Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez in Las Cruces
Sen. Finance Chair Smith says state finances under the Martinez Administration have been handled "more irresponsibly" than any Governorship since he was first elected in 1988

Sen. John Smith, Sen. Mary Kay Papen, Sen. Michael Sanchez in Mesilla on Nov. 2

NM Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez appeared at a fundraiser luncheon in his honor this afternoon (Wed. Nov 2) at Salud! de Mesilla.  He gave an energetic and rousing defense of the relatively civil boundary lines that, he said, once characterized New Mexico politics prior to the take-no-prisoners hardball that began with the McClesky-Martinez partnership in the governor's office in 2011.  Sanchez has once again been targeted for defeat by McClesky, as he was four years ago, in what has been characterized as a $2 million smear campaign to beat him.  Sanchez survived the attack four years ago, but Sen. Tim Jennings, President Pro Tem of the Senate, did not.

At the event, Sen. John A. Smith expressed concern to me in private (but on the record) that the recent downgrading of the NM bond rating my Moody's may get worse before it gets better.  The question for the immediate financial future of the state, he said, is "how do we build up our reserves to a healthy level again" in the middle of an economic downturn?  In addition to labeling Governor Martinez's financial management of the state as the "most irresponsible" of any governor" he has known, Smith added that her record in job-creation is equally dismal.  "We (Democrats) should have been more forceful in labeling the mess that happened in mental health a few years ago for what it was--an exercise in needless job destruction," he said.

Seeing the three most powerful senators in the state--Papen, Sanchez, and Smith--mingling with guests at the event and with each other reminded me that Southern New Mexico at the moment is blessed with an abundance of political clout.  This raises the question:

Is Belen, home of Sen. Sanchez, in Southern NM or in the North?  Where does the North begin?  Nature, at least, tends to create its own boundary lines, shifting in response to environmental change..  Just as predicted by global warming science, the flora characteristic of the Chihuahua desert, has been moving northward for at least the last two decades and is expected eventually to engulf a good deal of Colorado.   Right now, at least along the freeway, the vegetation boundary area appears to be in a zone somewhere between Socorro and Los Lunas.

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