“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 31, 2018. 2018 is a year of big political change for New Mexico. Why?
- We get to elect a new governor, to replace our current term-limited Gov. Susana Martinez (R).
- NM will [re]elect 1 US Senator and 3 US Congressmen. Nationwide, this year is “mid-term elections” year.
- Many state & local positions are also up for voters to fill.
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 served as the Reader in the House during the Legislative 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.
All politics is local. Your vote matters.
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 candidates from a single party vie for some state or local offices.
This means to have a say, you must vote in the June 5 2018 primary.
Vote in June 5 NM Primary
The primary election is held June 5, 2018. You must be registered as a Democrat, Republican or LIbertarian in order to vote in the primary. (This party restriction has been contested in NM Courts, and the contenders lost.) A lot of us would rather be registered Independent (officially known as “Decline to State”). But then we lose any opportunity to influence who is on the November general election ballot because Independents are not allowed to vote in the primary (nor can members of small parties that aren’t one of the major parties mentioned above). In the case of many local offices in Northern NM, the winner is often determined in the primary, meaning s/he runs unopposed in the November general election.
So this is the trade-off of being registered with a major political party, or not.
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); he is running for reelection. If you live in the Albuquerque area in Congressional District 1, Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is your Representative, although she is not running for re-election because she is running for NM Governor. If you live in Congressional District 1 (mostly the southern half of NM), your Representative is Republican Steve Pearce, who is also running for NM Governor. So in January 2019, NM will have at least two new faces going to Congress in Washington.
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. Senator Heinrich is running for re-election in 2018.
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 mainly.
Democrats are the majority in the State Senate. Democrats are again the majority in the State House of Representatives in 2018, after two years as the minority party. 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. Be advised that long-serving State Senator Nick Salazar (D; Rio Arriba and other areas) is retiring, so for our more northern sangat, the NM District 40 race is already looking competitive.
Sangat Counties, Voter Registration
Most of our Sangat are 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 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.
Register to vote or update your registration at the NM Secretary of State's office.
Learn your in-person voting location: Contact info for your County Clerk.
General info on elections in NM 2018 (one of many such sites)
Exercise your democratic rights and your responsibility as a citizen. Vote!