Home / Politics / This week at progressive state blogs: Flipping NM governor's seat; resisting Foxconn in WI

This week at progressive state blogs: Flipping NM governor's seat; resisting Foxconn in WI

At Capital & Main of California, Deborah Klugman writes—One-Man Show Chronicles an Undocumented Immigrant’s Long Quest for Legal Status:

Like millions of other undocumented people, writer/performer Alex Alpharaoh was a child when he arrived in the United States. Born Anner Alexander Alfaro Cividanis in Guatemala, he traveled most of the hazardous journey across Mexico in the arms of his 15-year-old mother. When she grew exhausted and he fell ill, she entrusted her baby to a solicitous coyote, who promised to smuggle the 3-month-old infant across the border, concealed in the back seat of his car. The coyote made good on his promise, and Alpharaoh’s mom made it too.

stateblogs, Capital & Main, CapitalandMain

So began Alex Alpharaoh’s life in the U.S., one outwardly typical of his younger brothers and sisters except that he, unlike his siblings, lacked papers, and would spend years — despite his achievements as a student, social worker, poet, performer and parent —  in a labyrinthine dodge of ICE and the system at large.

WET: A DACAmented Journey is Alpharaoh’s autobiographical account of life as a DREAMer, from his elementary school days when a visit to Sea World was verboten, lest it entail tangling with the border patrol in San Clemente, up through his recent byzantine experience traveling back to Guatemala in order to re-enter this country as a legal immigrant. The one-person show was produced by Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA as part of their True Story program, which encourages people to create solo works out of their own true experience.

In his script, the Alpharaoh (his professional name) alternates between several personas: Alpharaoh, spoken wordsmith and poet, who voices the fear, conflict and inner chaos common to many undocumented immigrants living a fractured existence; Alex, a down-to-earth guy you might have met anywhere — coffee house, metro, theater — who openly shares some of the Kafkaesque episodes he’s endured as he fights to remain in the only country he’s ever known; and Anner, Alex’s reactive self, whose understandable rage sometimes subverts his reason.

At Washington Liberals, Don Smith writes—The end of fossil-fuel powered cars:

Strangers are poisoning you and your families with toxic chemicals.

Even if you don’t agree with the vast majority of climate scientists about human-caused climate change, you should believe what the American Lung Association says about the effects of vehicle exhaust on health.

state blogs, washington liberals

In Living Near Highways and Air Pollution, The American Lung Association says living near a highway is bad for your health:

The number of people living “next to a busy road” may include 30 to 45 percent of the urban population in North America, according to the most recent review of the evidence. In January 2010, the Health Effects Institute published a major review of the evidence by a panel of expert scientists. The panel looked at over 700 studies from around the world, examining the health effects. They concluded that traffic pollution causes asthma attacks in children, and may cause a wide range of other effects including: the onset of childhood asthma, impaired lung function, premature death and death from cardiovascular diseases, and cardiovascular morbidity. The area most affected, they concluded, was roughly 0.2 to 0.3 miles (300 to 500 meters) from the highway.

Dementia in the elderly is also correlated with living near highways.

In short, driving a gas-powered car is like smoking a cigarette in an infant nursery.

But the solution isn’t for people to relocate away from highways, because that leads to sprawl and long commutes. […]

If you take public transportation, not only do you help save the environment and protect your and others’ health, you also get a chance to read books.  Taking the bike, even to the bus stop, gives you exercise.

Cities should be built for people, not for cars.

At ProgressNowNM, a staffer writes—Both sides of the coin: What a flip in the NM Governor’s seat means for New Mexicans:

This week, National Journal released power rankings regarding the likelihood of National Gubernatorial seats likely to flip from Republican to Democrat in 2018 – New Mexico was second on that list.


There is certainly a laundry list of obvious reasons why this likelihood exists. Ask ten New Mexicans and you’ll get a majority response in a need for change that lists reasons like education, budget woes, and lack of accountability and transparency. Governor Martinez has had her share of failures in all these departments. From lawsuits, to veto fits, and pizza parties, Governor Susana Martinez has surely made Congressman Steve Pearce’s route toward her post an arduous task.

What might New Mexicans expect to see as a result of this sort of shake up? “Dark money” and plenty of it, flowing into the state to further regressive Republican agendas.

ProgressNow NM has done its share of exposing dark money in New Mexico politics. In 2014, the Koch Brothers via Americans for Prosperity said goodbye to New Mexico as a land where they’d decided to setup shop.

It wasn’t the last we’d see of them though, just this year we made our followers aware of their return.

At The Montana Post, Don Pogreba writes—Forget the Beer. Cover Ryan Zinke’s Efforts to Undermine Indian Sovereignty:

While it’s certainly critical news that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke had a beer with Senator Lisa Murkowski, the editorial staff at the Great Falls Tribune and other Montana papers might be better served covering actual policy that Secretary Zinke is pursuing at Interior, policy that could devastate Indian Country.

For instance, it seems newsworthy that Zinke is, according to NonProfit Quarterly still “championing” a budget that would enact devastating cutson Indian Country […]

The Montana Post

Or perhaps his efforts to undermine the sovereignty of Indian tribes by cutting tribes out of the decision-making on a Land Buy-Back program that was designed to improve tribal land management and sovereignty. […]

Or perhaps Zinke’s steps towards the repudiated Termination program of the Eisenhower Administration, a policy so disastrous to American Indian people that it was condemned by Richard Nixon.

From the Los Angeles Times:

In May, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke raised eyebrows at the National Tribal Energy Summit when he called for an “off-ramp” for taking native lands out of trust. “If tribes would have a choice of leaving Indian trust lands and becoming a corporation, tribes would take it,” he said.

Zinke’s comments bore a striking resemblance to the rationale used to justify Termination, an Eisenhower-era policy in which Indians were paid to dismantle their sovereign governments and relinquish their lands. Proponents of the policy argued that if Native Americans adopted the habits of “civilized life,” they would need less land, which, conveniently, also would mean the expansion of the United States. Congress imposed the policy, House Concurrent Resolution 108, without consulting Indian Country.

The policy proved so catastrophic that President Nixon ended it in 1970 with a strong repudiation, telling Congress, “Forced termination is wrong.”

At Uppity Wisconsin, Waterwarriors writes—Anti-Foxconn FB Site Delivers News on the Fox Con:

Led by social media such as Facebook, Wisconsin’s political culture supports a ready resistance to Foxconn.

Uppity Wisconsin state blog

On August 4, scholar-activist Allen Ruff created the Facebook group site, Say No to the Fox Con, quickly gathering 150-plus members, expected to balloon to 1,000s by the end of next week as a “clearing house for critical news and views, primarily articles to inform and educate opposition to the construction of a Foxconn factory in Wisconsin. Pieces regarding the impact on the environment, accounts of the firm’s operations elsewhere, and analyses of other effects and ‘externalities’ not offered up by backers.”

Gov. Scott Walker has called a for a special legislative session to push the tax-water-sand give-away through in August before citizens begin focusing on the scam, (Fortune), intended in part to reelect Gov. Jobs Failure who counts on Wisconsinites too discouraged to effectively oppose his regime.

At Blue Virginia, lowkell writes—New Q-Poll of Virginia: Northam 44%-Gillespie 38%; Dems Lead 49%-38% for House of Delegates:

Increasingly, it’s looking like the Virginia governor’s race is settling in as a 5 or 6-point lead for Democrat Ralph Northam over Republican Ed Gillespie. The latest is the new Quinnipiac University poll (Northam +6 points), which follows yesterday’s VCU poll(Northam +5 points). Here are some details from the new Q-Poll.

Blue Virginia blog
  • Ralph Northam leads Ed Gillespie 44%-38% among Virginia voters, with Libertarian Cliff Hyra at just 4%. Northam’s lead is down slightly, from 8 points, in the June 21 Q-Poll.
  • Major gaps based on gender, race, education level: “Northam leads 51–33 percent among women, 48–39 percent among white college educated voters and 56–21 percent among non-white voters. Gillespie leads 44–35 percent among men, 54–28 percent among white voters with no college degree and 47–38 percent among all white voters.”
  • Democrats looking good for House of Delegates: “Virginia voters say 49–38 percent that they would like to see the Democrats in control of the State Legislature.”
  • This question is misleading, as the only choices given are taxes, the economy, education, health care, or immigration: “Health care is the most important issue in deciding how they will vote in the governor’s race, 36 percent of Virginia voters say, while 25 percent list the economy and 16 percent cite education.”
  • Virginia is NOT Trump country: “Virginia voters disapprove 61–36 percent of the job President Donald Trump is doing.” Basically, everyone except for Republicans disapproves of the authoritarian nutjob in the White House…

At Left in Alabama, countrycat writes— Got Broadband? AL Democratic Senate Candidates Discuss Broadband Access & Cost:

There are so many reasons that Alabama can’t have nice things – like reliable, affordable broadband. In 2015, more than a third of the state had no access at all to broadband Internet, and the people left out are the ones who need it the most. In fact, Alabama’s broadband infrastructure has more in common with Bulgaria than our neighbor, Chattanooga.

In Alabama, broadband access could be a game-changer in many areas:

Left in Alabama
  • Education: Right now, if you’re a student in a smaller, poorer school, it’s hard to take Advanced Placement classes, foreign languages, and higher level courses. Remote learning via a broadband connection could open up access to all students.
  • Health care: Eight Alabama counties have no hospitals and people have to drive hours to see a specialist. Remember that we also have little or no public transportation options, so even getting to the doctor is a challenge.  Telemedicine won’t fix that problem, but it would allow patients to talk with their doctors from home or from a local primary care clinic.
  • Economic development: In the video below, candidate Will Boyd identifies broadband access as  a crucial part of economic development in the Shoals area. Few companies are interested in locating in a region with no hospital and no broadband – no matter how many public money bribes we offer.

At LIA, we’ve followed broadband and public utilities issues closely for over 7 years.  I was thrilled to get to ask all Democratic senate candidates about the issue at a recent candidate forum hosted by the Madison County Democratic Women.

At Bleeding Heartland of Iowa, desmoinesdem writes—If Pete D’Alessandro runs in IA-03, it won’t be just to win an election:

Pete D’Alessandro would be a first-time candidate if he joins the large group of Democrats challenging Representative David Young in Iowa’s third Congressional district. But no one in the field has more Iowa campaign experience than this longtime political operative.

D’Alessandro has been thinking seriously about this race for months. In a recent telephone interview, he told me he has set Saturday, August 26–the date of the Iowa Democratic Party’s third district workshop in Atlantic–as “the day to fish or cut bait.” [

Bleeding Heartland

He also discussed the points he would raise as a candidate and how Democrats can accomplish “real change,” capitalizing on the activism that fueled Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

A native of the Chicagoland suburb of Berwyn, D’Alessandro has lived in Iowa since becoming a field operative on Leonard Boswell’s first Congressional campaign in 1996. He worked on Tom Vilsack’s first gubernatorial campaign in 1998 and recalls a strong turnout in the Des Moines area that year, partly driven by hard-fought races for two Polk County supervisor seats.

D’Alessandro worked for Senator Bill Bradley’s campaign before the 2000 caucuses, and later was political director for Chet Culver as secretary of state and governor. Hundreds of Iowa activists encountered him for the first time in 2015 and 2016, when he was state coordinator for Bernie Sanders. Through his political consulting firm, he has worked with many Democratic candidates outside Iowa as well. […]

At Dakota Free Press, Cory Allen Heidelberger writes—Sutton Votes Pro-Choice 20%, Called for Reversing Roe v. Wade in 2013:

Some of my readers have asked me where South Dakota’s main Democratic candidate for governor, Senator Billie Sutton, stands on women’s reproductive rights. At peril of triggering Karl Rove’s critique of Democrats’ intolerance on abortion, I find that on ten relatively important abortion-related bills or resolutions during his seven Sessions in Pierre, Senator Sutton has voted with pro-choice advocates only twice. […]

Dakota Free Press

Sutton’s first major abortion vote may have had the most negative impact on South Dakota women. In 2011, Sutton supported House Bill 1217, which imposed South Dakota’s egregious 72-hour waiting period and forced “counseling” sessions for women seeing abortions. In 2016, Sutton supported Senate Bill 72, a 20-week abortion ban based on dubious science about “fetal pain.” To his credit, Sutton this year resisted Republicans’ effort to toughen that “fetal pain” ban. Sutton’s nay on House Bill 1101 didn’t stop Republicans from raising the penalty in the “fetal pain” ban from misdemeanor to felony, but Sutton gets a point for trying. But in seven years, he has scored only two pro-choice points out of ten.

The signal vote of those ten may actually be a vote that had no practical impact. In 2013, Senator Billie Sutton voted in favor of House Concurrent Resolution 1002, which called on the United States Supreme Court to revisit and overturn Roe v. Wade. 

At Colorado Pols, a staffer writes—Local Group First to Test New Signature Gathering Rules

According to a press release from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, we have a guinea pig for new signature-gathering rules for ballot measures:

Backers of a measure that would limit housing growth in Colorado might be the first to test a new provision that requires anyone trying to amend Colorado’s constitution to collect a percentage of voter signatures from each of the state’s 35 Senate districts.

Colorado Pols state blog

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office this week approved the petition format for proposed Initiative 4, which allows its backers, Daniel Hayes of Golden and Julianne Page of Wheat Ridge, to begin collecting signatures to try to get the measure on the 2018 ballot. They have until Nov. 30 to collect 98,492 valid voter signatures, including at least 2 percent from each Senate district based on current voter registration figures.

The provision requiring the collection of signatures in each Senate district was approved by voters in 2016 to make it more difficult to amend Colorado’s frequently amended Constitution. Amendment 71 or “Raise the Bar,” as it was called, is being challenged in court by Hayes, another individual and two health organizations. They claim it is unconstitutional on several fronts.

Prior to Amendment 71, signatures were required to be collected from each of seven congressional districts.

state blogs, Juanita Jean's

At Juanita Jean’s of Texas, Juanita Jean Herownself writes—And So It Goes

Heads up 

Nine months after the presidential election was decided, a federal judge is ordering the State Department to try again to find emails Hillary Clinton wrote about the Benghazi attack.

Wall of emails

U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled that the State Department had not done enough to try to track down messages Clinton may have sent about the assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound on Sept. 11, 2012 — an attack that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Judicial Watch is not giving up without an eternal fight.  Look, I get it.  I don’t care if he’s dead, I still want to impeach Nixon.  But, I’m not costing the taxpayers a damn fortune to do it.

Lock her up!

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