VIDEO: Youth play vital role at the Roundhouse

It’s the last day of the 2009 Legislative Session I want to recognize the important role young people played in helping to shape public policy and educate our representatives on youth issues. During the week of March 2nd young people from across the state visited the Capitol for New Mexico Children’s Cabinet Days. I was lucky to catch some of these young leaders and interview them.

They spoke about the need for green jobs and renewable energy, teen pregnancy prevention and stopping bills that would cut youth programs among many other issues. I was impressed by their level of commitment and how organized they are. It was also clear that there is great respect from the youth for Lt. Governor Diane Denish and Claire Dudley for their work to make NM Cabinet Days a success.

Check out the video here:

It has also been exciting to see the fruits of their labor with the passage of the first Green Jobs Bill, Senate Bill 318 on 3/20/09. Democracy for New Mexico blogged about this important measure.

The passage of SB 318 is a huge success for groups like New Mexico Youth Organized, Green For All, Conservation Voters NM, New Energy Economy, the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, Natural Resources Defense Council and 1Sky.

Big up’s to our young leaders!

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Van Jones Speaks Out for Green Jobs in NM

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In a recorded video message, Van Jones, founding President of Green for All and acclaimed author of The Green Collar Economy (Harper One 2008), offers his support for the NM Green Jobs Collaborative and a green jobs bills package being introduced in the NM legislature this year. Van Jones has been at the forefront of the green jobs movement across the nation and was named a Time Magazine 2008 Environmental Hero as well as one of Fast Company’s 12 Most Creative Minds of 2008, just to name a few. His forward thinking solutions have really succeeded in escalating the environmental movement into a new nationwide social justice initiative that is meant to provide new opportunities for some of the most disadvantaged populations across the country. New Mexico’s green jobs bill package, which “can be model legislation for the rest of the country,” according to Van, can succeed in “putting the state on a journey toward clean energy and all the work and wealth and health that comes from using clean energy.”

HB 622, sponsored by Speaker Ben Lujan, provides the necessary resources to create green jobs training programs to build a new local green collar workforce. It would also create infrastructure within NM to leverage federal funds when they become available. In conjunction, SB 318 and SB 420, both sponsored by Senator Eric Griego, Continue reading

Ali’s RNC Trip: Targeted Voter or Troublemaker?

You are not here to cause any trouble are you?” the young Republican who greeted me asked when I inquired about getting press credentials for the RNC State Chairmen’s Meeting at Tamaya Resort & Spa.

He was nice enough, but definitely nervous. After some delay, I was indeed granted a press credential to the Chairmen’s Luncheon. I also had the pleasure of a “bodyguard” who made sure I got my seat in the back of the room and didn’t leave my side in case I decided to “make trouble.”

Rick Davis, John McCain’s 2008 Campaign Manager spoke about the people the McCain campaign needs to target, “Wal-Mart moms, “Rehab” Republicans (those disengaged from the party), Hispanics, youth and Facebook independents.”

As I sat in the room of predominantly older, white men I found myself thinking, “Hey I fit 3 of the 5 profiles.” I have a Facebook account, I am a youth (though some may beg to differ!) and while I consider myself a Chicana I am politically identified as a Hispanic.

So why didn’t anyone look like me in the room? Why did I have a “bodyguard” who kept asking me if I was going to cause any trouble? Was I a targeted voter or troublemaker? These were questions I pondered as I drove back home.