Thursday, Oct 31, 2013, at the invitation of Representative Ben Ray Luján’s staff, several members of PDA CNM met with the Congressman who was dedicating two hours of his recess time to meet with constituents. We were told we had five minutes, but the Congressman spent about an hour with us. We handed him a list of PDA priorities that we have been including in the letters we deliver at the letter drops every month. However, Rep. Luján was ahead of us. He had a list already in front of him of several of PDA’s issues and he was prepared to respond to them. Here are the issues we presented him with:
H. R. 676, Health Care for All
H. Con. Res 53, Promote diplomacy with Syria
Oppose Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
H. R. 1579, Robin Hood Tax
H. R. 1000, The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act
H. R. 12, The Voter Empowerment Act
H. J. Res. 44, Constitutional amendment for the right to vote
H. J. Res. 43, Remove deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment
Oppose farm bill that cuts food stamps/SNAP
Grayson/Takano letter pledging to vote against cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid Support Back to Work Budget
H. R. 200, Responsible End to War in Afghanistan
He is with us on SNAP and HR 200 although his name is not on the latest letter. He said that was a mistake.
He says he supports John Conyers Health Care for All bill and the ERA act.
He has signed the de Lauro/Miller letter opposing the Fast Track vote on the TPP. Says he won’t sign any trade agreement that he hasn’t been allowed to see. He asked for resources explaining the TPP and wrote down the Public Citizen website.
He seemed less familiar with the Robin Hood tax which is a tax on stock market transactions. This is an important and no-brainer answer to getting more revenue by taxing the rich instead of getting it by cutting social programs. So we need to keep educating our Congress people.
Opposes farm bill that cuts SNAP (food stamps)
He has signed the Grayson/Takano letter.
He has a bill pending which protects sacred sites in AZ from mining and if it passes may have an impact on other such sites in the path of the Keystone Pipeline which could essentially bring a halt to the pipeline. He has quite a bit of bipartisan support so does not want this to become a public argument at the moment lest he lose Republican support.
There was not enough time to cover all the bills and issues, but we will continue to keep the conversation going.
Rep. Luján is very accessible and responsive to his constituents. His knowledge of the issues is thorough and he articulates the issues well. His easy personality and respect for and attentiveness to us is refreshing and encouraging. We feel fortunate to have such a person representing District 3 in NM. And we will continue to visit his office and deliver our messages which further the progressive agenda. We encourage everyone to do the same.