Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Roundhouse Roundup: Colon Stepping Down, or Is He Stepping Up?

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
August 6, 2009

Brian Colón will step down as state Democratic Party chairman at the end of the week, moving closer to a bid for lieutenant governor.
CHAIRMAN COLON relaxing at 2008 DNC, Denver
"I am submitting my resignation to the Party on Friday and it will be effective on Saturday," Colón told me in an e-mail on Wednesday. "I will then consider my bid for Lt. Gov."

Colón, an Albuquerque lawyer closely allied with Gov. Bill Richardson and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish — the only declared 2010 Democratic gubernatorial candidate — has been chairman since April 2007. The party's Central Committee will choose another chairman. State party executive director Josh Geiss said the party is shooting for early September for that meeting.

Both Javier Gonzales, a former Santa Fe County commissioner, and Sandoval County Democratic Party chairman David Montoya have shown interest in the job, Geiss said.

"Yes, I'm definitely preparing to enter the race for state chairman," Gonzales told me Wednesday. Gonzales, who works as a business consultant and serves on the Board of Regents for New Mexico State University, said he'll start actively campaigning for the unpaid post shortly after Colón steps down.

Gonzales, the son of former Santa Fe Mayor George Gonzales, served on the County Commission between 1993 and 2002. He's often considered running for other offices, including Congress, Santa Fe mayor and — apparently like most New Mexico Democrats with a pulse — lieutenant governor.

Speaking of which: The list of active and probable Democratic lieutenant governor candidates keeps growing. State Rep. Joe Campos of Santa Rosa said Wednesday that he's adding his name to that list. Campos is in his fourth term as a legislator and has been mayor of Santa Rosa for 12 years. He also served a term as a Guadalupe County commissioner.

Announced candidates for lieutenant governor include Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano and state Sens. Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Linda Lopez, both from Albuquerque. Mid-Region Council of Governments Executive Director Lawrence Rael is considering the race, as is political newcomer Matthew Padilla, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

Meanwhile, on the GOP side: State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones of Albuquerque is telling reporters she'll seek the Republican nomination for governor next year. Arnold-Jones, first elected to her House seat in 2002, is expected to formally announce this month. Arnold-Jones is best known for webcasting House committee meetings without waiting for formal permission from House Speaker Ben Luján.

It's not known whether her announcement will stream live over the Internet.

Other GOP candidates for governor include Doña Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez and former state party chairman Allen Weh. Former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson has said she's considering a run, as has former Gary Johnson campaign manager Doug Turner.

Learn 'em some grammar: The Governor's Office, in announcing its "bold steps" to fight the state's astonishing dropout rate, e-mailed a statement with this quote from Gov. Bill Richardson:

"To sustain New Mexico's growing economy and workforce, all New Mexican's must at the very least graduate from high school. We must accept that in the 21st century, to secure a job that will support a family and provide a decent quality of life, a high school diploma is a must." (The emphasis is ours.)

I would hope that this high-school diploma includes mastering the correct use of the apostrophe. I don't claim to speak perfect English — my exact language is some unclassifiable Okie dialect strongly influenced by early '60s rock 'n' roll deejays — and I've made my share of typos. But the incorrect "apostrophe S" is one that drives me crazy, probably because it's so common.

Some might even suggest that this error actually might help spotlight the educational crisis in this state. So I hope all you educator's and state public information officer's get to work on that.