Democratic party chairwoman campaigns in Valencia County

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More than 200 Valencia County Democrats packed into the Fred Luna Senior Center on Sunday afternoon in anticipation of a visit from Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Candidates ranging from gubernatorial candidate Gary King to county commission hopefuls got the crowd pumped up as everyone waited for the chairwoman to arrive.

Julia M. Dendinger-News-Bulletin photo: Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz energizes local Democrats during a rally Sunday afternoon at the Fred Luna Senior Center in Los Lunas. The event, organized by the Democratic Party of Valencia, gave local and statewide candidates an opportunity to mingle with and talk to Valencia County voters.

On her 409th event promoting the party and its candidates, Wasserman Schultz was welcomed with a mariachi band, a bottle of wine from Belen and green chile barbecue sauce from Los Lunas.

When she took the microphone, the petite Congresswoman from Florida told the crowd when they cast their ballots in November, to remember who had their back. From what Wasserman Schultz said, it wasn’t the Republicans.

“This Tea Party civil war being waged in the Republican party has clearly been won by them,” Wasserman Schultz said. “This is the do-nothingest Congress of do-nothing Congresses since Truman, and they only passed about 1,000 pieces of legislation. We have passed about 300.

“But it’s not about the numbers. Are they addressing the issues?”

The chairwoman said the Republican Party is willing to investigate Benghazi “one more time” and work tirelessly to repeal the Affordable Care Act but not actually address and solve issues such as immigration, equal pay and health care.

“There are 72 days left (until the General Election) and it’s time to leave it all on the field,” she said. “I am asking you to part with your most precious resource — your time. I don’t want to wake up on Nov. 5 and think we shoulda’, woulda’, coulda’”

In an interview after the rally, Wasserman Schultz said she came to New Mexico because it has consistently been a blue state, a Democratic stronghold.

“We have the opportunity to take back a lot of the seats lost in 2010. I think there are a lot of voters out there with buyers remorse,” she said. “The policies of the Tea Party-elected candidates aren’t addressing the issues like jobs, pay equality, improving education.

“And if theses areas are getting addressed, the policies enacted are actually doing harm. I thought it was important to come to New Mexico, to come down to this community and plant a flag.”

A few days before Wasserman Schultz came to New Mexico, the Republican Party of New Mexico released a statement calling on the DNC chairwoman to denounce Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gary King’s “war on women, which includes his shameful comments and dismal record on equal pay,” the statement read.

Wasserman Schultz said she didn’t know anything about the four gender discrimination lawsuits filed by women formerly employed by King’s Attorney General’s office. Three of the lawsuits were settled for between $5,000 and $15,000 each and the fourth was dismissed for lack of merit.

She called the statement from RPNM “rich, considering Gov. Martinez defunded the Commission on the Status of Women, the commission that fights for and keeps an eye on things like pay equality in New Mexico.”

Martinez issued a statement on Friday in reaction to Wasserman Shultz’s visit via spokesman Chris Sanchez.

“Regardless of who Gary King brings into New Mexico, they cannot cover up the fact that he intends to take the state back to the days of Bill Richardson,” the statement read. “Gov. Martinez is working to move New Mexico forward by diversifying the state’s economy so small businesses can compete, hire and grow, while also reforming our schools to improve the graduation rate, which is now growing at a faster pace than any other state.”

Wasserman Schultz also criticized Martinez for vetoing a bill to increase the minimum wage in the state.

“Forty percent of households with children are led by women and we have a woman governor not living up to her responsibilities,” the chairwoman said. “She has a lot of nerve. She might think about looking in a mirror before she suggests that Gary King is waging a war on women.”


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.