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  1. Cristy Holden

    I really like John Blair and his experience within state government and in Washington, D.C. However, I do not see him as a Progressive. He is a good middle-of-the-road democrat. But we have enough of these in D.C. If John Blair wants to run for state-wide office, I might consider supporting him, depending on the office, but we are the Adelante PROGRESSIVE Caucus. Lets send a true progressive to Congress.

  2. I have spoken extensively with six of the seven candidates (the exception being Plame, who has shown no interest in anything but a photo op and a short hello with me; also, Plame’s cousin is a dear family friend in CA, though that means nothing other than making a disclosure). Here are my thumbnail sketches for each candidate, which makes for long reading. For those who don’t want to read, I reluctantly think the endorsement, if we make one, should go to Teresa Leger Fernandez (I voted for Kyle Tisdel at the pre-primary convention, I should emphatically note):

    JOHN BLAIR: In my extensive discussion with John, John is very much a Mayor Pete Medicare for All Who Want It person. He will not move further. He is adamant from my discussion with him on this topic. John is not for canceling student debt across the board, again for reasons Mayor Pete has expounded, which I find Obama-esque to the core. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the need for universal programs, not means-tested programs. I would rather John take the time to read Robert Kuttner’s “The Economic Illusion” than run for office at this time. John’s general statement in his response about trade, i.e. having unions be involved in trade negotiations, is too vague for any re-assurance he will be any different than his hero, Obama. Electorally, I see no path for John Blair in terms of endorsements and stopping what will be lots of money in ads for Serna or Sanchez, or stopping Laura Montoya, who has lots of Rio Rancho support (where I live) and has support from people in Las Vegas. I see no basis for any endorsement for John Blair, though I was deeply impressed with his federal issues knowledge, and I really grew to like him (with my previous one experience with John was representing the Santa Fe Film Festival in an issue with the secretary of state’s office, and John was not a nice guy at all to me or the organization). However, notwithstanding that federal issue knowledge, John failed my singular test of asking each candidate the military spending percentage in the discretionary budget. The answer is 60%, and discretionary budget is everything but Social Security, Medicare, and interest on the debt. Only Kyle Tisdel passed that test, though strangely, when we saw Kyle live at the convention, he just said, when someone asked that question of him, he replied, vaguely and tentatively, “a lot.”

    JOESPH SANCHEZ: Here, we must address our caucuses’ failure, mine too, of not asking a question about women’s rights and reproductive rights–especially in this time, when Roe v. Wade will likely be either overturned or weakened to a point where we should all be concerned. It is bad enough women have little or no access at all to abortion clinics in nearly 3/4 of the states, and I am frankly shocked we all missed this as a topic. This is important because Joe Sanchez is straight up anti-abortion. I cannot believe our caucus would support Joe, even if Joe was a stalwart progressive on every other issue. However, no fear about that Hobbesan choice, as Sanchez opposes single pay, even using the Biden etc. line about 150 people “losing” their private health insurance, as if nothing will replace it. Joe has no feel for unions or labor law reform (he did not know what ‘card check’ was). Joe has refused to support Bernie’s type of Green New Deal, and does not even appear to have read Bernie’s plan (this is a failing of every candidate I spoke with, again except Kyle, who knew it and fully endorsed it). Whether we agree Joe has great mechanical knowledge of environmental issues, I think anything he stands for is mooted by his anti-abortion position. However, Joe will have lots of money to spend in ads and, despite his poor performance among delegates at the pre-primary convention, Joe will be a force in the polling that will be done late in the primary season. With the virus likely to get worse, ads on television and radio will be now much more effective as people stay indoors. We must begin to think more strategically than ever to stop him, Marco Serna, and Laura Montoya.

    LAURA MONTOYA: I know Laura personally in my living in Rio Rancho since June 2017, and being active with the Sandoval County Dems, who meet in Rio Rancho each month. I find Laura sharp, smart, witty, and a great person all around. I think Laura would make a great local or state candidate as she shows in her responses. Laura, as Sandoval County Treasurer, has consistently stood up to the conservatives who control the Sandoval County Commissioners, and, as we see in her responses to the questionnaire, is not afraid to say “bullshit” in response to a question about military spending. I adore Laura, as do my wife and dad, who have met her. However, Laura has run her campaign, from the start, as a Blue Dog Democrat, worrying about costs for anything good, and only, after my conversations with her, even thinking about the military at all. Laura is opposed to single payer (worrying about costs and having no clue of any studies showing its efficiency and saving costs, when I spoke with her). She is opposed to canceling student debt for costs again and Mayor Pete mindsets. Frankly, Laura appeared to have had no clue about federal issues until after starting her run for Congress. Laura also initially told me personally she was opposed to abortion, and I could not count on her supporting Roe v. Wade in Congress. However, her website says she is pro-choice all the way. The second time we spoke about her stance on abortion, about six months ago, she said she would only oppose late term abortions, though her supporters who are close to her, say Laura is now supporting late term abortions. Notwithstanding that, Laura had told me her positions were religious based, and I have no reason to disbelieve what she told me will guide her if she becomes a Congress member. To me, Laura is a no-endorse for at least the reasons we should not endorse Joe Sanchez. Laura, however, is formidable in this campaign because she has high name recognition and support as Sandoval County Treasurer, lots of support in Rio Rancho, and support in her hometown of Las Vegas. That second place finish in the pre-primary convention was no fluke to me. Laura may get enough money for ads, which will re-enforce her contender status. Again, strategy considerations may be as important as positions a candidate holds.

    MARCO SERNA: I appreciated Marco’s forthrightness at the pre-primary convention caucus meeting. He admitted his hostility to single payer, his refusal to endorse the Green New Deal, and his pro-prosecutor record. However, those are the things that make any caucus endorsement of him for Congress a no-go. He will be a Blue Dog Democrat, and frankly, as I said to Marco in a friendly conversation at the pre-primary convention, he was most passionate to our caucus when he spoke of state and local issues concerning New Mexico, and ironically most progressive in his thinking on state and local issues. I told him I would be much more comfortable supporting him for a local or state office run. I frankly think he is teachable, having had a scare with a young child of his, where he saw the importance of compassion and fighting for one’s loved one’s life. Right now, he is following the herd in the DNC and the wealthy enclaves from he descended. I don’t buy for a second his office holding father being called a progressive, unless someone wants to teach me otherwise. That is the opposite of what I heard and I am surprised he wrote that in his response to the questionnaire.

    VALERIE PLAME: She will get support in Corrales, parts of Rio Rancho where rich folks live, Santa Fe, and such others in the wealthy set. Plame will always be in the corporate meda conversation, and she will have ads up to ensure she is discussed in any media. I am shocked at her standoffishness in discussing issues in any depth, and, when I saw her at a Sandoval County candidate forum, she was shockingly not up on any details of the Green New Deal, gave a Mayor Pete answer on student debt and health care, and seemed so deep inside the Georgetown cocktail set, one can never imagine her trying to speak in any connective sense with anyone living in Cuba or any other small town in CD3. Oh, and C-I-A. I mean, really!

    TERESA LEGER FERNANDEZ: I first spoke to TLF at the July 4th 2019 parade in Corrales. Her answers on health care and student debt were Mayor Pete all the way. She had just gotten the Emily’s List endorsement at the time. I asked her about the percentage of military spending in the discretionary budget, having to first explain to her the difference between the discretionary and non-discretionary budget. She failed as did all, again, except Kyle Tisdel. She showed no progressive values to me on issue after issue except abortion, which is likely why she got the Emily’s List endorsement, as they are a notoriously corporate-DNC sub-branch. Somehow, however, she started getting more endorsements from groups which should have known better, starting with Sierra Club and more recently, AOC’s group. Jim Hightower appeared at a fundraiser for her. What surprised me about her was, despite her great intelligence and dedication as an environmental, immigration, and employment lawyer, and we are about the same age (I am 62), she had so little knowledge about federal issues beyond what one would learn at a cocktail party. She is now pivoting progressive on issues from health care and student debt, but I noted her use of the word “affordable” for health care, showing me she is still against single payer–something she confirmed when we spoke a month ago. On the other hand, she said she is for Prymilla’s plan, which I wonder if she truly read, since she is against Bernie’s plan. Oh well. Anyway, Mark Rudd, with whom I am friendly, backs TLF, having known her parents, who apparently were radicals back in the day. However, I have heard the rest of her family are either Republicans or ranch-owning Democrats. Still, pedigree counts for nothing to me, as we know Mayor Pete’s late dad was a Marxist literature prof who was a leading English translator of Antonio Gramsci, and Kamala Harris’ dad is a semi-retired economist at Stanford, who has written sympathetically about Marx and what used to be called Third World nations. And while Mitt Romney and Al Gore either have begun to return or returned to their fathers’ better political world views only after they lost a national race, my view is candidates who run for office, and are children of radicals, often see their parents as overly idealistic losers. In other words, we should not count on them, after an election, to rip off a “corporate media definition of a moderate” mask and say Viva la revolution! However, I will say I briefly saw Mark Rudd at the pre-primary convention, and he smiled and told me, “Teresa’s coming our way! Don’t worry!” So, there you have it. 🙂

    KYLE TISDEL: Kyle is, with John Blair, the most knowledgeable about federal policy issues and how those issues affect New Mexico. However, in two extensive conversations with Kyle, he was the only candidate foursquare totally for single pay, canceling all student debt, read and agreed with the Green New Deal Bernie proposed, and the only one who truly had read up on bills to run in this race (more than John Blair, who admitted he had not read Bernie’s Green New Deal proposal). Kyle, as I said, was the only one who knew 60% of the federal discretionary budget went to the military. Kyle is the only one who knew the fossil fuel industry gets up to $650 billion each year in subsidies, tax credits, tax exemptions, and the like. If anyone saw Kyle speak at the pre-primary convention, he spoke most eloquently on environmental issues, with the most detailed knowledge, and understood NM is what he openly called a colony of the fossil fuel industry, which he properly and immediately connected to the state’s poverty. Yet, I read his responses to this questionnaire and I find it hard to see how he differs in fact from Blair or TLF, or Sanchez (as again we did not ask candidates about women’s rights and reproductive rights especially). He hedged too at the pre-primary caucus meeting, and, when I spoke about this the next morning with one of his top two campaign aides, he said Kyle was starting to doubt whether it was good politically to speak so forthrightly as he spoke at the Sandoval County Democratic Party meeting forum nearly six months ago. I said that is the worst mistake to make, as independent voters, who may be key in the fall race, have more respect for forthrightness than nuance. If one starts vague, one can stay vague. If one starts with firm views, stay in that lane, and be willing to confront and show you care. I may be wrong, and I am fine being corrected, but that is my experience in canvassing here and in CA, where I lived for nearly 40 years before moving here in June 2017. The big question for Kyle is whether he has a path, and I frankly don’t see it. I was one of the ten delegates to vote for Kyle at the pre-primary convention. I again thought his speech was the most solid on policy and had the line that shocked the audience about NM being a colony of the fossil fuel industry. But he has no major endorsements and he is a white guy from Taos. In these increasingly interesting (in the ancient Chinese curse sense) times, I see a lot of tribalism, whether territorial, gender, or ethnic heritage, That is a sad dynamic, but it is the what-is of this season.

    CONCLUSION: Kyle Tisdel is the most knowledgeable and passionate about the issues this caucus supports. Kyle would have been the white guy new member of the AOC etc. Squad, but he lacks sufficient support and is running in a time of tribalism in both parts of the nation’s duopoly. John Blair is the second most knowledgeable about federal issues, but he is an Obama type of person, not a true progressive. Teresa Leger Fernandez is a progressive organization favorite and may be the one to endorse if we endorse at all. She is, however, a person I would not trust to be part of the Squad. She could be a Deb Haaland, though I worry she will be a Xochti, too. Marco Serna, Joe Sanchez, and Laura Montoya are hard no’s in my view. They are Blue Dog Democrats in waiting, though Sanchez may be more progressive than the other two on renewable energy and even the military (though I loved Laura’s “bullshit” remark in answering that question). Valerie Plame is an elitist CIA employee who still lives in DC in her values and worldview, for all the worst reasons. If we are to endorse, I think, strategically, it is Teresa Leger Fernandez.

  3. Cheryl Harris

    John probably has the deepest and most well-rounded background of anyone running, having worked literally at every level of state and federal politics in jobs covering everything from Executive Branch state and Fed, Congress, local offices, etc. He brings real world experience. He had a strong emphasis on the role of unions in everything from trade agreements, immigration, to rural agriculture, and understands the need to make it easier for them to have a future seat- again- at the table.
    And other than just protecting the vote, he supports broader reforms, such as campaign financing, getting rid of the Electoral College, etc.
    I would like to see him move all the way to Medicare for All, but he is moving in the right direction.

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