More on the Chino Layoffs

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So, looks like the job-cuts aren’t limited to SW New Mexico: Freeport McMoRan is cutting 20% of its U.S. workforce as it moves to reduce production across the board. The Daily Press also has a bit more on the local cuts this afternoon. In addition, looks like the AP expanded its coverage as well, with a really solid article:

Silver City is a prime example of how the global economic troubles — such as China’s cut in steel production or the domestic auto and housing woes — have hurt small towns across America.

“Copper truly gives a picture of the economy,” Silver City Mayor James Marshall said. “When the price of copper is up, the economy is healthy. When the economy drops, copper follows.”

If there’s any more evidence that the U.S. needs a federally-backed stimulus plan, one centered around infrastructure, I don’t know where you’ll find it. James is right – when you’re building cars and homes and routing cable to new subdivisions or creating SUPERTRAINS, you’re using copper. When the average price drops (according to the Daily Press) by $2 a pound, those things aren’t happening.

In addition, you can imagine copper will figure into a stimulus package that creates green jobs. Sure is reassuring to know we have a president-elect who is committed to that sort of goal.

Regardless, it’s probably going to be rough in Grant County for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, New Mexico’s current (and incoming) congressional delegation is already on the case, seeking federal assistance for affected workers: ((Hat tip to Peter St. Cyr (via Twitter) for the link))

The news has prompted Senator Jeff Bingaman, Senator-elect Tom Udall and Representative-elect Harry Teague, all New Mexico Democrats, to send a letter today to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

They are asking that the U.S. Department of Labor act quickly to determine whether the workers will be eligible for federal assistance.

On a personal note, it appears as though several members of my family are going to be impacted by this decision. It really hits home, as they say, to realize what the past 8 years have meant for my loved ones.

Congressional Twitter Feeds

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry over on Huffington Post about the need for new congressional rules that would let members of Congress use the same social tools that their constituents are using: Facebook, Youtube, blogs, etc. It was all part of the Sunlight Foundation‘s campaign, Let our Congress Tweet. While we used Twitter (the online social networking/microblogging site that limits your posts to 140 characters) as an example, we’re concerned that members of Congress should be able to use all the services technology offers.

Over at Congresspedia, we’re starting to track the members of Congress who are using Twitter. We’ve compiled a list of 29 members thus far, and we’re always on the look out for others. One neat trick we’re offering: for those members who are using Twitter, you can read their latest posts right on the Congressedia profile.

Rep. Tom Udall was one of the first to adopt the service, and his campaign has been quick to embrace blogging and other aspects of the Web as well. You can see his Congresspedia profile here, complete with his most recent “tweets” from Twitter.

If you know of any other members of Congress using Twitter (or congressional candidates for that matter) please let us know!

True Blue New Mexico

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Donate to Democratic CandidatesMy friends at Democracy for New Mexico and New Mexico FBIHOP are fundraising again: they’ve started an ActBlue page for all of the Democratic candidates for federal office in New Mexico. They inlcude: Sen. Barack Obama, Rep. Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, Harry Teague, and Ben Ray Lujan.

The netroots is playing a big role in elections this year, and I give some serious props to Matt and Barb for stepping up and getting this effort going. I think it’s a testament to their hard work, and a recognition of the role they’re playing, that each of the New Mexican candidates are posting guest blogs this week (you can see Heinrich’s posts here and here).

Matt has a great post introducing the project, highlighting the unique situation in New Mexico this cycle:

In 2008, New Mexicans have a chance for a true change — a golden opportunity to make a True Blue New Mexico.  There are more Democrats than Republicans registered in the state, and Democrats control both the state Senate and House.  Yet in federal offices, Republicans hold a 3-2 advantage, including a 2-1 advantage in the House. This year, that can change — and change dramatically.

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve thought that some additional attention in southern New Mexico from groups like the DCCC could help push the district closer toward the “Democratic” column, and with the right candidate Rep. Steve Pearce might have had a fight on his hands. With changing demographics, who knows what would have happened? Continue reading…

New Mexico Congressional Primaries Finalized

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The New Mexico Sec. of State has announced the final ballot for the June congressional primary elections. It doesn’t look like there are any surprises: everybody who prequalified at the party nominating conventions is aready on the ballot. However, I guess everybody else running for the three seats being vacated by Rep. Steve Pearce, Rep. Heather Wilson, and Rep. Tom Udall will appear on the ballot as well.

That Heath Haussamen guy also get a mention in the CQ piece:

Although the petitioning candidates will now be on the ballot, their chances of winning appear to be slim. No candidate who failed to qualify in the pre-primary convention has ever won their party’s primary, said New Mexico political analyst Heath Haussamen: “I think candidates have a hard time arguing they’re credible if they don’t get 20 percent in the pre-primary convention.”

Like I said, no big surprises, but at least everything is finalized now. I’ll keep you posted on any crazy developments, and be sure to keep an eye on the fundraising numbers over on the sidebar.

MapLight fundraising updates

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It looks like MapLight has finally added a slew of candidates from New Mexico to their database. I’ve got four MapLight widgets on the sidebar, broken down by the Senate race and congressional district, and you can see that Rep. Heather Wilson is beating both Rep. Tom Udall and Rep. Steve Pearce in the money game:

However, while Wilson and Pearce are spending cash fighting for the Republican nomination, Udall can relax a bit and save his dough for the general election.

Meanwhile, Martin Heinrich, Harry Teague and Don Wiviott are leading in fundraising for the first, second, and third congressional districts, respectfully.

The widgets will remain there on the right throughout the 2008 election cycle, so you can always check to see how much money the candidates have raised.

Fundraising push for True Blue New Mexico

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Today, the GOP heavy hitters are fundraising to improve their chances in New Mexico: Dick Cheney is holding a D.C. event for Rep. Steve Pearce (similar to one he already headlined for Rep. Heather Wilson) and Karl Rove will be in Artesia helping raise cash for the state Republican Party.

As regular readers know, this year is a rare situation: four of New Mexico’s five Congressional seats are open, while the fifth is held by Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman. The seat being vacated by Sen. Pete Domenici is a likely pick-up opportunity with Rep. Tom Udall leading the charge, and Martin Heinrich and Bill McCamley have excellent chances in the 1st and 2nd Congressional districts, respectively. In addition, a good crop of candidates is in the field for the probably Democratic-safe 3rd Congressional District.

Some cohorts in the netroots, NewMexico FBIHOP and Democracy for New Mexico, have organized an ActBlue page to help counter the GOP fundraising efforts. Today is the kickoff for True Blue New Mexico. You can help by giving some cash to some great progressive candidates. Early money is more important than cash that comes late in the campaign, and every dollar you give now will help blunt the thousands of dollars that Rove and Cheney hope to raise today.