caught on camera moment, and demonstrating once again that he is desperately out of touch with New Mexico educators, students, and families, Steve Pearce told a group of leaders in education last week that, if elected, he would improve education by changing our teacher evaluation systems… to “almost exactly the same evaluation system,” as the Susana Martinez/Hanna Skandera system. Seriously. Just listen to Steve himself:  

“Steve Pearce has doubled down on the failed Martinez education agenda, which has harmed our children and kept New Mexico in last place for the past eight years,” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.“New Mexicans know Michelle Lujan Grisham will deliver real change for our children and reverse the damage Steve Pearce, Susana Martinez, and former Education Secretary Hanna Skandera have done by starving our public schools.”

Pearce went on to further demonstrate his tone-deafness, saying that teachers are “seeing the positive aspects” of a system that has devastated New Mexico education.

Pearce supports the unfair, unproductive Martinez/Skandera evaluation system has left us struggling to recruit and retain teachers, and continued to fail our kids…

…and has not committed to support the real changes necessary to build stronger schools.

‘Burque Bucks’ campaign clears first hurdle

Albuquerque voters are one step closer to voting on a change to the city charter that would increase city funds to some municipal candidates.

At a press conference outside city hall on Tuesday, a coalition of local non-profits announced they collected nearly 28,000 petition signatures aimed at getting a public finance voucher program on the general election ballot in November. The proposed program, called Democracy Dollars and more recently dubbed Burque Bucks, would provide each Albuquerque resident a $25 voucher to contribute to the publicly-financed candidate of their choice.

Former state senator Dede Feldman is a proponent of the proposal. The Albuquerque Democrat said political races get bogged down in high-spending corporations and political special interest groups. She said the vouchers would favor individual voters over those groups when it comes to influence.

“Our intent here is to close, what I call, the influence gap,” Feldman said.

New Mexico Working Families Party State Director and former Albuquerque city councilor Eric Griego said the program would ensure that candidates who choose not to accept private donations can “be as competitive as those who do take that private money.”

“What Democracy Dollars is really about is leveling that playing field,” Griego said.

As  a city councilor he helped create the city’s original public financing program in 2005. The original program included a fund-matching component that gave additional money to publicly-financed candidates who were up against privately-funded opponents with more money. In 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court deemed matching funds unconstitutional.

But the city’s original matching program is part of the reason Burque Bucks won’t need a tax increase for funding. According to the campaign’s website, the city already has $3 million fund originally set up to pay for the now-defunct matching program. That money, called the Open and Ethical Elections Fund, is also earmarked for the already-existing public financing program.

In 2009, all three Albuquerque mayoral candidates used public financing, including eventual winner Richard Berry. By 2013, Berry opted not to run a publicly-financed campaign and raised about $800,000 in cash donations.

In 2017 only one mayoral candidate, Mayor Tim Keller, ran his campaign on public money. But, an Albuquerque election ethics board decided that Keller’s campaign violated the provision by accepting checks as in-kind, or goods and services, contributions. Other candidates in 2017 said qualifying for public financing and trying to compete against privately-funded candidates made running for office too difficult. Still, even including in-kind contributions, Keller raised less than half a million dollars whereas his opponent in the runoff election, Dan Lewis, raised more than $800,000 in cash and in-kind donations, combined.

Under the Burque Bucks proposal, publicly-financed candidates could receive up to double the amount they would normally receive, depending on how many residents allocate their vouchers to them.

The proposal cannot go to voters until the Albuquerque city clerk qualifies petition signatures submitted and the Bernalillo County Commission approves ballot space for the November election.

Ben Carson And Steve Pearce: Partners In Extremism

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is in New Mexico today, under the guise of an official visit, but there’s no hiding that he’s really here, on taxpayer dollars, to campaign for right-wing crusader Steve Pearce in his campaign for governor. They aren’t even visiting Pearce’s district.

“How generous of Trump to use government resources to help Steve Pearce put on a fake ‘congressional event,’ miles outside of Pearce’s district and shame on both of them for using New Mexicans’ tax dollars for Pearce’s campaign, for the second time in two days,” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “It’s no surprise Trump dispatched his HUD Secretary to campaign for Pearce. Both are extremists cut from the same cloth, they share backwards views on LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, and both oppose universal healthcare and the most basic gun safety reform.”

Both would turn back women’s rights, and Carson called for “re-education” of women who support choice.

Pearce would support the rollback of Roe v. Wade, and in a 2006 interview “said he did not think abortion should be a legal option available to women.” [Albuquerque Journal, 10/22/06]

Ben Carson called for the “re-education” of women so they don’t get “riled up” about their rights.

Ben Carson and Steve Pearce both support a radical anti-LGBTQ+ agenda

Steve Pearce donates thousands to Capitol Ministries, a group Carson singled out for praise. The group claims to support “bible-based laws” and vehemently opposes same sex marriage. Pastor Ralph Drollinger has said that homosexuality is “illegitimate” and that it would lead to “the discontinuation of the species.” [Steve and Cynthia Pearce Charitable Foundation Forms 990]

Carson thinks homosexuality is a choice: CNN reported that Carson asserted “that homosexuality is a choice because people ‘go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay.’”

Both actively pushed anti-transgender hate. Carson believes that transgender people should be forced into separate bathrooms, saying “it’s not fair for them to make everybody else uncomfortable.” And in August 2016, Pearce Wrote a Letter to the Las Cruces Public School Board Offering His Assistance in “Beating Back” “Overreach” by the Obama Administration Regarding Transgender Students’ Bathroom Use.

Carson called Obamacare “the worst thing since slavery” and Pearce voted to strip health coverage from over 300,000 New Mexicans

2013: At the Value Voters Summit, Ben Carson compared the Affordable Care Act to slavery. The Washington Post reported: You know Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” Carson, who is African American, said Friday in remarks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington. “And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control.”

2017: After voting at least 20 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Pearce voted to pass the American Health Care Act, which would have kicked up to 318k New Mexicans off of their health coverage. Independent analysis by the non-partisan Urban Institute found that the Medicaid cuts in the bill could eliminate coverage for nearly 15 million nationwide, and over 300,000 in New Mexico.

Both Pearce and Carson are in the pocket of the hard-right gun lobby.

Carson said he “never saw a body with bullet holes” that would merit tougher gun-laws. This was after the Umpqua Community College shooting that killed eight students and a teacher.

Pearce has said for decades “I think we’ve got plenty of gun laws in place.” [AP, 5/22/2002]

New Pearce Ad Chock-Full of Untruths

Steve Pearce released a new ad today, trying desperately to rewrite his record on jobs and opportunity for New Mexicans. Nobody’s buying it.

“Don’t be fooled, with a record as destructive as Steve Pearce’s, standing with Governor Martinez’s failed policies, lies are about all you’ve got,” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “Pearce rarely misses a chance to vote with Susana Martinez against good jobs and better education for New Mexicans.”

Pearce’s “plan”

The Truth on Pearce’s record

Narrator: “Big ideas for a better New Mexico? Steve Pearce has a few”

Big ideas? After Michelle Lujan Grisham has spent 10 months discussing 12 detailed policy plans with real ideas to build a stronger New Mexico, Pearce is touting a fake “jobs plan” lacking on substance or detail.

Pearce: “A New Silicon Mesa where 21st century industries would set up shop to support our national labs with a highly trained workforce.

Pearce has worked for less workforce training opportunity, higher tuition, and more student debt:

  • 1997: Pearce voted against appropriating $355,000 for establishing a job training and skills program for welfare recipients. [HB 1052 1997]

  • 1998: Pearce voted against a bill to provide career education opportunities to NM students. HB 124 would have created and expanded services connecting students to work opportunities and jobs. [HB 124 1998]

  • 1999: Pearce voted against a bill that would have appropriated $1 million for vocational education programs in public high schools. [HB 88 1999]

  • 1999: Pearce voted against the Education Works program, which would provide cash assistance and other measures to support needy families pursuing education. [SB 175 1999]

  • 2004: Opposed $2bn increase for Pell Grants [H Res 685, Vote #301, 6/24/04; Associated Press, 6/25/04; Washington Times, 6/25/04]

  • 2010: Opposed $1.9bn increase for Pell Grants [HR 3010, Vote #320, 6/24/05]

  • 2011: Voted Against Protecting Pell Grants from $39m Cut [HR 1, Vote #146, 2/19/11]

  • 2013: Voted for Ryan Budget that cut Pell Grant Eligibility and Funding [Inside Higher Ed, 3/13/13; Campus Progress, 3/12/13]

  • 2013: Pearce Voted for “Students Pay More Act.” “Using Congressional Budget Office projections, that would translate to a 5 percent interest rate on Stafford loans in 2014, but the rate would climb to 7.7 percent for loans in 2023. Stafford loan rates would be capped at 8.5 percent, while loans for parents and graduate students would have a 10.5 percent ceiling under the GOP proposal,” reported the Associated Press. [Associated Press, 5/16/13] The bill passed, 221-198. [HR 1911, Vote #183, 5/23/13]

  • 2014: Voted for FY15 Ryan Budget that cut Pell Grant Eligibility and Funding [H.C Con. Res 96, Vote #177, 4/10/14; CQ, 4/10/14]

  • 2015: Voted for FY16 Conference Report that cut Pell Grant Eligibility and Funding [S CON RES 11, Vote #183; On Agreeing to the Conference Report, 4/30/15; Bloomberg, 4/29/15]

“Science education” Steve Pearce supports creationism and doesn’t believe in climate change.

  • Pearce donates to to the Institute for Creation Studies, which says: “The real facts of science will always agree with biblical revelation because the God who made the world of God inspired the Word of God.” [Institute for Creation Studies, accessed 7/31/2018; Steve and Cynthia Pearce Charitable Trust form 990]

  • In October 2014, Pearce Said there was No Need to Address Global Warming. According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, “Also during the debate, Lara said she supports same-sex marriage, but Pearce said the issue should not redefine marriage. Pearce also said there was no need to address global warming, but Lara said southern New Mexico has the potential to benefit through its abundance of solar and wind power.” [Las Cruces Sun-News, 10/15/14]

“Put apprenticeship programs into high schools so kids have a pathway to a good job if they’re not going to college.

Pearce claims to support vocational opportunities in schools, but votes against those same opportunities

  • 1998: Pearce voted against a bill to provide career education opportunities to NM students. HB 124 would have created and expanded services connecting students to work opportunities and jobs. [HB 124 1998]

  • 1999: Pearce voted against a bill that would have appropriated $1 million for vocational education programs in public high schools. [HB 88 1999]

  • In 2017, Pearce Voted For Blocking Consideration Of HR 2933, The Leveraging Effective To Rebuild National Skills Act. “The Democratic previous question would amend the rule to allow for consideration of H.R. 2933, the leveraging effective apprenticeships to rebuild national skills act, which would promote effective apprenticeships that give students and workers the skills they need to find well-paying jobs.” A vote for the motion was a vote to block consideration of the leveraging effective apprenticeships to rebuild national skills act. [H RES 468, Vote #410, 7/25/17; CQ, 7/25/17; DemocraticLeader.Gov, 7/25/17]

And he doesn’t even want to fund schools enough to cover basic operations:

  • 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. Pearce again voted against the budget and 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;; Albuquerque Journal, 3/20/1999]

  • 2003: Pearce Supported Budget Cutting Education by $38 billion. In 2003, Pearce voted in favor of a budget resolution that provided for $1.3 trillion in taxpayers cuts over ten years, while cutting programs for children and public education by $38 billion over ten years, below the amount needed to maintain current service levels. [HCR 95, Vote #82, 3/20/03]

  • 2005: Pearce Voted to Public Education Funding by $806 Million. [HR 3010, Vote #321, 6/24/05]

  • 2005: Pearce Opposed Additional $7 Billion to Fund Priority Education Programs. [HR 3010, Vote #320, 6/24/05]

  • 2008: Pearce Voted Against Modernizing and Repairing Public Schools. In 2008, Pearce voted against a bill that would authorize $6.4 billion to build environmentally friendly public schools. [HR 3021, Vote # 379, 6/04/08]

  • In 2013, Pearce Voted for Partisan Education Bill Would Gut Public Education Funding by $1 Billion [Washington Post, 7/19/13] The bill passed 221-207. [HR 5, Vote #374, 7/19/13]

“Cool jobs with better pay, upgrading air conditioning to cut pollution, powering solar panels.

Pearce is as uninterested in energy efficiency and powering solar development as anyone:

  • 2004: Pearce Voted Against Increasing Funds for Renewable Energy. In 2004, Pearce voted against an amendment to increase funding for renewable energy sources by $30 million – 10 percent more than what the underlying bill provided for solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydrogen renewable energy programs. The increase would be offset by a decrease in the Advanced Simulation and Computing program – a project to analyze and predict the performance, safety, and reliability of nuclear weapons and certify their functionality. [CQ House Action Reports, 6/25/04; Advanced Simulation and Computing Program.http://www.lanl.gov/asci/] The amendment was defeated 150-241. [HR 4614, Vote #321, 6/25/04]

  • 2007: Pearce Voted Against Increasing Use of Renewable Energy. In 2007, Pearce voted against an amendment to increase the use of renewable energies. The amendment required retail electricity suppliers, starting in 2010, to produce at least 2.75 percent of electricity from renewable energy sources, with percentages rising each year to 15 percent by 2020. [Congressional Quarterly] The amendment passed 220-190. [HR 3221, Vote #827, 8/4/07]

  • 2008: Pearce Opposed Extension of Tax Credits for Renewable Energy. In 2008, Pearce voted against a bill that would revive or extend about $55.5 billion in tax breaks for individuals and businesses for one year. Specifically, the bill would allot $1.7 billion to allow individuals to deduct state sales taxes instead of income taxes from their 2008 tax filing, and $2.6 billion to extend the deduction for tuition and related expenses through 2008. [CQ Weekly, 5/26/08] The bill also extended tax credits for solar energy, wind energy, biomass, geothermal energy and certain coal projects. The bill would also create a new category of tax credit bonds to help state and local governments with projects designed to reduce greenhouse gases. [CQ Weekly, 5/26/08] The bill passed 263-160. [HR 6049, Vote #344, 5/21/08]

  • In 2008, Pearce voted against a bill that would revive or extend about $55.5 billion in tax breaks for individuals and businesses for one year. Specifically, the bill would allot $1.7 billion to allow individuals to deduct state sales taxes instead of income taxes from their 2008 tax filing, and $2.6 billion to extend the deduction for tuition and related expenses through 2008. [CQ Weekly, 5/26/08] The bill also included $8.8 billion to extend a research and development credit which gives companies an extra incentive to invest in future products through 2008. [CQ Weekly, 5/26/08] The bill also extended tax credits for solar energy, wind energy, biomass, geothermal energy and certain coal projects. The bill would also create a new category of tax credit bonds to help state and local governments with projects designed to reduce greenhouse gases. [CQ Weekly, 5/26/08] The bill passed 263-160. [HR 6049, Vote #344, 5/21/08]

  • In 2011, Pearce Voted for a Repeal of Increased Efficiency Standards for Light Bulbs. In 2011, Pearce voted for a repeal of bipartisan regulations that increased energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. The bipartisan regulations passed in 2007 increased energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. The regulation requires bulbs to be 25-30 percent more efficient by 2014 and 60 percent more efficient by 2020. The bill would have also removed $30 million in funding for education and research that was to go along with the new energy standards. [New York Times, 7/13/11; CQ Floor Votes, 7/12/11] The bill failed to reach a two-thirds majority to pass, 233-193. [HR 2417, Vote #563, 7/12/11]

  • In 2015, Pearce Voted for An Amendment To Repeal An EPA Rule Establishing Efficiency Standards For Residential Wood Heaters. [HR 8, Vote #669, 12/3/15; CQ Floor Votes, 12/3/15]

  • In 2015, Pearce Voted Against Clean Energy Development.In December 2015, Pearce voted against a motion to “recommit the bill to the Committee on Energy and Commerce with instructions to report back to the House with an amendment that would remove market barriers that inhibit the development of renewable energy infrastructure in response to the scientific consensus on climate change.” The motion to recommit failed 243-180. [HR 8, Vote #671, 12/3/15; CQ Floor Votes, 12/3/15]

  • Pearce Voted For Nullifying A Bureau Of Land Management “Methane Rule” To Limit The Release Of Methane From Oil And Gas Operations On Federal Land. In February 2017, Pearce voted for “a Congressional Review Act resolution to nullify the Bureau of Land Management’s rule to “require oil and gas operators to control releases of waste methane – a potent greenhouse gas – by adopting new technologies, more frequently inspecting for leaks and replacing outdated equipment that discharges large amounts of natural gas.” [HJRes 36, Vote #78, 2/3/17; CQ News, 2/3/17]

  • Pearce Voted Against Increasing Funding For The Office Of Energy Efficiency And Renewable Energy And Decreasing Funding To The Fossil Energy Research Development Account In The FY 2018 Minibus. In July 2017, Pearce voted against: “Esty, D-Conn., amendment that would increase by $20 million funding for facility acquisition, construction or expansion in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and would reduce by $40million funding to the Fossil Energy Research and Development account.” [H R 3219, Vote #422, 7/26/17; CQ, 7/26/17]

“Let’s get creative. Jobs in the film industry, making movies. Or political ads.

Let’s get creative… by cutting arts funding and not addressing film

  • 2007: Pearce Voted to Bar Funds for the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2007, Pearce voted in favor of an amendment to the fiscal year 2008 Interior appropriations bill to bar the use of funds in the bill for the National Endowment for the Arts. [Congressional Quarterly] The amendment failed 97 – 335. [HR 2643, Vote #575, 6/27/07]

  • 2018: Pearce says he supports film, but unlike Michelle Lujan Grisham, has not released a plan to lift the cap or invest in film as a growth sector. [Michelle Lujan Grisham: Jumpstart New Mexico; Michelle Lujan Grisham: Build New Mexico”

Narrator: “Steve Pearce. Jobs now, leadership for New Mexico.”

 

NM Republicans Complicit in Missing Family Reunification Deadline

Just now, the Trump Administration admitted 700 children remain in custody, separated from their parents, having failed to meet a court-ordered deadline to reunite children ripped from their parents at the border under Trump and Attorney General Sessions’ “zero-tolerance” policy.

“Today’s deadline has come and New Mexico Republicans have failed the test once again. The Trump Administration’s zero-humanity policy will go down in history as one of the worst moral atrocities, not only for this administration, but in our country’s history,” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “Susana Martinez applauded this policy and Steve Pearce, Mick Rich, and Janice Arnold-Jones all responded with mealy-mouthed, half-hearted concern for the families the Trump Administration broke apart. New Mexicans and the families still incarcerated, separated, and suffering in detention deserve better than these cowards.”

Following his weak response to Trump’s inhumane zero-tolerance policies, Steve Pearce told a right-wing radio host that he “didn’t want to stick the President in the eye about it” with his statement, and parroted administration lies that the Flores agreement requires family separation. Pearce said unenthusiastically: “we made a comment, we didn’t want to stick the President in the eye about it but we made comment that separating kids from their parents is rarely a good idea. […] The Flores consent decree literally says that’s what has to be done.” [KKOB 6/25/2018]

Will 2018 be the ‘Year of the Woman’ in New Mexico?

Courtesy NMPoliticalReport.com

Albuquerque’s Melanie Stansbury decided this was the year to run for office. She filed as a candidate for state representative in Albuquerque, in House District 28 in the Northeast Heights. Republicans have held the seat for over a decade but the Democrat is running an energetic campaign and raising thousands of dollars in donations.

Stansbury followed her sister’s lead, a county judge who almost a decade ago went through the Emerge New Mexico program, which trains Democratic woman to run for office.

Stansbury joked that she and her sister are the only “Emerge sisters to actually be real sisters in New Mexico.”

The two familial sisters aren’t alone. A growing number of women are running for office, nationwide and in New Mexico.

Two of the state’s three congressional races will likely send women to Washington D.C. It will be the first time in state history two women represent New Mexico districts in Congress at the same time.

And if Democratic gubernatorial nominee Michelle Lujan Grisham prevails over her Republican opponent, Steve Pearce, women will have stood at the top of state government for three consecutive terms, after Republican Susana Martinez.

Further down ballot, women prevailed in six out of eight state House primaries.

Stansbury’s road to electoral politics began in the 2017 Emerge New Mexico program.

She wasn’t the only one. She noted that EMILY’s List, a group that helps candidates who support abortion rights, heard from 900 women who wanted to run for office in 2016. Those numbers jumped exponentially after the 2016 election: 40,000 women wanted to learn about running for office in 2018.

Stansbury said the 2016 election “really shook people awake.”

“I think that the things that have unfolded with the #MeToo movement and everything that’s happened over the last couple of years has just made people so much more conscious of how critical it is that they get involved, not only in politics, but getting involved in their communities, stepping up to do volunteer work,” she said.

Stansbury has already been involved in public service. She worked in the White House Office of Management and Budget during the Barack Obama Administration, before moving to the Senate Energy Committee, where she notes she worked for ranking member Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington. In that position, she worked closely with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the committee chair and senator from Alaska.

“I think it really inspired me to realize that you can be a deeply thoughtful woman in leadership and bring something to the table,” she said.

NM Political Report reached out the Republican Party of New Mexico for more than a week, seeking interviews about the party’s efforts to elect more women, but did not receive a response.

Not the first ‘Year of the Woman’

“I don’t think we’ve seen this kind of surge since, the 1992 race [which] was also called the ‘year of the woman,’” Lonna Atkeson told NM Political Report.

Atkeson is a political science professor at the University of New Mexico who studies elections and gender politics.

Many women are running in response to the election of Donald Trump, who at least 19 women have accused of sexual misconduct, and the #MeToo movement that came after the accusations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

But she said also institutional changes have helped.

“There have been workshops across the country helping women to run,” Atkeson said. “And there have been large investors that have put money towards bringing female candidates to teach them how to run for office.”

She said these efforts grow the candidate pool, by teaching potential candidates, like Stansbury, what to expect when running for office.

As Atkeson noted, this isn’t the first time pundits and journalists have referred to a year as the “Year of the Woman” in politics. Some thought 1984 would be that year, when Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale chose New York Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. That ticket lost in a historic landslide to Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign.

And it wouldn’t be until 2008 that a woman was on a presidential ticket, when John McCain chose Sarah Palin to fill out the Republican ballot.

But in 1992, 19 women won House seats and four won U.S. Senate seats.

Dianne Feinstein and Patty Murray, both Democrats, are still serving in the U.S. Senate.

After elections in 2012, another year dubbed “Year of the Woman” by some, women held a record 20 seats in the U.S. Senate. And political experts told CNN that women were a key part of Barack Obama’s easy reelection campaign.

New Mexico has seen recent success in the past few decades, especially recent years, with women winning elected office. Martinez, the current Republican governor, easily won two terms. Former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson served five full terms before leaving the seat for an unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate. And current Democratic gubernatorial nominee Michelle Lujan Grisham is in her third term as U.S. Rep. in the same seat.

In congress, Lujan Grisham will likely be replaced by a woman, either Democrat Deb Haaland or Republican Janice Arnold-Jones (Libertarian candidate Lloyd Princeton will also appear on the ballot). And Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce will see his seat filled by either Republican Yvette Herrell or Democrat Xochitl Torres Small.

To date, no woman has represented the state in the U.S. Senate and there is no candidate in the upcoming three-way general election for one of those seats.

As women win elections, it could lead to a snowball effect.

“I think the presence of strong female candidates across the board encourages other women to run,” Atkeson said. “Seeing people succeed who look like you and are like you make a difference to people. So I think those kinds of things absolutely make a difference.”

Correction: This story originally said House District 28 was int he southeast heights; it is the Northeast Heights. The story also previously said Melanie Stansbury worked as an intern in the Obama White House. She was an intern, but also worked as a career staffer.

Emily’s List says they have had contacts with over 40,000 women who inquired about running for office, and we previously used an older number.

Pearce Would Continue Martinez Neglect of Schools

On Friday, a New Mexico district judge ruled that New Mexico has failed its students by not providing adequate funding for its public schools. The Democratic Party of New Mexico responded:

“This court decision told us what we already knew: Susana Martinez has short-changed our students and educators for years,” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “We also know Steve Pearce would be even worse for our public schools. His record shows a pattern: Starve students and educators of resources. He voted to slash Head Start, special education, Pell Grants, and college loan programs at the federal level and we know he’d do even more damage with the power of the governorship. We can’t risk putting a person who is no friend of kids and education, like Steve Pearce, in the Governor’s Mansion.”

Steve Pearce is an enemy to public education:

Pearce voted to cut millions from Head Start and special education.

2005: Pearce voted against an effort to strip a 1% across-the-board cut to all “discretionary” programs that had been attached to the FY 2006 defense spending bill. The provision included a $28 million cut to Title I that would leave behind 160,000 needy children. The measure also cut special education by $7 million and Head Start by $69 million, resulting in 9,500 children being expelled from Head Start classrooms. [Senate Committee on Appropriations Minority Staff, 12/19/05]

He’s repeatedly opposed accountability for public schools.

2017: Pearce Voted For Nullifying A Department Of Education Rule Requiring The Department To Define And Monitor Low-Performing Schools.

2017: Pearce Voted For Nullifying A Department Of Education Rule Requiring States To Annually Evaluate Teacher Certification Programs.

He also supported the nomination of fellow “enemy to public education” Betsy Devos.

Albuquerque Journal, 11/27/16: “Pearce said that contrary to early media reports that described Trump’s transition as in disarray, it is ‘on track with other modern transitions for vetting and quality of nominees.’ […] Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for education secretary, has been sharply criticized by teacher unions, but her selection reflects Trump’s pledge to disrupt the status quo at failing public schools, particularly in cities.”

Jon Valant, Brown Center for Education Policy at the Brookings Institution: Betsy Devos “is regarded as an enemy to public education.”

He’s also no friend of college students:

Steve Pearce voted to cut federal student loans…

2005: Pearce cast a deciding vote in favor of the Deficit Reduction Act, which passed 217-215. The bill cut $12.7 billion from federal student loans, the largest such cut in history.

…Raise interest rates on student borrowers…

The 2005 Deficit Reduction Act also raised interest rates on Stafford loans from 4.7% to 6.8%

…And cut Pell Grants for more than 50,000 New Mexicans.

2015: Pearce voted to slash Pell Grants for more than 50,000 New Mexicansthat receive them.

Pearce also supports forcing creationism into scientific research.

Pearce has given thousands of dollars to the Institute for Creation Research, which seeks to promote creationist ideology in scientific research and education.

Building a better New Mexico – Statewide & Federal Democratic Candidates

Below are the websites and social media accounts for the Democratic candidates running in 2018. If you’re interest in seeing a sample ballot for your area, which includes our local candidates, click here.