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The New Mexico Senate is being run by still another coalition. What causes such a thing to happen?
And how will this coalition work out? Will it provide Gov. Susana Martinez an easier pathway for her prized legislation? Will it make the governor’s 2014 reelection easier?
The new Senate president pro tem is Sen. Mary Kay Papen. She is from Las Cruces, as is our governor.
Papen said they are longtime acquaintances and although they have had their differences, they never have been adversarial.
Papen describes herself as a fiscal conservative but a social moderate. She is a strong supporter of Sen. John Arthur Smith of Deming, a fiscal conservative who chairs the Senate Finance Committee.
The New Mexico Legislature is not unfamiliar with cross-party coalitions running either the House or the Senate.
Back in the late 1970s, a group of disenchanted Democrats joined with Republicans, who were the minority party, to form a coalition headed by a Democrat but run by Republicans.
It was called the Cowboy Coalition because most of the Democrats were from the southern part of the state.
The atmosphere was not pleasant.
In the mid-1980s, Republicans in the Senate managed the same sort of coup, headed by Sen. Les Houston, a Democrat turned Republican.
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