Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Arizona's new US House seat & Senate race, 2012

Rep. Daniel Patterson on 2012 election

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Arizonans, you deserve a strong, moderate leader who's on your side to win US Senate and/or our new House seat in 2012.

Reform government for we the people!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Patterson to Brewer on transplant crisis, Medicaid

UPDATE: TV news coverage, ABC 9 Tucson, Dec 21.
Also read Brewer and her Arizona Republicans own their budget mess, no more excuses


REPRESENTATIVE DANIEL PATTERSON
Arizona State Capitol, Phoenix
Tucson, district 29

December 20, 2010

The Honorable Jan Brewer
Governor of Arizona
1700 W. Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007

RE: AHCCCS transplant coverage

Dear Governor Brewer:

I am very concerned about how the consequences of last session’s medical transplant-coverage cuts have been handled. I ask you please to take immediate action to restore the $1.4 million program before another Arizonan dies. It has been almost three months since the cuts to transplant coverage took effect, and while a multitude of options have been put forth to achieve the restoration of this funding, so far nothing effective has been done to help sick patients who need action now.

There were 98 people on the transplant list when the program was cut, each with families, friends, loved-ones and, all too often, children to care for. One life has already been lost and a second was spared only due to the kind generosity of an anonymous donor. Attempts to shift the focus away from these sick people and blame the federal government are simply ineffective and unacceptable and tell David Hernandez, one of my constituents in Tucson, and the other transplant candidates desperately waiting for organ matches, that state government thinks the modest savings achieved by these cuts is more valuable than their lives.

There are $30 million in discretionary stimulus funds available to you to allocate as you wish. If, in fact, this money has been spent, I ask you to please call a special session now to come up with alternative funding sources. If any of the stimulus money is still available, I urge you to please immediately direct the expenditure of $1.4 million to restore transplant coverage. If state government continues to stall and wait too long, people will likely die, and no one wants that.

Please let me know how we may work together to solve the transplant crisis.

Thank you,
REPRESENTATIVE DANIEL R. PATTERSON
District 29, Tucson

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dems defend AZ independent redistricting process

Rep. Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix)

Democrats say hands-off the redistricting process; It’s called “independent” for a reason


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- In response to a press conference held today by Republican legislative leaders to protest the list of Independent Redistricting Commission applicants chosen by the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, incoming House Democratic Leader, Chad Campbell and other lawmakers urged their Republican colleagues to take a hands-off approach.

"Republicans didn't get their ideal list of appointees to choose from and neither did Democrats," Campbell said. "But the whole idea behind an Independent Redistricting Commission is for it to actually be independent."

"The voters created the Independent Redistricting Commission and the point was to remove the politicians and political parties’ control from the process. Now the Republican legislative leaders are trying to interject themselves in to that process because they don't like how it is playing itself out," Campbell said. "This isn't about Republicans and Democrats controlling redistricting. It's about letting a fair and independent process work as it was intended to do."

"It's called independent for a reason. Until it is time for Legislative Leaders to make their appointments, politicians should be hands-off this process," Campbell said.

Each Legislative leader, including Campbell, will be allowed to appoint one Member to the Independent Redistricting Commission from the eligible applicants that are chosen by the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments.

"It's critical to the public interest that Arizona's redistricting process be fair and truly independent, as voters intended. The only way to ensure fairness right now is by keeping partisan politics out of it," said Rep. Daniel Patterson of Tucson.

- adapted from House Dems news release

Monday, December 13, 2010

Nissan, Ford & GM electric cars charge up drivers

Rep. Daniel Patterson, Ranking Member of the Arizona House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, with the all-electric Nissan Leaf.

TUCSON -- I got a special drive of the new all-electric Nissan Leaf Saturday. It's a cool car, strong & quiet. Ford will unveil its all-electric Focus in 2011. Chevy also has the electric/hybrid Volt coming up.

Depending on the price, real-world range and vehicle charging options, these new cleaner electric cars could do very well in America.

I'm glad the electric car is back and I hope it's a big success, but I also still love my original zero-emissions vehicle, the bicycle.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Daily info: follow me on twitter, friend on facebook

TUCSON -- I'm doing well and working hard. I've also been too busy this week to blog.

For timely, daily updates, news & views please also follow me on twitter, friend me on facebook and like my facebook politician page.

Thank you and happy holidays.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

S. Arizona pit-stop of World Zero Emissions Race

TUCSON -- The World Zero Emissions Race stopped Nov 23 in southern Arizona, showing off cool vehicles of the future. Here's a photo.

US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (middle), Arizona State Representative Daniel Patterson (2nd from left), Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll (left) and others welcome racers to Tucson. See vehicle photos.

Friday, December 03, 2010

AZ leaders hold GOP accountable on jobless aid

Mean McCain & Careless Kyl
harm Arizonans again


TUCSON -- Rep. Daniel Patterson and other leaders are holding Republicans accountable for failing to extend unemployment benefits to Arizonans who are out of work due to failed GOP economic policies.

Hundreds of thousands of Arizonans will lose jobless aid during the holidays thanks to Republicans’ “no” votes on extending it. Nearly 600,000 jobs across the nation will be lost over the year and the U.S. economy will be 0.6 percent lower than it is today.

"U.S. unemployment is still very high, especially in severely stressed states such as Arizona, where thousands of families depend on unemployment insurance to barely scrape by in this still very rough economy for workers," said Patterson. "People want jobs, and extending jobless aid will not stop them from seeking hard-to-find employment, but it will stop them from going hungry or becoming homeless."

The Congressional Budget Office says every $1 spent on unemployment benefits generates up to nearly $2 in economic growth. The program is the most effective government policy for generating growth among 11 options the CBO has analyzed.

Earlier this year, GOP Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona actually said he felt jobless aid was a "disincentive" to out-of-work Americans to find new work.

"I'm sure most of them would like work and probably have tried to seek it, but you can't argue it's a job enhancer," Kyl said on the Senate floor when debating the topic of a federal unemployment benefits extension to allow states, such as Arizona, to continue to pay out benefits.

On the state level, Republicans’ lack of support for Arizonans trying to find work during a 10 percent unemployment rate is similar. Gov. Jan Brewer and Republicans killed a bill that would have raised Arizona’s jobless aid pay rate, one of the lowest in the nation. Brewer also rejected $150 million of federal stimulus money to modernize the unemployment insurance system; that money went to other states.

"Republican Senators including Arizona's Kyl and John McCain are the Grinch this year, heartlessly cutting off American families as part of their reckless temper tantrum demanding unwise immediate tax cuts for the very rich," explains Patterson. "Shame on the callous and out-of-touch GOP for risking the lives and ruining the holidays of millions of Americans."

“It is just unconscionable that Kyl and McCain voted against getting our economy back on track and instead voted to make it worse,” said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, Asst. House Democratic Leader. “It is disgusting that Republicans will break the tradition of supporting unemployment benefits, yet they are tirelessly supporting tax cuts for multimillionaires. It makes no sense.”

McCain and Kyl will have another opportunity to make the right choice in extending unemployment benefits and they should help Arizona by voting 'yes'.

- adapted from AZ House Dems PIO

Arizona v. Arizona State football, Tucson, Dec 2

Wilma Wildcat, UA fan, Rep. Daniel Patterson & Wilbur Wildcat
at President's tailgate party, University of Arizona, Tucson, Dec 2, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Helping Tucson's poor for Thanksgiving

Rep. Daniel Patterson with Libby Wright of The Giving Tree on Thanksgiving.
We fed and helped hundreds of poor people and kids on the southside.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No heart: Brewer's Ariz. Republican Death Panels

Steve Benson Cartoon
Cartoon by Steve Benson, Arizona Republic, Nov 23, 2010

Democratic lawmaker to hold Tucson town hall

Bringing the capitol to you.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29) invites constituents to a town hall next week in Tucson.

When: Saturday, Dec. 4, 2 to 4 p.m.
Where: Eckstrom-Columbus Branch Library, 4350 E. 22nd St., Tucson.

At his eighth town hall, Patterson will discuss the upcoming session and hear from Tucsonans about their needs, ideas and concerns so he can take them with him to the capitol.

"Unfortunately, tough times are about to get tougher in Arizona, and I want to hear from the people I represent about their ideas and concerns for the state,” Patterson said. “Jobs, the economy, education, health care and our own public safety all are at stake. We need real solutions or Arizona will just continue down the wrong track.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

AZ Rs own their budget mess, no more excuses

by Rep. Daniel Patterson

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Like it or not, there is no balance in Arizona state government with Republicans taking total control.

Soon the GOP will have the governor’s office, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, state schools superintendent, supermajorities in both the state House and Senate and control the majority of Arizona’s U.S. Congressional seats.

These are the people who made the biggest cuts to education in state history, laid-off thousands of Arizonans and cut health care for kids and seniors.

They wasted taxpayers’ time and money on frivolous lawsuits and wacky legislation like the birther bill and a ban on human-animal hybrids.

They may have total control in Phoenix, but Republicans also have no more excuses. They can’t blame Democrats, Independents, moderates or anyone else. No more hiding the fact that the GOP has held the majority in the legislature for more than 40 years.

They’re here and they’ll have to do something they've so far failed to do: lead our state through its financial crisis. They've run the state Legislature since the 1960s, but their recent failures tell it all:

· Instead of balancing the budget, they literally put their money on voter approval of Props. 301 and 302. They knew these proposed sweeps of early childhood education and state conservation funds would fail. But it was the excuse they needed for more drastic cuts down the road.

· Instead of protecting our schools from $1.1 billion in devastating cuts, they protected outrageous tax loopholes for big corporations and the rich.

· Instead of focusing on jobs, schools and the economy, they filled the legislative docket with ridiculous bills that wasted taxpayers' time and money.

Their wrong priorities and failure to balance the budget have left our state more than $800 million in debt, and that may double in the coming year.

With that will come more cuts to the things that we as Arizonans value the most.

Some Republican legislative leaders have said they are eager to decimate AHCCCS healthcare and cut off $7 billion in federal help for middle-class Arizonans, kids and seniors. This is unwise and unacceptable.

As a State Representative, I am part of a tough but small group of 20 House Democrats.

The Republican "supermajority" in the House will have the power to do whatever it wants, no matter what we do and no matter how we vote. Not even a governor's veto can stop them.

But I know why my constituents in Tucson re-elected me. I support hard-working Arizonans and make sure I work toward their priorities at the capitol. I represent real people in Tucson and I represent their priorities: jobs, schools and the economy.

We have to hold these Republicans accountable to make sure they do the job they were elected to do — work toward solutions.

This supermajority must be held accountable by all of us because its actions will affect all of us. House Democrats and I will hold Republicans accountable for their actions and we will fight for jobs, schools and small businesses to get Arizona’s economy moving again.

We are Arizona’s new watchdog.

Republicans own the budget mess they've created, and we must hold them accountable for their decisions. Arizonans deserve better than continued severe cuts to education and jobs.

The absolute top goal for Arizona has to be jobs and the economy. We need to support our small businesses and start the economic engine of Arizona moving again.

Arizonans are entitled to jobs, education, big corporations and the rich paying their fair share and real solutions to border security.

It’s time for accountability, and it’s way past time to get Arizona back on track.

- first posted Sat. Nov 13

UPDATES: Arizona Republic FACT CHECK: 'Brewer wrong' on transplants. Lives threatened due to Arizona GOP health care cuts. Rep. Chad Campbell: Jan Brewer and Republicans lying about transplants, cuts. More news on Arizona Republican Death Panels.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Join next LD29 Town Hall, Sat. Dec 4 in Tucson

Columbus branch library

TUCSON -- Constituents, please join me, Rep. Daniel Patterson, for a post-election/pre-session LD29 Town Hall meeting, Sat. Dec 4, 2-4p, Columbus library, 4350 E 22nd St.

This will be my 8th LD29 Town Hall since last year.

My LD29 colleagues Rep. Matt Heinz & Sen. Linda Lopez have also been invited to participate.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

PEER helping workers protect health, environment

Lisa Jackson is Obama's EPA Administrator

WASHINGTON -- Two quick update links here from PEER.org, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, where I serve in Tucson as Southwest Director covering government whistle-blower cases in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah.
  • Compromising clean energy support, the US Army Corps. of Engineers is going the wrong way on protecting US wetlands.
  • New effort by the US Environmental Protection Agency to stem mounting water pollution from pharmaceuticals will be ineffective and may make matters worse.
Support PEER

Karl Rove reunited with twin today in Arizona


AZ Rep. Andy Tobin (R) with Karl Rove today in Phoenix.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Views from southern Arizona in the Arena

A voice of reason for Tucson, AZ & USA

WASHINGTON -- Keep up with my comments from Tucson as AZ State Rep. in POLITICO's Arena on cap & trade and other important issues, along with views of leaders and experts nationwide.

Follow me on twitter and facebook. Wishing you a nice weekend.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Thx, Tucson voters, for re-electing me to AZ House

I'll be back at the Capitol 2011-12 representing LD29 in the 50th Arizona Legislature.

TUCSON -- To all my friends & supporters in Tucson LD29, thank you for voting.

I'm deeply humbled & thankful to win re-election and be the #1 vote getter for the 3rd election in a row in AZ LD29 House.

Thanks, Tucson voters! I work for you!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Helping AZ biz go solar to help economy & earth

Rep. Daniel Patterson cutting cord Oct 28 with Rep. Giffords, Mayor Walkup
& Keith Maio of NBofAZ

TUCSON -- Read story in Arizona Daily Star about big new solar project.

Campaigning for AZ Dems with Sen. Mark Udall

Tucson native US Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) & AZ Rep. Daniel Patterson (D-LD29), Oct 26
Dan Millis photo

Monday, November 01, 2010

LD29: My good views v. bad GOP opponent, vote Tu

Vote Tue. Nov 2 for Rep. Daniel Patterson

TUCSON -- You need to know about some important big differences between me and my GOP opponent. I'm good, he's not. Arizona LD29 constituents and voters, I ask please for your vote. Find your polling place and thank you for voting!

Read why I'm best for your Rep. here from my twitter and facebook:

I'm on your side working hard 4 middle class; no tax hikes. GOP opponent would serve greedy Phx bosses, cutting schools, hurting jobs & econ.

I scored 100% A+ for political courage on Project Vote Smart test. My GOP opponent got zero for no courage.

I support science, compassion & AZ med. marijuana Prop 203 protecting seriously ill patients from arrest & jail, my GOP opponent does not.

I support public schools. My GOP opponent doesn't & wants to give taxpayer money to private religious schools.


I support UA, ASU & NAU. GOP opponent would vote w greedy Phx bosses for more bad cuts, pricing out middle class.

I support women's rights. My GOP opponent thinks women victims of rape or incest should be forced to have their rapist's baby.

I'm backed by police & sheriffs, teachers, firefighters, Latinas, nurses & labor. GOP opponent is not; too out-of-touch, radical & dishonest.

Enjoyed important AZ health forum Wed eve @ UA, my GOP opponent was no-show. Mtg 2day w biz leaders on my goal of strong SoAZ caucus @ leg.

I'm endorsed again by AZ Daily Star. I'm working hard 4 forgotten middle class 2 put AZ back on track. GOP opponent can't be trusted.

I support AZ's independent judiciary. My GOP opponent doesn't & wants politicians to appoint activist judges.

I'm on your side working hard 4 kids, seniors & all; no tax hikes. GOP opponent lies, would serve corrupt Phx bosses, hurting schools & jobs.

Vote Daniel Patterson Please keep an eye on our twitter & facebook for more info as the Nov 2 election fast approaches. Thanks.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

AZ in crisis, needs Democratic leadership; vote Tu.

I'm on your side working hard for Tucson's middle class, without tax hikes. My GOP opponent would serve greedy Phoenix bosses, cutting schools, hurting jobs & economy. I ask for your vote, AZ LD29 voters in Tucson south, southeast & downtown. Thank you for voting.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- If you're an angry voter, you have every right to be. Arizonans continue to lose their jobs, their homes and even their hope. Our state's future is in the balance.

More than ever, we need strong, qualified leaders to get Arizona through this crisis. But we won't get those leaders without a thoughtful, race-by-race consideration of candidates up and down the ballot.

The state Republican Party, however, is hoping for your anger vote by default. They look at the same research we do, and they know, just like we do, that when independent-minded voters learn more about both sides of the ballot, these voters favor many of the Democratic candidates.

Because of this, they've tried to capitalize on voter anger by blaming the president and Congress for all of Arizona's problems. You've probably seen their national-themed attacks in TV ads and direct-mail literature. It's become almost absurd. I'm still trying to figure out what the president has to do with Arizona's mine-inspector race.

But there's a gaping hole in their logic: Republicans are the ones in power here in Arizona. We have a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled Legislature. In fact, the state Legislature has been in Republican hands for most of the past 40 years.

Arizona Democrats are outnumbered by Republicans, but our candidates often win because independents and moderates agree we represent the sensible center. Republicans know this, too, so they're trying to paint Arizona Democrats as something we are not.

I'm asking voters to reject Republican attempts to distort statewide races like attorney general or treasurer into referendums on national anger. I'm also asking voters to reject Republican attempts to nationalize our legislative races. These state and local races are about Arizona - about our schools, jobs and public safety. These are the priorities of Arizona Democrats.

Frankly, the Republican slate has done nothing to earn the tidal wave of support that it's predicting. Gov. Jan Brewer is managed by powerful lobbyists, and her "leadership" entails hiding from local media, fearmongering about Arizona, and passing off stimulus jobs as her own creation.

Tom Horne wants to be attorney general, yet he has a lifetime SEC trading ban and hid a past bankruptcy from the Corporation Commission. And Doug Ducey wants to be treasurer, yet he skipped tax payments on his Paradise Valley home, paying them back only after launching his candidacy. This is hardly the kind of leadership Arizona needs, especially during a crisis.

And then there's the Legislature. Having a Republican majority at our state Capitol comes at a price:

- Education: Arizona Democrats repeatedly fought against drastic, unnecessary school cuts that hurt our children's future and Arizona's economic recovery. But the Republicans in power approved more than $1 billion in cuts to our kids' classrooms.

- Jobs: Arizona Democrats want to create good jobs that can't be shipped across the border or to China or India. We demand accountability. If you're a corporation that gets a tax giveaway but you fail to create good Arizona jobs, you lose the tax break, and that money goes to our schools. But the Republicans in power have handed out millions in tax loopholes for big corporations without any accountability to create jobs.

- Public safety: Arizona Democrats oppose giving more control of state prisons to unregulated private corporations. But the Republicans in power continue to protect the private-prison lobbyists and their industry, which put our families at risk, as seen in the Kingman prison tragedy.

It's time for leaders who work for "We the People" - not for special interests. Arizona deserves better than a default vote in one direction.

So, learn a little more about the Democrat and the Republican in each race. And then practice a little anger management: Vote.

by Don Bivens chair of ADP

Brewer in SF seeks headlines, not security for AZ

Goddard works for Arizona

PHOENIX -- Attorney General Terry Goddard today pointed out the Governor's trip to San Francisco is a headline grab, a waste of time and a disservice to Arizonans. The Governor is already in California, waiting to sit in the audience for a hearing before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"The court will make its decision based on the law, not on who is in the courtroom," said Goddard during a news conference today at the Arizona State Capitol. "The governor has no role whatsoever in this hearing. She is trying to convince people that she is protecting the border; but SB 1070 has no impact on border crime. I will put my record of fighting border crime up against anyone's, especially Jan Brewer's."

"She clearly has learned to love the attention she gets from the national media whenever she mentions 1070, and it is equally clear that she intends to milk this hearing for all she can get from it."

"The most important point is this: tomorrow is the day before a critical election. She will be in California. I will be here, talking to the people of Arizona about the damage that has been done to this state during her watch - lost jobs, lost business, the massively unbalanced budget - and how, under my leadership, we will repair that damage." said Goddard.

The Court will not delve into whether SB 1070, the immigration bill passed by the state legislature this year, is right or wrong. It will only decide whether federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton abused her judicial discretion when she issued an injunction stopping parts of the law from taking effect.

Legal observers say it is highly unlikely the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will make any decision tomorrow. They will accept briefs, hear arguments from attorneys, and most likely will confer again before any decision is issued.

Goddard, meantime, spent the day on the road today, with visits to Window Rock and Kingman. In Kingman, he heard first-hand from Arizonans who live in the area near the prison from which three inmates escaped this summer. After their escape, two were allegedly involved in the murder of a couple in New Mexico. Residents talked about their continuing concerns about lack of security measures at the privately-run prison.

"We have learned even more, in the last few days, about how closely tied the Governor is to the private prison lobby - her closest advisor, who instructs her on her every move, is a contract lobbyist for private prisons. It's no wonder that, since Brewer has been in charge, private prisons have gotten just about everything they asked for, but have done little to make the prisons they run any safer," said Goddard.

The Goddard campaign will continue on the road on Monday, with stops in Flagstaff, Yuma and Tucson.


- from TG campaign

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Watch Rep Patterson ads; mail in ballot Fr; vote Tu

TUCSON -- Voters in LD29, I've worked hard for the middle class and I ask for your vote. Please watch our positive TV ads here below.

If you still have a vote by mail ballot you must mail it back by Fri. Oct 29. If you miss this mail deadline, please turn in your ballot at your regular polling place Tue. Nov 2.

If you haven't voted early, please vote at the polls Tue. Nov 2. Vote Patterson. Vote Democratic. Consider my recommendations on propositions. Thank you for voting!


Spanish version

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Does R McClung take support from racist activists?

Tucson & SoAZ don't want R.S. McCain interfering in our elections.

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Raúl Grijalva's GOP opponent, Ruth McClung, is being promoted for Congress by a former Washington Times editor and conservative blogger who has a history of promoting hate speech and skepticism about interracial marriage.

Robert Stacy McCain, who edited the Washington Times cultural page and reported for the paper from 1997 until his 2008 departure, has been promoting McClung's candidacy on his Web site with posts such as "Go, Rocket Girl, Go!" -- a reference to McClung's employment at Raytheon. McCain is well-known for extremist positions on integration, immigration and diversity, including a statement for the Web site "Reclaiming the South" opposing interracial marriage, of which he says:

“[T]he media now force interracial images into the public mind and a number of perfectly rational people react to these images with an altogether natural revulsion. The white person who does not mind transacting business with a black bank clerk may yet be averse to accepting the clerk as his sister-in-law, and THIS IS NOT RACISM, no matter what Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Washington tell us.”

In another post, McCain wrote against the civil rights work of Rev. Jesse Jackson:

“If rules were to be broken merely because they were work of white folks, then hasn’t Jackson gone a long way toward explaining the explosion of black criminality that began in the 1960s? This shows how the civil rights movement, to a great extent, represented a direct assault on tradition and law.”

McCain was a long-time member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, a group whose president has called President Obama "a domestic terrorist." McCain himself has posted extensively to known white nationalist Web sites, including American Renaissance and Overthrow.com.

“The public needs to know why a known racist is promoting Ruth McClung's candidacy and how she feels about his support,” said Pima County Democratic Party Chair Jeff Rogers. “No amount of spin can hide Mr. McCain's political and social views, nor the fact that he aggressively promotes and raises funds for Mrs. McClung's campaign.”

- adapted from PCDP

Monday, October 25, 2010

State leaders want fuel efficiency for security, air

Better fuel economy helps AZ & USA.

WASHINGTON -- Below is an open letter sent to the President today signed by me in Tucson and 71 other state officials across 32 states.

Dear President Obama: We write in support of new standards to require that new passenger cars and light trucks average at least 60 miles per gallon by 2025 with greenhouse gas emission limits of 143 grams per mile. In addition, new standards should require that fuel efficiency in long-haul trucks improve by at least 35% by 2017.

The combination of these new standards would reduce our country's oil consumption by more than 45 billion gallons per year by 2030-more than one and a half times the amount we currently import from the Persian Gulf. Making this decision now would put American ingenuity to work to reduce the country's unsustainable dependence on oil.

Achieving better gas mileage is simply the fastest, cheapest and cleanest way for America to achieve progress on critical energy objectives.

Our constituents want cleaner, more efficient cars. That is why we supported California’s efforts along with 13 other states to put in place more stringent standards. As you know, the action by these states helped to build momentum for the federal standards your administration finalized on April 1, 2010. We thank you for your leadership and urge you now to build on those initial steps.

Achieving 60 mpg by 2025 can be done applying and improving on existing technologies, such as hybrid electric cars and electric vehicles. We have learned from cell phone, microwave, and computer technology that higher sales volumes lead to dramatic improvements in innovation and lower costs. More efficient vehicles will be good for the environment while they will also save consumers money at the pump. Greater efficiency under the new standards will keep in our economy some $1 billion dollars that we currently send overseas every day. Without stronger standards, American automakers will continue to lag in the global market for the clean cars, putting ever more American manufacturing jobs at risk.

We thank you for the leadership you and your administration have already shown on vehicle standards. We urge you to take the next steps to lead America beyond oil and into a clean energy future by setting strong fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards for new cars and trucks.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Guv. M.I.A., two more debates but no Brewer

Vote Goddard for Governor

PHOENIX -- Attorney General Terry Goddard will participate in two candidate forums today, both of which were intended to be a full discussion of the issues involving all the candidates for Governor of Arizona. The problem? Jan Brewer refuses to show up.

"The media-dodging and avoiding clear discussion with the voters of Arizona has been going on for weeks," said Goddard. "There are few things more important than dealing - clearly and thoroughly - with the grave issues that face Arizona including the unbalanced budget, the lack of jobs in our state, the lack of economic development, and the dangers of private prisons. Jan Brewer appears to be hopeful that if she lays low until after the election, she will be off the hook. That is an irresponsible, ill-thought-out strategy that does a disservice to the people of Arizona."

Goddard proudly accepted invitations to debate today at 1:30 p.m. with the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and tonight at 7:30 p.m. with a large group of education-focused organizations including the Arizona School Administrators Association, the Arizona School Boards Association, the Arizona Association of School Business Officials, the Arizona Hispanic Administrators Association and others. Further information regarding both events is listed below.

Goddard added "There are many questions on the table that Jan Brewer has not answered. I will continue to talk with Arizonans statewide about the issues they care about, and will remain ready to answer any questions they may have."

The first candidate forum is today at 1:30 p.m. at the Devonshire Senior Center, 2802 East Devonshire Avenue in Phoenix and is sponsored by the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans.

The second candidate forum is tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Scottsdale Community College in the Student Life Center, 9000 East Chaparral Road. It is sponsored by several education organizations.

Help get Arizona back on the right track. Vote Goddard! Vote Democratic!

- adapted from TG campaign

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm proud to win Arizona energy & economy award

Rep. Patterson winning economic award Thursday in Tucson with Denise van den Bossche, GPEC Ambassador and 2010 Chair, US Green Building Council Central AZ

Clean energy helps AZ jobs, environment & economy.

TUCSON -- Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29), received an award today for his efforts in renewable energy from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Arizona Department of Commerce.

“It’s an honor to receive this award because working toward clean energy, a new economy and jobs is what I fight for every day when I go to the state capitol,” Patterson said. “I’m very thankful for GPEC for making this a priority and recognizing the need for Arizona to tap into this industry. I look forward to working with them.”

The award recognizes Patterson for his efforts in renewable energy, specifically his vote for SB 1403, a bill that creates a new tax incentive program with refundable income tax credits and property tax incentives for expanding or locating new renewable energy operations in Arizona.

“Thanks in part to efforts of representatives like Daniel Patterson, Arizona is poised as the nation’s leader in renewable energy and well-positioned for future growth within this vital industry,” said Denise van den Bossche, GPEC Ambassador on behalf of Hill International, Inc, and 2010 Chair, US Green Building Council Central Arizona.

- House Dems news release

AZ energy efficiency gains help economy & planet

Big energy efficiency improvements good news for Arizona & Earth

TUCSON -- As an Arizona State Representative working hard for energy solutions, I'm proud to report our state is one of the four most improved in terms of energy efficiency, according to a study released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Part of Arizona’s improvement came from implementation of $57 million received from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act aimed at weatherization.

Arizona Corporation Commission rules requiring utilities to reduce energy use by 22 percent by 2020 also made an impact. Arizona is one of 27 states to have adopted energy efficiency programs.

“It’s even better to know that these energy efficiency efforts are going to save our state’s ratepayers billions of dollars, help clean up our air, create jobs and bolster our energy security,” said Kris Mayes, ACC chairwoman, in a statement. “Make no mistake though. We aren’t going to be satisfied with 18th place. Arizona intends to lead the nation when it comes to energy efficiency.”

Read the full story from Phoenix Business Journal

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Brewer's AZ ranks 48 for bad state management

'I have did mismangement'

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- An independent analysis by financial news site 24/7 Wall St. has ranked Arizona 48th on its list of the most well-run states in the country. Arizona under Guv Jan Brewer (R) managed to not finish last, or even next-to-last. Instead, the state was third runner down, and Mississippi beat Arizona this time.

"Our writers looked at hundreds of data sets ranging from debt rating agency reports to violent crime rates, unemployment trends and median income... Arizona, showing up near the end of our rankings, suffers most severely from its poor S&P rating of AA-, which is second only to California, and the fact that between 2006 and 2009, occupied home prices dropped 20.6%. Aside from these two points the state does not have particularly low standing in any category. It ranks so low because of its poor ratings in all categories," the report cited in detail.

"Jan Brewer's failed leadership has been well-documented, but this report is an indictment of her inability to manage Arizona," said Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry Goddard. "We don't need an independent analysis to tell us that our State is facing an economic crisis and that Gov. Brewer's approach to solving it-holding a few meetings, and sprinkling out federal stimulus dollars-is a pathetic response."

"Jan Brewer has failed to balance the budget, she has failed to attract new jobs, she has failed to secure our prisons, she has devastated Arizona's tourism industry, and now she is planning even more drastic cuts to our schools," Goddard continued. "The ultimate message of this latest report is clear: Jan Brewer has failed to do the job, and it is time to elect someone who can."

Read the complete 24/7 Wall St. report on management of the 50 states here.

- adapted from TG campaign

Monday, October 11, 2010

NYT covers my work to guard AZ safety & property

Reform 'open range' to protect public safety & private property

by Marc Lacey, New York Times

PHOENIX -- They have startled the residents of Ahwatukee, a bedroom community in southern Phoenix. They have tramped on lawns and damaged vehicles in Rio Rancho, a neighborhood of tract homes outside Albuquerque. A Border Patrol agent lost his life crashing into one of them near the Mexican border in Texas.

Free-range cattle roam widely across the West, protected by centuries-old laws that give them the right of way while grazing and force landowners to fence them out. But as urban sprawl has extended into what used to be seemingly endless pasture land, cow-friendly open range laws are under fresh scrutiny, criticized as anachronistic throwbacks to the Wild West days before Interstate highways and tract homes.

“People have been killed in collisions with large cows,” said Daniel Patterson, an Arizona state representative from Tucson who is pushing to scale back the rights given cows and their owners in his state. “We need to get rid of this antiquated law from the 19th century. It’s important for ranchers and other livestock owners to keep their cattle where they belong.”

Mr. Patterson’s bill pushing for an end to Arizona’s open range law has encountered resistance from the influential Arizona Cattlemen’s Association and has yet to gain traction. But by introducing it, Mr. Patterson said he had heard from many Arizonans who have had unpleasant bovine encounters.

There was the woman from Cochise County in southeastern Arizona who came home to find a bull lying on her lawn. When she honked her horn to get it to move along, it charged the car. Later, the bull tore down a fence, jumped into a garden and grazed on everything green.

“For this kind of nuisance to take place and even unnerve my wife from being able to get out of the car and into our house is preposterous,” the woman’s husband, David Moreno, wrote to Mr. Patterson.

A man from the border city of Douglas, Victor Eastridge, has had cows come up onto his front porch, knocking down everything in their path. He said he has 40 acres of land and has put up fencing, but the aggressive animals still manage to force their way onto his property.

“I am sure there was a time when this law made sense, but today it does nothing except benefit the rancher at the expense of me and my neighbors and other citizens around the state,” Mr. Eastridge said.

Eliminating the law would put undo hardship on ranchers, industry officials say. “We live by the policy of good neighbors,” said Patrick Bray, executive director of the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association. “Ranchers try to maintain their fences as best they can. But it takes a lot of work, and cattle have a mind of their own. To put the liability on the ranchers if an animal gets out would be devastating to our industry.”

Still, the irritation that roaming cows sometimes cause is real.

Jerald Duke, who grew up on a ranch in rural New Mexico but now lives in a neat residential neighborhood northwest of Albuquerque, said he and his wife, Nancy, have awoken to mooing and seen cows munching on their tiny front yard. “They make a mess in the grass,” he said. “We’ve had to chase them away.”

To get to Soothing Meadows Drive, where the Dukes live in a community surrounded by walls, the cows cross a cattle guard in the road, which is supposed to keep them out. On a recent afternoon, there were 15 cows grazing in the scrub brush a short walk from the Dukes’ home and large piles of dung ringing the neighborhood playground. “I think animals of any nature should be contained,” Mr. Duke said. “It’s like if I let my dog roam all over the neighborhood.”

Laws throughout the West are already less cow-friendly than they were generations ago. Some states, like California, have open-range policies in only some rural areas. In Arizona, cows are restricted in incorporated areas, which reduces conflicts in cities but not necessarily in outer suburbs that bump up with ranch land.

In southern Phoenix, a heifer made headlines over the summer by breaking out of a fenced-in ranch and escaping onto the South Mountain Preserve, where it roamed free for two months before some real-life cowboys hired by its owner managed to bring it in. Under state law, it was the owner’s responsibility and not the city’s to catch the runaway animal. Bryant Rockwood, a Phoenix police sergeant, told The Arizona Republic: “We could put a rope on it but then what would we do? We don’t have any place to take it.”

In a well-known incident from 2003, an Arizona man was arrested in the shooting a cow that had wandered onto his property east of Flagstaff. The recent death of the man, Kent Knudson, revived talk of his case.

On roadways in open-range states, ranchers are not liable for cow-car collisions if they show they tried to keep their cattle on their land. The industry says it is not as though the highways have become bovine obstacle courses. “The chances of hitting wildlife are probably higher than hitting livestock,” said Mr. Bray of the Arizona ranchers group, whose family owns more than 250 head of cattle.

But accidents do occur.

Paul Forbes, an iron worker from outside Albuquerque, struck what he thought was a cow while driving his sister’s pickup. A police officer who investigated could find no injured animal nearby but determined that it was probably a cow from the nearby Kings Ranch that caused the accident. “After examining the damage on the front of the vehicle, I did observe some black cow hair, consistent with Mr. Forbes’s statement,” the report said.

Border Patrol agents are on the lookout for cattle while patrolling for illegal immigrants along the Southwest border. In May, a Border Patrol agent was killed after his vehicle hit a bull on U.S. Route 281 in South Texas late one night. It was the second such fatality, following the death of an agent whose vehicle struck a cow on Arizona 86 west of Tucson four years ago. Last month, another Border Patrol vehicle struck a cow in southern Arizona, although there were no injuries reported.

“A big black steer in the middle of the road in rural Arizona, you’re not going to see it,” said Mr. Patterson, the Arizona legislator. “Under open range, it’s your fault. There have been cases where the survivors have to pay not only for a funeral but for the dead cow.”

Tough divorce, but I'm still here working for good

TUCSON -- My wife and I have agreed to get a divorce. This is a hard time for me and my family.

Sadly, there are some rumors around that have no merit. Don't believe the hype.

I have always supported my family, I still do and I will continue to.

Divorce is a difficult private personal family matter and I am asking people to please respect that.

Sep 29, 2010

Goddard v. Brewer race tight, vote Dem today

AZCOPS endorse Goddard, and me.

TUCSON -- A new Rocky Mountain Poll released today indicated that Jan Brewer's lead over Terry Goddard has narrowed to only 3 points among all voters.

More than one in five voters (21 percent) remain undecided.

The poll is good news for Goddard, who gained 10 points in the survey between July and October. Brewer lost 7 points during that time as Goddard's campaign began earnest.

Other findings from the poll:
  • Goddard is leading Brewer in Pima County, where he is from, 46-29.
  • 17 percent of self-identified Republicans are supporting Goddard.
  • Goddard leads Brewer among women, 43-31.
  • Goddard leads Brewer among Hispanics, 60-13. But 19 percent of Hispanics are undecided.

The poll was based on telephone interviews with 555 voters statewide. It was conducted between Oct. 1 and Oct. 10 and has a margin of error of 4.2 percent.

Vote today in person, or by mail. Get on the permanent early voter list (PEVL).

- adapted from AZR

Friday, October 08, 2010

Feds again wrongly delay release of wolf pack in AZ

Not enough change from Obama's Interior Dept. on wolves.

TUCSON -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today again delayed releasing a pack of eight wolves — badly needed to bolster the dwindling number of Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest — into the Arizona wild. The Engineer Springs pack would infuse new genetics into a wolf population suffering from inbreeding.

The decision is a capitulation to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, which has held up release of these wolves throughout 2010 and meanwhile has demanded resumption of federal trapping and shooting of wolves that prey on livestock.

“Continuing to postpone this wolf family’s release casts fresh doubts on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s commitment to recovering this highly endangered and iconic animal of the Southwest,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The delay announced today demonstrates that the Arizona Game and Fish Department, working at the behest of the livestock industry, still wields veto power over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and trumps the views of scientists.”

In December 2009, the Center and other conservation groups settled a lawsuit with Fish and Wildlife in which the federal agency acknowledged that a consortium of agencies led by Arizona Game and Fish had no authority over the federal reintroduction program.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service should honor its settlement agreement and make decisions based on what scientists think is best for this wolf population, not the political resistance of Arizona Game and Fish,” said Robinson.

The Mexican wolf population has declined or stayed stagnant for four years. Just 42 animals were counted in the wild in a survey in January, which was a 19-percent decline from the year before. A new count will be conducted in January 2011.

Only one Mexican wolf has been released into the wild from the captive-breeding program, without having previously been removed from the wild, over the past four years. That was in November 2008.

- from CBD

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Brewer's secret budget would crush AZ schools

Vote Goddard to help Arizona schools.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Arizona's budget is wildly out of control and Jan Brewer is trying to balance it on the backs of Arizona's children. At a news conference today, Attorney General and candidate for Governor Terry Goddard painted a stark picture of the harm Brewer and Republicans will do to schools if elected.

"The current budget shortfall is $825 million," said Goddard. "Brewer's failure to balance the budget has put our state in crisis. She doesn't want to talk about it, but she intends to make additional massive cuts to education. The evidence is there in the budget she signed last Spring."

Goddard referred to the budget,
HB 2001. That bill contains the full list of cuts that would have been enacted had the sales tax increase failed and the State had to close an $800 million budget defect. That list of cuts makes it very clear what Brewer will do when she is finally forced to balance the budget. Among the cuts listed:

• $428 million to the Department of Education
• $100 million from the School Facilities Board
• $107 million from Universities
• $13 million from Community Colleges

• $2 million from the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind


A total of $550 million more in cuts to education in Arizona.

"The effect of this next round of cuts will be horrible. Class sizes will jump, with another six to ten students in every classroom," said Goddard. "University students will pay $1000 more every semester in increased tuition. Brewer has already admitted that she has cut education to the bone. To cut it further - and still claim to support education - is cynical, hypocritical and wrong."

"This is a huge difference between Jan Brewer and me. She has made massive cuts to public schools and intends to make far more. I believe Arizona schools have already been harmed too much. We must draw the line against further destruction. We must stop trying balancing the budget on the backs of our school children. We must start restoring our public schools. I will never be satisfied with Arizona schools at the bottom nationally."

Goddard urged the media to ask the Governor to defend her plans. "She refuses to debate, so I can't ask her. She must be held accountable to explain her plans and not continue to duck and hide until after the election."

- adapted from TG campaign

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Election 2010 is on! Vote early in AZ starting Thu.

TUCSON -- Early voting starts tomorrow in Arizona, and I ask for your vote for State Representative in LD29 (downtown, DMAFB, South Tucson, south & southeast sides). Watch our new ads.

Also here are my voting recommendations on some Arizona propositions:

NO on Props 106, 107, 111, 113, 301, 302

YES on Prop 110, 203

Keep an eye here until Nov 2 election day for more election coverage.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Brewer & GOP hurt kids with cuts to health, schools

'No plan' Jan and Rs have axed children's healthcare & schools

TUCSON -- Jan Brewer has never hesitated to attack the welfare of our children. Today, in a stunning display of hypocrisy, she offers only lip service to declare this 'Arizona's Child Health Day.' Yet, her cuts to children's healthcare and education are the meanest and most devastating Arizona has ever experienced.

"At the beginning of this year, Jan Brewer tossed tens of thousands of children off of Arizona's KidsCare health insurance," said Attorney General Terry Goddard. "Her cuts to education, so far, are more than one billion dollars. Now, she is trying to destroy First Things First, our program for early education, which we know is the most effective way to help kids succeed in school."

"Arizona children are forced to suffer for her horrible budget management," added Goddard.

Here is a partial list of the budget damage Jan Brewer has done to children and families:
  • Tens of thousands of children removed from the AHCCCS KidsCare program.
  • New enrollment in KidsCare remains frozen.
  • State support for community health care centers has been wiped out, cutting off programs for the very poor.
  • 4,200 children have lost behavioral health services.
  • 20,000 poor children removed from the list for child-care subsidies.
  • Severe cuts to in-home services, forcing more children into foster care.
  • 300 developmentally disabled children have been cut off from state service.
  • 850 severely ill children removed from Children's Rehabilitative Services.
  • Substance abuse treatment denied to parents, putting a large number of children at further risk.
  • Support for grandparents caring for grandchildren has been eliminated.
  • CPS is no longer required to investigate all cases of child abuse.
In November, if voters pass Proposition 302, they will destroy the voter-approved program that funds early education in Arizona (First Things First).

"The debate on early education is over," said Goddard. "There is no question that the best way to improve educational outcomes is to ensure - through early education - that children are ready to learn before they enter the first grade. Jan Brewer is willing to sacrifice early childhood support and everything that goes with it - better test scores, higher graduation rates, and a better-trained work force."

"Rather than doing the hard work necessary to balance the budget - without this kind of damage to children - she is giving in to her lobbyist handlers and letting them call the most painful shots."

- adapted from TG campaign

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Wall St. Journal calls out Brewer as 'debate ducker'

Vote for Terry Goddard for Governor

TUCSON -- The Wall Street Journal has a new article you must see, and the headline says it all: Year of the Debate Ducker.

It's a quick read, and it underscores what people have been saying all along: that 'no plan' Jan Brewer's lobbyist handlers are telling her to hold a low profile, stay out of debates and avoid reporters as much as possible.

An excerpt: 'Ms. Brewer's arrogant attitude towards explaining and defending her tenure in office... Arizonans have every reason to be disappointed.'

She ventured out briefly Friday, and it didn't go well. Reporters asked her about the budget, cuts to AHCCCS, and more. After several minutes of stumbling, her press secretary pulled her to safety.

This is not what we want in a governor.

Monday is the last day to register to vote in the Nov 2 election. Be sure to register
and vote Goddard, vote Patterson and vote Democratic to get Arizona back on the right track.

- adapted from TG campaign

Friday, October 01, 2010

Real 'death panel' is AZ GOP legislature & Brewer

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Health care cuts by callous legislative Republicans and Guv Jan Brewer (R) will soon be killing people. Watch the shocking report below from NBC 12 news.

I fought and voted against these heartless cuts and I'm on your side to get Arizona back on the right track. My GOP opponent would serve greedy Phoenix political bosses, further gutting health care and schools, ignoring the middle class and hurting our economy and quality of life.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Menendez immigration bill serious step forward

Senator Menendez

WASHINGTON -- Yesterday, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the United States Senate.

"We commend Senator Menendez for his strong leadership and we look forward to working with him and others on this legislation. It is a serious proposal that contains many of the common sense ideas we have espoused for years. The DREAM Act, and AgJOBS, two provisions critical to reform, are contained in their entirety in Menendez’s legislation," said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum and Chair of the Reform Immigration FOR America Campaign.

Senator Menendez’s legislation is a tough, fair, and practical solution that will:

-- Create millions of new taxpayers by requiring undocumented immigrants to register, go through background checks, pay taxes, and study English on their way to becoming full U.S. citizens. This pathway to earned legalization would honor the hard work of immigrants and our tradition as a nation of laws.

-- Enhance our national security by focusing our enforcement and security measures on the most dangerous threats to America.

-- Protect and respect workers and help economic recovery.

-- Promote and respect families by keeping spouses together and children with their parents.

-- Protect the due process rights of all.

Reform Immigration FOR America is ready to work with serious leaders in both parties who want to work together to improve this legislation. Our national immigration crisis is severe. Without comprehensive reform, we will perpetuate a system that abuses American and immigrant workers, needlessly tears families apart, wastes billions of tax dollars so that politicians can sound tough, stifles economic growth, and contributes to the loss of American brain and economic power to foreign competitors.

The voters, and especially Latino voters, are paying attention to how politicians engage on this issue. Poll after poll has indicated that this has become a litmus test issue for this demographic, and every demographic of the electorate want their elected leaders to solve tough national problems. For too long, the Republican Party has tried to have it both ways on immigration reform. They have complained that the problem needs a comprehensive federal solution, while simultaneously refusing to allow federal legislation to move forward. Instead of playing politics with immigration reform as they have for the past two years, they should engage in good faith negotiations with Democratic leadership to improve this bill and finally solve this problem for the American people. This is a national priority.

We can’t wait any longer to fix our broken immigration system. Americans want their leaders to find realistic solutions to our broken system that restore the rule of law and uphold our best values: liberty, opportunity, and fairness for all. This bill is the first step in that direction and it is time for the Senate to act. We’ll be working with Senators from both sides of the aisle who are serious about fixing this problem and who will help us engineer the coalition that gets us to 60 votes on any of these measures.

- adapted from RFIA

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gov Richardson to Obama on hemisphere relations

Advice to Obama for better relations with Latin America.

by Bill Richardson
Governor of New Mexico

SANTA FE -- Arizona's attempt to create and enforce its own immigration policy has once again amplified -- and politicized -- the immigration debate in this country. Unfortunately, the anti-immigrant push in Arizona has also further alienated our neighbors throughout Latin America who had been hoping for better relations with the United States after the election of President Obama.

Rather than throw our hands up, I believe we have an opportunity to take bold action and engage with our neighbors throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Latin America has, perhaps, the greatest impact, in terms of trade and culture, on the daily lives of most Americans. The U.S. exports more than $219 billion annually to Latin America -- three times more than our exports to China. Hispanics now represent America's biggest ethnic and most sought after voting block. And nearly every country in the region -- 34 out of 35 -- now has democratically elected governments.

The time is right to leverage our existing trade and partnerships, and advance a more meaningful and collaborative relationship with our neighbors to the south.

Here are five suggestions the Obama Administration should consider:

First, we must aggressively lobby the U.S. Congress for a comprehensive immigration law that includes increased border security, cracking down on illegal hires, and an accountable path to legalization that requires the 11 million immigrants here illegally to learn English, pass a back ground check pay a fine for being here illegally, and get behind those trying to get in here legally. We must remember that not all illegal immigrants come from Mexico -- they also come from Central and South America and the Caribbean. This is not just an issue with Mexico; it is a hemispheric issue.

Second, we need to change our policy toward Cuba. As a first step, the President should issue an Executive Order to lift as much of the travel ban as possible for all Americans. The travel ban penalizes American businesses, lowers our credibility in Latin America, and fuels anti-US propaganda. Such an Executive Order would also be a reciprocal gesture for Cuba's recent release of political dissidents negotiated by the Catholic Church, the Spanish Government, and President Raul Castro. President Obama has taken significant steps to loosen restrictions on family travel, remove limits for remittance and expand other areas of cooperation. An Executive Order loosening travel restriction is in America's interests and would be a bold move toward normalization of relations.

Third, let's embark on a new Alliance of Progress with Latin America and the Caribbean, modeled on President Kennedy's vision for the hemisphere. It should not be a one-sided alliance preconceived on economic expansion of U.S. markets, nor an agreement that imposes an American solution. We need a new partnership in which we close the gap between the haves and have-nots by addressing both human and economic needs and giving more priority to the indigenous people of this hemisphere.

We need a hemispheric agenda that includes and emphasizes solutions to energy demands and climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean. Perhaps we need a hemispheric agreement on renewable energy that provides the technical know-how for the Americas and dramatically expands the biofuel agreement with Brazil. We also need to move quickly toward a real carbon trading system -- rewarding countries that protect their forests.

Fourth, we should continue to seek trade agreements that are free and fair and contain strong labor, environmental, and human-rights standards. Pending trade agreements with Columbia and Panama should be approved by Congress and once again establish the U.S. as a reliable trading partner. Additionally, the Obama Administration should seek a hemispheric agreement on common labor, environmental, and human rights standards. This would be a bold move that would promote our interests and image in the region.

Finally, we need a hemispheric accord on crime and violence. In New Mexico, we are working with law enforcement at every level and on both sides of the border with Mexico to share intelligence and stop the illicit trade of narcotics, illegal guns and human trafficking. This is a trans-national issue that involves a coordinated effort to protect the safety of law-abiding citizens.

While the immigration debate rages within our borders, we must not allow it to distract from our responsibility to engage with our neighbors in Latin America and the Caribbean. We should make better hemispheric relations a foreign policy priority, not an afterthought.