The charter governing elections in this dusty burg by the Rio Grande proclaims that such elective endeavors be nonpartisan; in the general election that led up to the upcoming final round it was easy enough for candidates and voters to believe in that ideal. Some candidates were loathe to subscribe to any party-specific doctrines, some even went out of their way to distance themselves from the very political parties that previously gave them succor—and agency—in their previous political careers.
But now, as that particular episode of local politics wanes, leaving behind two candidates with deep roots in the two-party system, it is time to stop pretending that partisanship has no place in city politics. Ironically the realpolitik of Burque’s municipal electoral environment is all about ideology.
A look at the recent history of Albuquerque mayoral politics reveals that committed partisan involvement—of the Republican variety—was key to the election of Richard Berry. It goes without saying that this same Republican party was responsible for ushering in the age of darkness that has been foisted upon citizens through a combination of incompetence, inaction, cruelty and hypocrisy.
These facts of responsibility and failure have become even more evident in recent days as an enfeebled GOP continues to support a mentally unstable, vindictive and ignorant executive branch—and the executive himself continues to make dangerous decisions on behalf of a startled, bewildered republic.
Local politics is—for better or worse—tied to national politics and voters should keep that in mind when they head to the polls to cast their final vote for mayor on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Timothy A. Keller, the auditor for the state of New Mexico, is a Democrat whose progressive ideas and plans anchor his platform solidly to a hopeful vision of what our city can become.
After graduate school, Keller worked in the field of international economic development, helping improve employment systems in Cambodia.
As a state senator representing Albuquerque’s international district in 2013—a place also known in local parlance as the “war zone”—Keller was instrumental in successfully developing and implementing the International District Public Safety Partnership in coordination with APD, the US Department of Justice and numerous local leaders, businesses and institutions.
A look at Keller’s history as a legislator and as state auditor demonstrate the candidate’s attention to and manifestation of progressive causes. These include legislation that gives local businesses preference when bidding for state jobs, a keen, watchdog approach to corruption in government, a frank assessment and a strategy for dealing with untested sexual assault evidence kits and significantly, a solid embrace of public funded election financing. As a mayoral candidate, an environmentally conscious Keller has been attacked by land-hungry developers for his cautious stance regarding further Westside urbanization.
City Councilor Dan Lewis is a good man, a family man who advertises himself as a ‘reform’ candidate; heck his website has the word splashed across it in a way that seems at first revelatory; until one realizes that the concepts of reform and renewal are demonstrably foreign to Republicans in general and to Lewis in particular.
Lewis is the executive vice president at a corporation called Desert Fuels. They’re unrenewable petrochemical fuel dealers. The company’s currently in a period of expansion, a boon that is no doubt tied to the current administration’s anti-environment, pro-oil and coal policies.
In 2013 Lewis strongly implied his support for the failed Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance—which would have imposed a citywide ban on late term abortions—when he wrote a letter to constituents explaining why the election had to take place, despite clear constitutional issues—basically using legalese to state that the constitutionality of a law, before passage, was mere “speculation.”
Lewis also has the honor of being endorsed by an organization called the National Rifle Association. They’re one of the reasons there is so much gun violence in this country, that gun-ownership now sometimes comes with quasi-religious fervor.
Lewis’ association with the right has been further demonstrated on at least two occassions. As readers may recall, Lewis made a prominent appearance at Donald Trump’s first Albuquerque rally. Lewis’ campaign was also championed by a pastor of Legacy church, who posted on social media that he wholeheartedly supported Lewis’ campaign because Lewis “could never, in any way, support the homosexual agenda.”
Talking about Lewis’ political and legislative legacies at this point is a fruitless exercise when one considers the ideology they’re all built upon.
Finally, check out the two candidate websites, tk4abq.com and lewisabq.com—note the language used. At Lewis’ site, the descriptions of Albuquerque and it’s problems are addressed in negative, almost apocalyptic terms. Keller meanwhile speaks with hope and dignity for the future of Albuquerque. With that essential difference in mind, it should be a simple task for progressives, for citizens in general, to get Keller elected; a pro-tip to end this, then: vote for the future, not the past on Tuesday November 14, 2017.