Inside the New Mexico Senate: Boots, Suits, and Citizens

Inside the New Mexico Senate: Boots, Suits, and Citizens

by Dede Feldman
Inside the New Mexico Senate: Boots, Suits, and Citizens

Inside the New Mexico Senate: Boots, Suits, and Citizens

by Dede Feldman


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"Completely honest and highly informative. To look at a legislative body is to observe democracy in the raw—with all its diverse characters and influences and its many conflicts, compromises, and achievements. Dede Feldman, a first-rate observer and chronicler, shows us the insides of the New Mexico State Senate."—Fred Harris, former U.S. Senator and professor emeritus of political science, University of New Mexico

Elected to New Mexico's state senate in 1996, Dede Feldman faced the challenges that confront state legislators around the country along with some that are uniquely New Mexican. In this forthright account of the workings of New Mexico's legislature, she reveals how the work of governing is actually accomplished.

In New Mexico's part-time citizen legislature, Spanish may be spoken in the halls of the capitol as often as English, and Native American issues are often pivotal. But each year the Land of Enchantment's legislators, like those in other states, must balance revenues and expenditures, tangle with lobbyists, and struggle with redistricting and campaign finance reform. State legislatures' approaches to air pollution, drunk driving, and chronic disease, Feldman's book reveals, find their way into national law after they've been road tested on the highways of various states.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826354389
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
Publication date: 01/15/2014
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Dede Feldman retired from the New Mexico Senate in 2012. She is a political commentator in Albuquerque.

Table of Contents

Introduction and Acknowledgments vii

Part I La Vida Politico, in the New Mexico Senate

Chapter 1 Cue the Mariachis and Put On Your Cowboy Hat: The New Mexico Legislature Is in Session 3

Chapter 2 Campaigning and Getting Elected: Vámonos a la Matanza 17

Part II Boots, Suits, Leaders, and Lobbyists

Chapter 3 Leadership Styles in the Senate: Caution: Gusty Winds May Exist 37

Chapter 4 Special Interests, Lobbyists, and Citizen Legislators: "You've Got to Dance with Them What Brung Ya" 61

Part III Dances with Wolves: New Mexico Advocates Take On the Big Boys

Chapter 5 Burn Marks from the Fireworks Industry 93

Chapter 6 A New Mexico Two-Step with the Lobbyists from Big Pharma 104

Chapter 7 Holding Our Own in the Face of Big Tobacco 116

Chapter 8 Taking a Bullet for the NRA 132

Part IV Patients and Patience: Turning Around the Battleship

Chapter 9 The Rocky Road to Health Care Reform: Warning: Travelers May Experience Detours, Speed Traps, and Road Rage 147

Chapter 10 Patients, Mavericks, and Heroes: Behind the Smokescreen in the Legislative Drug Wars 166

Part V By Grit and Grace

Chapter 11 Courageous Senator Closes Chapter on New Mexico's Dirty-Little Secret: Cockfighting 193

Chapter 12 Citizen Legislators Grapple with the Ultimate Issue: The Death Penalty 202

Part VI Good People Trapped in a Flawed System: Ethics, Campaign Finance, and Transparency

Chapter 13 Ethics: Can Citizen Legislators Draw Bright Lines in a Gray Area? 217

Chapter 14 Transparency: Zero Visibility Possible 228

Chapter 15 Campaign Finance Reform: Navigating the Endless Minefield 239

Conclusion: Tackling the Unfinished Agenda: A Handbook 251

Notes 265

Glossary 277

Index 283

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