On Wednesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced three new positions focused on the federal funding that is coming to the state through the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act that President Joe Biden signed into law this week. Leading this effort is former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, who will serve as New Mexico’s infrastructure chief strategist. Lujan Grisham said Chavez is an expert at getting stuff done and knows that, as important as projects like roads, water and bridges are, the infrastructure package is also about jobs and economic efforts. She said he also knows how hard it can be at the local level, particularly in smaller communities that don’t have the administrative resources to put the projects together. Mike Hamman, the chief engineer and CEO of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District and a member of the Interstate Stream Commission, will be tasked with overseeing the water management effort and Matt Schmit is the advisor to the new Office of Broadband Access and Expansion.
It’s hard to slog through an election without hearing about endorsements. Friends, former opponents and local celebrities pepper social media with their support of one of the two candidates in the Albuquerque mayoral runoff. Lauren Poole is one local celebrity who has attached her name to mayoral candidate and State Auditor Tim Keller’s campaign. Poole is most often recognized for her honestly ignorant but affable character Lynette. Last week, she lent her character’s voice to a campaign video for Keller.
Hours ahead of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s appearance in New Mexico, Democrats who support Hillary Clinton slammed him at a press conference. Former Albuquerque mayor Martin Chavez recounted when a white supremacist group sought to meet near Albuquerque. Chavez said he issued a “Proclamation of Un-welcome” against the group. “I said New Mexico and Albuquerque are not a place where we welcome people who hate,” he said. “Today we should issue a proclamation of unwelcome to Donald Trump,” Chavez continued.
New Mexico is used to having politicians named as possible choices for a running mate on a presidential ticket. In 2008, Bill Richardson’s name was floated as a possibility to be Barack Obama’s running mate. In 2012, Susana Martinez’s name came up and has continued as we head towards the 2016 elections. Now, it looks like U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich is getting his turn in the VP speculation spotlight. David Mixner, a gay rights activist and longtime Democratic fundraiser and strategist, isn’t in Hillary Clinton’s inner circle.
Albuquerque residents have had an earful when it comes to revamping one of the city’s busiest streets. Local politicians have gone back and forth on whether the city should spend money on new buses and infrastructure along Central Avenue. Note: A version of this appears in the November 4 edition of the ABQ Free Press. The proposal for a Bus Rapid Transit system in Albuquerque has also received national attention from groups who have been fighting both sides of the issue across the United States. In September the Rio Grande Foundation, a local free-market think tank, hosted a lunch with Cato Institute Senior Fellow Randal O’Toole.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be in Albuquerque next month for a campaign event. According to a tweet by former Albuquerque mayor Martin Chavez, the former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator will appear at a fundraising breakfast on June 3. The fundraiser will take place at the house of Ed Romero, a former U.S. Ambassador to Spain. A photo of the invite is included at the bottom of the post. Chavez is a long time Clinton supporter and he was a senior adviser to the Ready for Hillary PAC that ran until Clinton officially announced she would run for President last month.