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Short circuiting the process

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Behind the curtain of last week’s house meltdown

By Sherry Robinson

Little girls in flamenco costumes filled a ladies room in the state capitol one day last week, primping before they danced in the rotunda, a gentle appeal to preserve funding for arts and culture.
These diminutive, ruffled lobbyists are one of many such waves coursing through the Roundhouse, all with a message. They’re the backdrop to a lot of political theater and explain, in part, the meltdown we saw last week in the house and its precedent-setting outcome.
On the legislative session’s first day, the Tea Party held a rally outside. For the next week, we saw a succession of education proponents, including early childhood advocates with small children in tow.
Human Rights Day produced a massive rally in support of undocumented immigrants – and their driver’s licenses. They wore t-shirts saying, “We chose New Mexico, too.”
Another day, hundreds of the elderly handed out heart-shaped AARP fans. The film people made a dramatic showing in t-shirts reading, “We are New Mexico.”
Meanwhile, citizens stream through lawmakers’ offices. An elderly woman with a walker inches through a cramped waiting room. College students in school colors plead with their legislator to not raise tuition.
Contrary to what you’ve heard, citizens’ voices are heard. Usually.


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