Tuesday, January 02, 2007

FOUR MORE YEARS!

You can find my analysis of Gov. Bill Richardson's inaugural address HERE

You can find the speech itself HERE

And here's some more observations I made on the inauguration:


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
January 2, 2007


The state Capitol always fills up for inaugurations.

And even though there were a few empty seats in the House chambers — understandable considering the recent weather and road conditions — the atmosphere was festive Monday at Gov. Bill Richardson’s second inauguration.

Elected officials being sworn in are joined at such events by family members, outgoing state officials, legislators from both parties, administration officials, campaign workers, job seekers, advocates of various issues, lobbyists and other miscellaneous dignitaries and curious citizens.

The governor and first lady Barbara Richardson as well as Lt. Gov. Diane Denish and her husband, Herb Denish, greeted well-wishers in the Capitol Rotunda following the ceremony.

At least two mayors were spotted there as the Richardsons and Denishes greeted friends and supporters: David Coss of Santa Fe and Kevin Jackson of Rio Rancho.

And, as usual, several former governors were on hand. Bruce King and former first lady Alice King got what seemed like the loudest and most enthusiastic responses when they were introduced before the proceedings. It was the second inauguration of the day for the Kings.

Earlier Monday, they were present in the state Senate chambers when their son Gary King was sworn in as attorney general.

Former Govs. Toney Anaya and Jerry Apodaca also attended the inauguration.

Richardson began his speech by mentioning another ex-governor, the late Jack Campbell, who served between 1963 and 1967. Quoting Campbell, Richardson said: “No greater honor can come to a man than to be elected governor of the state he loves.”

Moment of silence
Before the prayers and speeches began, master of ceremonies Johnny Cope, a businessman from Hobbs who serves on the Transportation Commission, called for a moment of silence for former first lady Dee Johnson, who died the week before Christmas. She was the former wife of former Gov. Gary Johnson.

Cope also recalled a political figure who had died since the last inauguration, former state Rep. Jack Daniels, who was Denish’s father. Referring to Daniels’ witnessing his daughter’s 2003 inauguration, Cope said, “I’ve never seen a man so proud.”

Smell of gunpowder
The most ear-opening part of the ceremony wasn’t a speech by a politician. It was the 19-gun salute after the swearing in, provided by a couple of 120 mm cannons courtesy of the state National Guard.

This part of the program took place on the west side of the Capitol. The Richardsons stood silently together as the blasts continued, the smell of gunpowder in the air.

Logos and labels
Later on Monday, a Boots ‘n Bolos inauguration ball was held at the Hilton and Eldorado hotels. A large tent across West San Francisco Street connected the two hotels.

Out of 8,000 invitations sent, 5,000 people sent back RSVPs, said Richardson re-election campaign manager Amanda Cooper. However, she said the recent snow and icy roads undoubtedly would make the number of actual attendees smaller.

Inauguration costs were covered by the Richardson and Denish campaigns. The governor’s campaign had $1.4 million left in its treasury, according to campaign finance reports filed early last month. However, the campaign still raised money specifically for the event through the month of December, Cooper said.

Logos of companies appeared in the official program.

The biggest single contributor was Univision, a national Spanish-language television network, which gave $50,000 for the inauguration, Cooper said. Univision president and chief executive officer Jerry Perenchio is a longtime Richardson supporter. He personally contributed more than $100,000 to Richardson’s re-election. His wife last year gave the campaign another $50,000.

Four years ago, Univision ran a full-page advertisement in national papers featuring a letter from Richardson urging Democratic congressional leaders to back a controversial merger between Univision and Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. The Federal Communications Commission later approved the merger.

Univision was the only “platinum” sponsor of Monday’s inauguration. There were 16 “gold” sponsors that donated between $10,000 and $25,000.

Among these were Urenco, a manufacturer of enriched uranium for nuclear power utilities; BP, an international oil company; Pfizer, a major pharmaceutical company; Public Service Company of New Mexico; Thornburg Mortgage; New Mexico Gas & Oil Association; two state Indian pueblos with casinos (Isleta and Santa Ana); and two labor unions (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which is one of Richardson’s major labor union contributors, and the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local 412).

But you didn’t have to donate money to become a sponsor, Cooper said.

Garduños restaurants earned a “silver” sponsorship by donating some 7,500 jars of what was labeled as Bill Richardson Inauguration Salsa. Garduños produced a similar product for Richardson for the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Among other inaugural sponsors providing between $5,000 and $10,000: the Geo Group, a Florida-based company that runs private prisons used by the Corrections Department; Wells Fargo Bank; and Washington Group International, a company involved in the management of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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