New Mexico treated with importance at Democratic National Convention

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By Carol A. Clark

DENVER – New Mexico’s Debra Haaland from Laguna Pueblo near Albuquerque was one of just four first-time delegates invited to officially greet presumptive first lady Michelle Obama’s plane Sunday.

“I know New Mexico is sought after – they’re really trying to make our state blue this year so we are important to them,” Haaland said. “I’m thrilled to be here and when I met Michelle Obama at the airport she was so warm and friendly. She hugged me. She spent a little time with me and with each of the other three delegates and with about 15 nonprofit leaders.”

Haaland, 47, has been involved in politics for a long time, she said, and is currently working to help get Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., elected to the U.S. Senate.

“This is the first time I’ve run to be a delegate because – you know – well, it’s Barack isn’t it?” she said. “He has really inspired me.”

Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean officially opened the convention Monday, setting out the rules and the goal to elect the “next president of the United States , Barack Obama.”

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