Thursday, July 22, 2004


As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, July 22, 2004

Gov. Bill Richardson isn't going to be the vice-presidential nominee, but as chairman of the Democratic National Convention in Boston next week, his proverbial dance card definitely will be full.

Richardson told local reporters Wednesday that he's been invited to more than 200 events by various state delegations and interest groups. He's the guest of honor at a dinner sponsored by Union Pacific Railroad and a luncheon for the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers.

Richardson said he's scheduled to speak at three breakfast meetings for individual state delegations each morning during the convention.

The Boston Globe this week ran a story about these breakfast meetings and who's in demand as speakers. Richardson was described as a "stock favorite." The article quoted a spokesman for the Texas Democratic Party as saying: "Bill Richardson is on our short list, and he already told us he'd come by."

But The Globe noted, "A safe bet for one state, though, is out of another's reach. " 'We can't seem to get on Bill Richardson's schedule,' Scott Sterling, chairman of the Alaska delegation, said ruefully. 'But we're working on Max Baucus,' referring to the senator from Montana."

Name your governor: Richardson was scheduled to fly to Boston Wednesday night, which means Lt. Gov. Diane Denish is the acting governor at the moment.

But Denish is scheduled to go to Boston on Friday, which means Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron will be acting governor this weekend and most of next week.

However, Vigil-Giron said Wednesday that she has a meeting with the Navajo Election Administration in Window Rock, Ariz., on Monday. "I should be out of the state for about four hours," she said. According to the state Constitution, this means Senate President Pro-tem Richard Romero will be acting governor during that time.

If for some reason Romero has to leave the state during those four hours, we could be in for a constitutional crisis. The next in line is the speaker of the House. But Ben Luján also is going to the convention, and the Constitution doesn't specify who would be in line after him.

Little-known convention fact: Richardson isn't the only New Mexico politician who is an officer of the Democratic convention. Speaker Luján, D-Nambé, is one of 11 vice chairpeople. The others holding this honorary position include the governors of Washington and Louisiana, former governors of New Hampshire and Oregon, five members of Congress and the mayor of Columbus, Ohio.

Luján jumped on the Kerry bandwagon months before it became a bandwagon, announcing his support for Kerry about a year ago.

Ambassador Adair: Sen. Rod Adair, R-Roswell, couldn't resist lampooning Richardson's well-publicized announcement early this month that he was taking himself out of consideration as Kerry's running mate.

In a recent edition of Adair's e-mail newsletter, the senator proclaimed he had informed President Bush that he wouldn't accept an appointment to the position of ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Quoting an alleged letter to Bush, Adair said: "I am honored and flattered that you are seriously considering me for this august and prestigious position. I must tell you, however, that I respectfully remove myself from the selection process and withdraw my name from consideration for the ambassadorial position. As you know, when I ran for state senator, I made a commitment to the people of Chaves and Lincoln Counties to serve a full term."

The "announcement" goes on to say that Adair "has said repeated for months that he was not interested in being the Ambassador to the Court of Saint James. Even though, as friends often said, 'he is of British heritage, and he speaks the language fluently.' "

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