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SANTA FE – How do you ever find time to research all your columns? It’s the most frequently asked question I receive about my journalistic endeavor.
If my wife is around, she usually jokes that I just make it up, but that’s not true.
I have plenty of readers who call me on any incorrect information. Over 40 years of working in various capacities at the Capitol, plus another 20 years of being aware of what was going on in Santa Fe give me a deep background from which to draw.
But a guy can’t remember everything. So when I need to check a fact, I have a handy little book within reach that tells me nearly everything I need to know about our state.
It is called the New Mexico Blue Book, a treasury of information about state and local government, past and present.
You can obtain your own copy of the New Mexico Blue Book by calling Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s Office at 1-800-477-3632. The cost is $10.95 and well worth it.
The 2012 Blue Book is a collector’s item. It is the centennial edition of the Blue Book which is published by the Secretary of State’s office every two years.
This edition contains over 100 additional pages related to New Mexico’s centennial year. Many of those pages come from the 1913 edition, which was the first New Mexico Blue Book published after statehood. It provides a “then and now” comparison of where we’ve been and where we are now, according to Kathryn Flynn, the book’s editor.
The Blue Book gives you a very good condensed history of our state, its fascinating geology and its economic statistics. Also included is voter information and tourist information.
The book tells you about New Mexico’s state symbols, such as the state’s seal, flag, songs, flower, tree, grass, bird, fish, animal, vegetables, gem, fossil, insect, slogan, cookie, poem and question.
The Blue Book covers the state’s attractions and gives the addresses of local chambers of commerce and visitors bureaus to contact for information. It also gives addresses of media contacts throughout the state in case you want to give them information.
In addition, the Blue Book provides the information that blue books have been designed to do ever since the first annual government report was published in 17th century England.
It was printed on blue paper, thus its name, and it contained a registry of all public officials, information about government agencies and how to use them.
There also is a state telephone directory in case you want to contact a state agency.
New information is added every year at the request of people who use the book. If there is additional information you’d like to see about New Mexico, call the Secretary of State’s Office at the number listed above.
Secretary of State Dianna Duran says she hopes to inform, educate and even amuse readers as this publication tells the story of New Mexico and its people.
One of the amusing sections is at the end of this book which contains 15 pages of questions and answers about the state. The feature was added in the 2000 millennium edition of the Blue Book.
Recently deceased newsman Charlie Cullen and I were asked to come up with the list of questions and answers.
We also asked readers to provide their own ideas. And many of you did. Over the years, the section has grown into a fan favorite. This year the New Mexico Centennial Steering Committee has added many new items.
In one of my favorite features, Dr. Dan Chavez, a professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico, provides the historical lineage of New Mexico’s congressional seats and of state elected offices.
Chavez goes far beyond simply listing previous office holders and the dates they served. He lets us in on deaths in office, how successors were named and oddities about elections and appointments.
Jay Miller is a syndicated columnist based in Santa Fe.