Community and Public Affairs
“Every person whether he is a bum or dumb it doesn't matter but you have to get up and exercise the right of vote so that you can save your own country and your own self from disaster. And that applies to those who are political and who are non-political equally.” ~Yogi Bhajan, January 8, 1980
NM POLITICAL SCENE: THE BASICS
Piaray Sadh Sangat, here is an overview of New Mexico’s political scene as of January 10, 2016.
Sikh Community in NM Politics
Hacienda de Guru Ram Das Ashram, a non-profit religious organization, is officially neutral in all partisan politics. That said, the Siri Singh Sahib Yogi Bhajan was well-known, loved and respected in Federal, State and local political circles, and he supported community participation in political events large and small, local to presidential. During any election cycle, he usually reminded us to vote! For many years, a member of our Ashram has served as the Reader in the House on the days during the session. Additionally, our community annually hosts a Legislative luncheon at the start of the session. So we do not have to be shy about political participation.
Presidential Election Year
2016 is the year we elect a new President; current President Barack Obama is in his last year as President. This year we also (re)elect our U.S. Congressmen, along with a host of State office holders.
Track all the people running to become the next (Republican or Democratic) President.
Primary Election June 7, 2016
New Mexico is a closed primary state. This has the unfortunate effect of requiring voters to be members of a registered party, and there are only two qualified parties in NM. This means that the November ballots are decided by voters registered only as Republican or Democrat. So, for any political race, over 18% of registered NM voters do not get to vote for candidates that will be on the November election ballot. This information is current from 2014, and in January 2016 it is too soon to tell if that will change before the primary. But you get the idea. There was a lawsuit in NM filed around this issue last year, but the judge upheld the current closed system.
Northern NM is Still Blue
FYI: Northern NM is heavily Democratic. So in an election year in Rio Arriba, Taos, and Santa Fe Counties, there is often no Republican candidate on a ballot for local slots such as State representative, Probate Judge, County Commissioner and the like. Often, only Democratic candidates vie for some state or local offices.
Consequently, to have any political voice over local politicians, it is highly recommended that you vote in the NM primary on June 7.
NM Elected Office Holders – Who Represents What
U.S. Congressional Delegation
If you live in Northern NM (Española Valley, Santa Fe, Taos, Rio Arriba County, Los Alamos) in Congressional District 3, your current U.S. Congressman is Ben Ray Luján (D). If you live in the Albuquerque area in Congressional District 1, Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is your Representative. All U.S. Representatives are up for re-election every two years. So far both are planning to run for re-election in 2016.
Our U.S. Senators are Martin Heinrich (D) and Tom Udall (D). Senator Udall used to hold the congressional seat currently occupied by Rep. Ben Ray Luján, and has been a friend to our community for many years. Neither is up for re-election in 2016.
NM Governor, State Legislature
Republican Susana Martinez is Governor; she is the first woman to be elected governor in New Mexico. The Lieutenant Governor is John Sanchez. They are in their second term, which ends in 2018.
The NM State Legislature meets at the State Capitol in Santa Fe from mid-January to mid-March in odd years; these are general session. In even years, the Legislature meets from mid-January to mid-February for budget bills only. This year’s session begins Jan 19, 2016.
Democrats are still the majority in the State Senate. But Republicans took the State House in November 2014, which made for an unusual 2015 Legislative Session, as the Democrats had kept both houses for decades. That said, most of our Sangat happen to have Democratic State Senators and Representatives. Carl Trujillo (D) is the State Representative for the Ashram area. Richard C. Martinez is the State Senator for most all our Sangat in the Espanola Valley. Otherwise, to find your State Senator or Representative, visit the NM Legislature.
Sangat Counties, Voter Registration
We have Sangat in four counties: Santa Fe (includes our Ashram in Sombrillo), Rio Arriba, Taos, and Bernalillo (includes Albuquerque). The NM Secretary of State's office has a wealth of information on voter registration, positions in contention, and more. You'll also find your County Clerk's contact information. If you are not already registered to vote, or have moved your residence since the last election and need to update your registration, start at the County Clerk's office for your county. Check your voter’s registration.
Española is in two counties, Santa Fe and Rio Arriba. If you do not know which County your home is in, start at the Secretary of State's office, and they'll let you know, based on your physical address.
For Española residents, the Rio Arriba County Clerk's office is on Industrial Park Road past the Española Post Office. The closest Santa Fe County Clerk's office is in Pojoaque in the Pojoaque Pueblo Plaza.
Info on registering to vote or update your registration by starting here: NM Secretary of State's office:
To register/update your voter's registration and learn your in-person voting location: Contact info for your County Clerk
NM State Government: http://www.newmexico.gov/
NM State Legislature: http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/
NM Democratic Party: http://www.nmdemocrats.org/
County-level Democratic Party leaders: http://www.dpnm.net/new-mexico-county-parties/
NM Republican Party: http://newmexico.gop/default.aspx
County-level Republican Party leaders: http://newmexico.gop/counties/
NM Green Party: http://www.greenpartynm.org/.
Exercise your democratic rights. Sat Nam.