By Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter director
We’re all feeling gutted by the national election results, and as we take time to process, we also must prepare to fight.
But here in New Mexico, your hard work for our endorsed candidates paid off, and we won a solid pro-environment majority in both the state House and Senate.
With our newly elected Legislature, we can…
- Pass a Renewable Energy Act amendment to require 50% renewable energy in New Mexico by 2030
- Ban cruel trapping on public lands
- Outlaw coyote-killing contests
- Create legislation to safeguard our drinking water from pollution
Getting these bills past the governor’s veto pen will be challenging. But in 2018, we will elect a new governor, and all New Mexico citizens will have better access to voting with the election of Maggie Toulouse Oliver as Secretary of State.
But we need to act between now and 2018. How can you help make real progress in New Mexico now and stop a dangerous federal agenda? We’re having volunteer meetings around the state to let you know about concrete steps you can take to make a big difference for our climate, for wildlife, for our public lands and for air and water. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about upcoming meetings or to volunteer.
Remember, there’s lots to be proud of. The Rio Grande Chapter turned out more than 70 volunteers – more than 70 of YOU – who knocked on more than 3,000 doors in key swing districts that decided the balance of the state House. We won 65 percent of our endorsements. Here’s the breakdown:
Sierra Club New Mexico endorsements
Secretary of State: Maggie Toulouse Oliver WON
New Mexico Senate
District 9: John Sapien WON (automatic recount triggered)
District 10: David Simon lost
District 13: Bill O’Neill WON
District 15: Daniel Ivey-Soto WON
District 18: Bill Tallman WON
District 23: Joy Garratt lost — in a very close race to a very anti-environment incumbent, Sander Rue
District 29: Michael Sanchez lost
District 36: Jeff Steinborn WON
District 37: William Soules WON
District 39: Liz Stefanics WON
New Mexico House:
District 4: GloJean Todacheene lost
District 10: Andres Romero WON
District 15: Ane Romero lost
District 20: Giovanni Haqani lost
District 22: John Wallace lost
District 23: Daymon Ely WON (automatic recount triggered)
District 24: Elizabeth Thomson WON
District 29: Ronnie Martinez — this race in automatic recount with only 10 votes separating the candidates!
District 30: Natalie Figueroa lost
District 33: Bill McCamley WON
District 35: Angelica Rubio WON
District 36: Nathan Small WON
District 37: Joanne Ferrary WON
District 38: Mary Hotvedt lost
District 39: Rodolpho Martinez WON
District 43: Stephanie Garcia Richard WON
District 47: Brian Egolf WON
District 50: Matthew McQueen WON
Los Alamos: Pete Sheehey WON
Sandoval County: Nora Scherzinger and Alexis Jimenez lost
Grant County: Marilyn Alcorn lost; Alicia Edwards WON and Harry Browne WON
On a sad note, Senate majority leader Michael Sanchez lost after a litany of false attacks from PACs funded by Gov. Susana Martinez. Sanchez helped pass the original Renewable Energy Act and was stalwart in blocking anti-climate, pro-polluter and anti-wildlife legislation passed by the House in the last two years. Thank you, Sen. Sanchez, for a career dedicated to sticking up for the people of New Mexico.
Many times when one side has won big across the board, the opposition has organized and completely turned the tables within two years. That’s our goal on the national level. We are already planning to defend precious areas like Greater Chaco Canyon from increased oil and gas land grabs and a federal government that is likely to grant polluting industries’ every wish. But there are very real gains we can make for water, climate, land and wildlife at the state and local level that can counter some of those national setbacks. Let’s get fired up and working.