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Heroes Among the Heroes

By Lance Chilton

One of the “aims and purposes” of National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees is to “Educate on ‘trade union principles.’” I spoke with the Union's District 1199NM Executive Director, Eleanor Chavez, about those principles. “You stand in solidarity with other workers, support strikes and boycotts and don’t cross picket lines, and buy union products. You support the good of the whole.”

With these principles in mind, 1199NM has taken important stands and won important victories not just for its 5000 plus workers, but also for all New Mexicans. For example, union members working in emergency rooms as well as other New Mexico citizens throughout the state might be at risk of contamination in the case of a radiation spill; thus 1199NM has stood against storage of radioactive waste in the state.

The COVID pandemic has stressed everyone in the state, but especially the hospital workers – clerks, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, housekeepers, pharmacists and others – who form the membership of 1199NM. Ms. Chavez noted that hospital workers are often asked to reuse personal protective equipment (PPE) that are only meant for single use; she lays the blame squarely on the President and his failure to invoke the Defense Production Act to produce PPE in adequate quantities. 1199NM has prodded hospitals to provide adequate leave for employees needing to quarantine after a COVID exposure, and to be lenient with employees with underlying conditions or with family members with risk factors for severe disease. And as with unions elsewhere, 1199NM has advocated, often successfully, for higher wages and better working conditions for health care workers, members or not.

1199NM is active on the legislative front as well. Over the past several years, Democratic representatives and senators, including Joanne Ferrary, Linda Lopez, Liz Thomson, Christine Trujillo, and Harry Garcia have worked alongside 1199NM to pass a “Patient Safe Staffing Act, “ which would mandate a method for assuring adequate staffing. Not providing adequate staffing exposes patients (and their caregivers) to medical errors caused by exhaustion and overwork.  

1199NM is also in strong support of the recurrently introduced Health Security Act. As Ms. Chavez stated, “COVID has highlighted inequities in health care system. [Under the Act], everyone would have the same, non-job-related health care. Everyone in the state and the state government would benefit from it, reducing cost. We see what happens to those without health care coverage.”

If health care workers are heroes, as we believe they are, then Eleanor Chavez and the union are heroes of heroes, on a very high pedestal indeed.
Democrats Believe in Redemption

America is the land of the free, and yet more of our people are behind bars, per capita, than anywhere else in the world. Instead of making evidence-based investments in education, jobs, health care, and housing that are proven to keep communities safe and prevent crime from occurring in the first place, our system has criminalized poverty, overpoliced and underserved Black and Latino communities, and cut public services. Instead of offering the incarcerated the opportunity to turn their lives around, our prisons are overcrowded and continue to rely on inhumane methods of punishment. Instead of treating those who have served their time as full citizens upon their return to society, too many of our laws continue to punish the formerly incarcerated, erecting barriers to housing, employment, and voting rights for millions of Americans.

Democrats believe we need to overhaul the criminal justice system from top to bottom. Police brutality is a stain on the soul of our nation. It is unacceptable that millions of people in our country have good reason to fear they may lose their lives in a routine traffic stop, or while standing on a street corner, or while playing with a toy in a public park. It is unacceptable that Black parents must have “the talk” with their children, to try to protect them from the very police officers who are supposed to be sworn to protect and serve them. It is unacceptable that more than 1,000 people, a quarter of them Black, have been killed by police every year since 2015. Democrats also recognize that all too often, systematic cuts to public services have left police officers on the front lines of responding to social challenges for which they have not been trained, from homelessness to mental health crises to the opioid epidemic. We can and must do better for our communities.

Democrats know we can end the era of mass incarceration and dramatically reduce the number of Americans held in jails and prisons while continuing to reduce crime rates, which have fallen steadily from their peak nearly three decades ago. This is the moment to root out structural and systemic racism in our criminal justice system and our society, and reimagine public safety for the benefit of our people and the character of our country.

To read more, visit
Know the Candidates, Know the Challenges

As part of Candidate Focus 2020, we’ve created Dems Up and Down the Ballot -- a full listing of all the Democrats who are counting on our support in their bids for federal, state and local offices in November, including names and pictures, the office they’re seeking, their websites and social media. We’re also providing access to our Focus feature articles on Dems in Priority Races where there are hotly contested seats to be flipped or held. Both resources are quickly available on our DPBC website. Just click here.

Exploring New Mexico's Land Grant Permanent Fund (LGPF): its origins, its use now, and the possibilities for change. In 2017, the LGPF had over $16.2 billion, the lawmakers on the panel know the LGPF's history, and all of these public servants are actively working to move 1% of that fund ($136 million/year) into early childhood education for our State. Early childhood education is an evidence-based solution for lifting families, and therefore communities, out of poverty.
Volunteer to Be a Democratic Party Election Poll Observer

Help give voters confidence in the integrity of our democracy – knowing their vote will be counted and their voice heard. Observers watch voting and ballot-counting to ensure that election laws are followed and to quickly and publicly identify problems. They can alert their organizations to irregularities, which can prompt election officials to respond to complaints and concerns on the spot. Click here to volunteer and protect our voters’ rights:
Watch for the Week’s Actions – arriving Mondays in your inbox

Every Monday, watch for weekly notices of how you can help get out the vote and
bring about a Democratic victory this November. Organizers in and around Bernalillo
County are setting up phone banking, text banking, networking and other ways to
volunteer. DPBC Action Focus emails will bring you the news!

Click here to see this Week’s Actions and get involved! 

The Democratic Party of New Mexico has a new hotline where you can ask questions and get immediate answers about:

  • Requesting an Absentee Ballot
  • Voting
  • Volunteering

Call Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00, to speak with a DPNM team member (in English or Spanish). After business hours, you can leave a message.

Key Dates for the 2020 General Election

The 2020 General Election is only weeks away! Let’s get ready. By now some of you will have received an absentee voting application. You do NOT need a reason to vote absentee. Here are some key dates to know for the election lead-up:

The online portal to apply for an absentee ballot is live NOW! It’s important to request your ballot as soon as possible.

September 19, 2020 Sample ballots will be available online to view and download.

October 6, 2020
  • Clerks begin mailing absentee ballots to voters who have requested them.
  • Books close for online and paper voter registration.
  • Absentee Voting Begins
  • In-person Absentee Voting and Same Day Registration (SDR) begin at Clerk’s Annex (Oct. 6-16, 2020, M-F 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

October 17-31, 2020Early Voting and SDR (Click for locations) M-S, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

October 20, 2020 – Deadline for clerk to receive a mailed absentee ballot application

October 27, 2020 – Recommended final day for voter to mail absentee ballot

November 3, 2020 – Election Day 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Click for information on Military/Overseas Voting, Election Board (poll workers), Student Election Clerks and Third Party Voter Registration Agents. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and visit the Newsroom.
Say it loud and strong!

Help get out the vote with a colorful yard sign. Order yours today.
Online tools for voters

Yes, Voter Registration activities have been severely curtailed! But, thankfully we have on-line tools available to help our friends and family register to vote or update their voter registration information. Go to the Secretary of States website for all things relating to voter registration:
Get Tested
If you are feeling sick with any COVID-19 symptoms or if you have been in contact with an infected person, you can get tested for the virus.

Those without insurance can go to a New Mexico Public Health Office to get tested at no cost. Locations are listed here.

There are various sites throughout Bernalillo County and the State that offer testing services. Once you find your site, you may pre-register for testing here.

Be a census ambassador to your community, your friends, and your family. Will you join us to make sure everyone is counted?

Here are actions that you and your organization can do to contribute to a complete count today. The link also has excellent information about how an undercount affects different areas of concern, such as education, human services, agriculture and food, healthcare, and representation.

New Mexico is at risk of a significant undercount in the 2020 Census, and we need your help. Right now, New Mexico is in danger of losing more than $3 billion over the next 10 years*. A census undercount means cuts for Title I schools and school food programs, cuts for firefighters and first responders, less road funding, and reduced access to health care for the next 10 years. It also fundamentally changes our political representation. It is critical that all our voices are heard and that our communities get the funding they deserve.

We are rural and urban. We are parents and children. We are diverse. We are mixed-status. We are essential. We are New Mexico, and we will be counted.
You + DPBC + Social Media

You can help us expand our audience by joining us on social media. Follow us on Facebook at the Democratic Party of Bernalillo County, on Twitter at @DPBC, and on Instagram at bernalillodems.

Share our content with your social network. Our voices, raised in unity, will be heard.       
Events in Bernalillo County
Event listings are open to Democratic candidates, their representatives, and organizations whose philosophies are in line with Democratic values. Event listings are a service to the community. They do not indicate endorsement of a candidate by the Democratic Party of Bernalillo County.

Due to coronavirus, please contact event organizers for information regarding cancellations.
New Mexico's Land Grant Permanent Fund
Learn about New Mexico's $19.5 Billion Land Grant Permanent Fund, it's history, how it is managed, and how we can use 1% of it to improve the well-being of our State's children.

  • Stephanie Garcia Richard, NM Commissioner of Public Lands
  • Sen. Linda Lopez, SD 13
  • Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas, HD 16
  • Rep. Javier Martinez, HD 11

Thursday, September 17
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

To register, click here.

  • September 17, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
DPBC Resolutions Committee
The Resolutions Committee will meet to consider resolutions and new business.

Via Zoom.

  • September 20, 1:00 pm
Meet Cynthia Hall
Cynthia Hall, Public Regulation Commissioner for District 1, is running for reelection. We have scheduled a Zoom meeting with her on Sunday, September 20, at 3:00 pm. Cynthia Hall will discuss her views on issues facing the PRC, as well as on the ballot initiative to appoint, rather than elect, members of the PRC. Advance registration is required. Here is the link to register:

People who have registered will receive a Zoom meeting link in advance of the meeting. For more information, contact DPBC Secretary Paul Szauter (

  • September 20, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Claudia's Brown-bag Lunch
Join Claudia and her guests Senator Michael Padilla (SD 14), John Badal and Catherine Nicolaou of Sacred Wind Communications. They will explore the challenges and solutions to reaching rural New Mexico with cell and broadband service. There will be a Q & A time for you to directly ask your questions.

  • September 22, noon - 1:00 pm
Conversation - 5 State Candidates & Teresa Leger Fernandez
Here's your chance to meet a group of 5 dynamic candidates all at once and watch history in the making. Join Claudia Risner, Sen. Liz Stefanics, Rep. Matthew McQueen, and Jessica Velasquez for a conversation with Teresa Leger Fernandez. Teresa is the Democratic Nominee poised to fill Ben Ray Lujan's seat for Congressional District 3. With Teresa's win in November, NM will have the largest congressional delegation of women and women of color in the the nation's history.

  • September 23, 6:30 pm
Julie's Lit Drop Extravaganza
Get your steps in and help get Julie Brenning get elected to represent HD31. Meet up at 6021 Papaya Place NE on Saturday, September 26 at 8:00am. You will be given literature and a distribution route.

  • September 26, 8:00 am - 11:00 am
  • 6021 Papaya Pl NE, 87111
Rebuilding The New Mexico Economy
Plan to join us for this virtual fundraiser for Julie Brenning, HD31 on Saturday September 26th from 5-6:00pm. Daymon Ely will be our keynote speaker. Guest speakers will include several business leaders and business owners from our community.

or email for a zoom link.
$50 Friend; $150 Supporter; $250 Champion

Once your donation is received, you will receive a ZOOM link.

  • September 26, 5:00 pm
How Do You Canvass an Independent Voter?
Ever wonder how to talk to an Independent voter or a swing voter?

This will be the timely topic of the 4th Monday Training Series on Monday, Sept. 28 , 6:00-7:30 pm.

Katharine Clark will be the presenter.

This will be a virtual training. To receive the link to the meeting, please register here

This training will cover the psychology of political persuasion and how to listen to, relate to, and
persuade voters who are in the middle of the political sphere.

This monthly training series is co-sponsored by the Democratic Party of Bernalillo County (DPBC) and the West Side Dems (WSD).

Contact Sue Wolinsky, a member of both organizations, with questions:

Register here:

  • September 28, 6:00 pm
The Rest of the Ballot
Labor Day was last week and that can only mean one thing: the sprint to election day has begun! While we all know who we should vote for at the top of the ticket (it rhymes with "ride in"), what about those down ballot initiatives? The West Side Democrats will host a discussion on the important votes at the end of the ballot... initiatives that are crucial for New Mexico. Join us on September 30th for a discussion on these issues.

  • September 30, 6:00 pm
Public Banking and YOU!
There has been a lot of chatter lately about public banking. So what is a public bank and why is it good for New Mexico? Can a public bank increase the amount of investment right at home? Please join Sarah Manning from the Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity and a distinguished panel as we discuss this exciting new institution that might be coming to New Mexico!

  • October 21, 6:00 pm
Volunteer for Xochitl Torres Small
Xochitl Torres Small’s election contest is again one of the, if not the, closest in the Nation. Every contact is important. And given the pandemic, contacts must mostly be by phone.

There are two phone options, and you can do both. One is to use a link to access a script and people to call at your convenience.

The other is virtual phone banks from 5 PM to 7 PM Monday through Thursday as well as from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM on Sundays. These begin with a training. This weekend there will be a chance to meet and talk with other volunteers (virtually of course).

There are texting options which you can do on your own schedule after training this weekend.
Volunteer for Xochitl Torres Small
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