Thursday, May 27, 2004


As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican

The state’s premier business lobby gave Santa Fe-area legislators grades ranging from B minus to D in its 14th annual report card.

Actually the Association for Commerce and Industry doesn’t assign letter grades in its Focus Report. But they rate all the representatives, giving them a percentage determined by how closely legislators come to the official ACI position on several bills.

It’s doubtful that anyone from our delegation will be crying over the fact that nobody from Santa Fe got an “A” rating (90 percent or more). All our representatives are Democrats, and even though ACI is nonpartisan, Republicans traditionally rank much higher in Focus Reports.

All seven House members and all eight senators who scored 100 are Republicans.

Only three Democrats in the entire Legislature scored 90 percent or higher — Rep. Don Whitaker of Eunice and Sens. Shannon Robinson of Albuquerque and John Arthur Smith of Deming.

But even with a percentage that amounts to a low “B,” Sen. Roman Maes’ high rating helped secure a hefty contribution from ACI’s political-action committee, JobsPac for his re-election campaign. The $7,000 from the PAC represented Maes’ largest single donation, at least in the first round of campaign finance reports. (The second reports are due today.)

Here’s how the Santa Fe area’s lawmakers fared in the last two regular sessions, according to the latest ACI scorecard:


Roman Maes: 81 percent
Phil Griego: 79 percent
Nancy Rodriguez: 77 percent.


Max Coll (retired): 76 percent
Luciano “Lucky” Varela: 69 percent
Jim Trujillo: 69 percent
Ben Luján: 64 percent.

Poll watching: The Zogby organization recently conducted “interactive” (e-mail) polls of voters in 16 “battleground” states including New Mexico. In this state, Democrat John Kerry led Republican George W. Bush 48.4 percent to 43.3 percent. Ralph Nader drew 2.9 percent, while 5.4 percent were undecided.

Kerry’s lead, however, is still within the poll’s margin of error.

The poll, conducted May 18 to Sunday, included the responses of 454 “likely voters” in New Mexico.

Overall, Kerry was leading in 12 of the 16 states polled for a total of 148 electoral votes. Bush won five of these states in 2000.

Bush was leading in four states with a total of 29 electoral votes. One of those states, Iowa, was won by Al Gore in 2000.

However, like New Mexico, most of the results in other states are within the poll’s margin of error.

Zogby will be doing these polls twice a month, according to The Wall Street Journal, whose Web site is hosting the results.

Green news: The state Green Party sent out a press release Wednesday urging reporters to cover the exciting June 1 presidential primary.

And, as far as the White House goes, it’ll be the only game in town. The Democrats opted out of a June primary, instead holding a party-run caucus in February. While there’s officially a Republican primary, President Bush is unopposed.

But five Greens are running on their primary ballot, including New Mexico’s Carol Miller, who, in addition to running as a “favorite daughter” candidate for president, also is listed as the state coordinator for Ralph Nader’s campaign.

“This election will determine how 10 New Mexico delegates will vote at the U.S. Green Party Convention in Milwaukee, Wis., on June 26,” state Green co-chairman Joe Lacayo said in the statement.

Of course, if the Greens really wanted press coverage, they wouldn’t be holding their convention in Milwaukee.

Besides Miller, the other Green candidates on this state’s primary ballot are California lawyer David Cobb; Paul Glover, who works for a health fund in Ithica, N.Y.; Kent Mesplay, a biomedical engineer from San Diego; and Loma Salzman, an environmental activist from Brooklyn, N.Y.

For statements by all the Green candidates, CLICK HERE.

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