alibi online

Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 
 V.23 No.4 | January 23 - 29, 2014 

Book News

Dede in Wonderland

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

Dede Feldman
UNM Press
paperback
nonfiction
$24.95

Former state senator Dede Feldman describes her first legislative session in 1997 as “a little like riding a motorcycle in a thunderstorm in the nude.” Sound like an exaggeration? It isn't. Legislative sessions in New Mexico can be terrifying, bombastic and exhilarating.

Inside the New Mexico Senate is an astonishingly honest, entertaining dive into the heart of New Mexico politics. It’s helpful that Feldman once had a long career as a journalist, because she brings a reporter’s eye and ear to the affair. What could have been just a drab schematic of the legislative process turns into a well-researched page-turner populated with colorful personalities, conflicted relationships and plenty of enticing political drama.

Throughout, Feldman makes it clear that she loved being a state senator. “It was one of the most significant and meaningful things I've done in my life,” she said in a recent interview. “It was an honor to serve the people in my community. I made some of the best friends in my life there, common allies in a common cause. That’s a great feeling. Of course, being there could also be frustrating, and you see that in this book. Even if you have the very best of intentions, good people can get trapped in a flawed system.”

The book’s overarching purpose, says Feldman, is to provide progressive advocates with useful advice about how to make the system work in their favor, to protect the environment, improve education, expand health care, decrease poverty and reform government. Sprinkled throughout the book are various case studies designed to illustrate how this is possible.

“(Albuquerque Representative) Gail Chasey was able to ban the death penalty in New Mexico through perseverance, grace and grit over a 10-year period,” Feldman says. “This book explains how that was done and how the advocates won this and other victories. It also explains how some of these battles were lost.”

Both politics and process inside the Roundhouse are notoriously complex. Feldman emphasizes that in a place like New Mexico, the road to political success is often paved with a deep understanding of the intricacies and histories of personal connections. “We are a state based on relationships,” she says. “Here in New Mexico, if you want to make change, you're well-served to map the complex web of relationships of those in power.” Part of the attraction of Inside the New Mexico Senate is it allows the reader to trace that web without getting completely entangled in it.

Steven Robert Allen is the Director of Public Policy at the American Civil Liberties Union in New Mexico. From 2007 to 2011, as director of Common Cause New Mexico, he worked with Feldman to advocate for various government reforms.

Dede Feldman launches Inside the New Mexico Senate


Rio Chama Steakhouse
Monday, Jan. 30, 5pm
414 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe
riochamasteakhouse.com, (505) 955-0765
FREE

Bookworks
Tuesday, Feb. 4, 7pm
4022 Rio Grande NW
bkwrks.com, 344-8139
FREE
View in Alibi calendar calendar
 
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!
 

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • alibi.com
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Del.icio.us Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    Iced Earth
    Iced Earth5.15.2014