New Mexico, like many states in the United States, is going red, in large because of the unpopular progressive policies pushed by President Obama and his now deeply diminished Democratic caucus in Washington DC.
For the first time in nearly sixty years, Republicans not only control the Governor's seat in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but they also control the state assembly.
The lower chamber of the New Mexico legislature just passed a right-to-work bill 37-30, following on the heels of Wisconsin's RTW victory yesterday (March 9, 2015).
In the New Mexico state senate, however, Democrats are still in charge, with 25 members vs. 17 Republicans.
I spoke with ranking member of the NM Public Affairs Committee Senator Craig Brandt about the likelihood of right-to-work passing out committee:
"It's dead," followed by "very slim" when I pressed further.
Many conservative partisans have to respect the limitations which lawmakers face in the legislature. All the yelling and screaming does not move any legislator, no matter which side of the aisle he or stands on, without evidence that supporting a measure or voting against something will further their own interests, whether as ideologues or pragmatic partisans.
For many politicians, their number one goals remains: get reelected. Not that voters and activists cannot get the wrong people to do the right things, but the approach must be respected.
In order for Workplace Freedom to pass through the state senate and to Governor Martinez' desk, either the Public Affairs Committee will vote for it, and let it proceed to the senate floor, or let it die in Committee.
|New Mexico Senator Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho)|
A California native from Los Banos, graduate of Quincy High School in Las Plumas County (way up in Northern California), Senator Brandt explained that the state senate could force the bill to the floor of the senate, i.e. "blast the bill" overriding referrals, but that measure would require four Democrats to cross over and approve the procedure.
"I am aware of three Democrats who support RTW, but they will not vote for the procedure. It's total BS".
Those three Democrats are not on the Public Affairs Committee. "Those are liberal Democrats", Brandt shared.
With three Democrats plus one more crossing over to join with Republicans, the Republicans would then have the Lieutenant Governor break the tie and pass the bill for Gov. Martinez' signature.
Still, New Mexico's senate Democrats have pledged to block the bill, even though there were three who have privately signaled their support for the policy, although they will not join with the procedure to "blast" the bill out of committee.
This kind of political maneuvering is strange. The majority of New Mexicans favor RTW, with one poll touching 70%, according to Brandt. With Democrats, 47% favor RTW, and only 29% oppose the reform, why would Democrats say "No!" to a popular as well as wise reform which is pro-worker and pro-economic growth?
While all indicators suggest that RTW is dead in the committee, can outside public pressure push four Democrats to buck their party and do what is best for the state and the country? Unlike other state senates, the entire chamber will be up for reelection in 2016. If the Republican Party has a strong Presidential candidate (Brandt is partial to Walker, as are a growing cohort of conservatives across the country), New Mexico GOP could bolster their numbers in the upper chamber,
When I mentioned Governor Martinez as a possible VP with Walker, Brandt declared: "We could take the entire state!"
With RTW waiting in the wings to be passed. Hopefully, New Mexicans will not have to wait, and a minority of Democrats will do the right thing and support Right To Work in this legislative session.