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CVNM Accomplishments

CVNM is a nonprofit that works to build the political clout of the environmental community in New Mexico. We’ve been very busy here at CVNM and we our proud to share with you some of our accomplishments over the last several years. We couldn’t have done it without the help of our supporters like you!

2012 General Elections:

Of the 33 legislative races in which CVNM made endorsements, 22 of those candidates prevailed and will be representing your environmental values in the New Mexico Legislature.
SD 14: Sen. Michael Padilla
SD 15: Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto
SD 17: Sen. Timothy Keller
SD 29: Sen. Michael Sanchez
SD 31: Sen. Joseph Cervantes
SD 37: Sen. William Soules
House of Representatives
HD 13: Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero
HD 14: Rep. Miguel Garcia
HD 15: Rep. Emily Kane
HD 18: Rep. Gail Chasey
HD 24: Rep. Elizabeth Thomson
HD 25: Rep. Christine Trujillo
HD 26: Rep. Georgene Louis
HD 33: Rep. Bill McCamley
HD 35: Rep. Jeff Steinborn
HD 36: Rep. Phillip Archuleta
HD 39: Rep. Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez
HD 43: Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard
HD 48: Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela
HD 50: Rep. Stephen Easley
HD 52: Rep. Doreen Gallegos
HD 53: Rep. Nate Cote
The conservation community had a great election night! Conservation Voters across the state came out and denied big oil the agenda they spent millions attempting to achieve.
CVNM’s Verde Voters PAC made over 212,000 voter contacts by going door to door, phoning, and mailing voters. We were outspent approximately 6 to 1 by a big oil super PAC — which drew much of its support from big, out of state oil and gas companies. Yet, we prevailed in helping to re-elect Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez — our top priority race — and continuing to build a conservation majority in the New Mexico State House.
Verde Voters PAC also ran its first PAC TV ad in Senate District 29. In House District 43 where we endorsed Stephanie Garcia Richard, Verde Voters PAC knocked on over 8,600 doors in Los Alamos, Santa Fe and rural Sandoval County in a race won by just 309 votes.
Of the 33 legislative races in which CVNM made endorsements, 22 of those candidates prevailed and will be representing your environmental values in the New Mexico Legislature.
*CVNM does not endorse in uncontested races. For more information on our endorsement process, please click here.

2012 Primary Elections

Entering the 2012 primary elections, CVNM’s top priorities were to defeat the decidedly anti-environmental Chair and Vice-Chair of Senate Conservation Committee. The Chair is Sen. Bernadette Sanchez, a Democrat from the west side of Albuquerque, who has a lifetime CVNM score of 59%. Her Vice-Chair is Sen. David Ulibarri, a Democrat from Grants, who has a lifetime score of 48%.
We worked hard to help recruit high-caliber challengers in both races, and we succeeded. Jacob Candelaria, a brilliant young Princeton graduate and native New Mexican, filed to run against Sen. Sanchez in SD26. Maxine Velasquez, a talented attorney from Laguna Pueblo, joined another candidate in challenging Sen. Ulibarri.
In the end, facing a very strong opponent in Jacob Candelaria, Sen. Sanchez opted to withdraw from the race. We are now guaranteed a new Chair of Senate Conservation Committee; hopefully, that individual will be committed to protecting the public health and natural resources of our Land of Enchantment.
With Bernadette Sanchez out of the race, CVNM focused our attention on defeating Vice-Chair Ulibarri and Sen. Phil Griego, another member of the Senate Conservation Committee whose voting record on environmental issues has worsened dramatically over the years. CVNM was proud to back former Santa Fe County Commissioner Jack Sullivan in his race against Sen. Griego.
Our political action committee, CVNM Action Fund, conducted research and polling in both races. We contacted 10,553 strategically-targeted voters in each district to educate them on the environmental voting records of the incumbents. In the end, we distributed more than 45,000 copies of 11 different mail pieces, had 3,551 phone conversations with voters in both districts, and played radio ads in Grants for the race against Sen. Ulibarri.
Come election night, we are proud to report that Sen. Ulibarri was soundly defeated. He came in third in a tough three-way race. Unfortunately, Maxine Velasquez lost to the third candidate by a mere 11 votes, and Jack Sullivan was unsuccessful in his race despite his incredibly hard work and dedication.
We will work hard to ensure that they provide better protection for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land where we live and play.

2012 Legislative Session

For the 8th year in a row, CVNM successfully defeated every anti-environmental bill in the state legislature during the 2012 short session!

2011 Legislative Session

In the 2011 Legislative Session, CVNM maintained its record of defeating 100% of anti-conservation bills, making 2011 the 7th consecutive year of defeating all environmental rollbacks. CVNM lobbied on over 100 bills and helped to defeat more than 60 measures that would have:

  • reduced public access to important hearing notices and permit applications (SB 147);
  • placed insurmountable obstacles in the path of cultural and historical site designations (HB 422, SB 421);
  • reversed or gutted existing environmental safeguards (HB 69, HB 225/SB 249, HB 276, HB 396, HB 409, HB 546, HB 579, SB 91, SB 190, SB 459, SB 489, HJR 3, SJR 3); gutted endangered species protections (HB 543, HB 567/SB 565);
  • incentivized reallocation of water, instead of conservation (SB 394); and merged critical agencies and departments in ways that would have inevitably undermined public and environmental health and safety (HB 80, HB 84, HB 157, HB 206).

CVNM also was able to help to preserve $5 million in funding for land conservation and river restoration projects in a capital outlay bill. Several pro-conservation measures also passed, including measures that:

  • encourage investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy (SB 237; SB 266);
  • improve safety of cyclists on New Mexico roads (SB 124); and
  • help keep highly toxic mercury out of our waste water (SB 12).

Unfortunately, none of those measures were signed into law by Governor Martinez.

2010 Legislative Session

In the 2010 Legislative Session, CVNM helped to pass pro-conservation bills that:

  • Establishes a fund for projects that restore and protect our water quality, forests, wildlife habitat, and working farms and ranches (SB186).
  • Encourage energy-efficient and sustainable design of schools and other public buildings (SB200 & SB84),
  • Urges U.S. Congress to support comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation (HM54),
  • Provide protection to public employees who expose unlawful acts by employers (HB175)
  • Promote investment in clean, renewable energy (HB197), and
  • Increase the transparency of the legislative process and government operations (SB195, HR1 & HR3).

CVNM also worked to defeat 100% of anti-conservation, including some that would have:

  • Perpetuated dangerous myths about wolves and the impacts of the wolf reintroduction program (HJM48),
  • Stripped the Water Quality Control Commission of any semblance of balance, putting our precious water resources at risk (SB131),
  • Threatened our communities’ groundwater by rescindingthe rules governing the disposal of toxic wastes from oil and gas operations (HB192),
  • Falsely defined nuclear energy as a clean and renewable energy source, like wind and solar (HJM41, HM53, SJM38), and
  • Aggravated the impacts of unlawful off-highway vehicle (OHV) use on habitat and recreation, by diverting critical funding from enforcement (HJM32, SJM31, & SJM56).

2010 Elections and Endorsements

In March, Santa Fe held it’s city council and mayoral elections, and two of CVNM’s endorsed candidates, Mayor David Coss and City Councilor Chris Calvert (District 1), were re-elected.

2009 Legislative Session

Another New Mexico state legislative session is finished and, like most, the 2009 session featured both periods of frustration and moments of triumph for environmental protection.
With CVNM leading the charge for the environmental community, the legislature passed several remarkable pro-environment bills that:
protect deep groundwater from unregulated exploitation (HB19),

  • limit the ability of cities to condemn water rights to feed urban sprawl (HB40),
  • improve consultation with tribal governments on proposed real estate subdivisions that border or affect cultural or natural resources (HB37),
  • increase the state’s ability to regulate ozone emissions (HB195),
  • impose additional regulation and enforcement on the use of Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) in parks and on private property (SB379),
  • enhance the state’s ability to generate ‘green jobs’ and train qualified personnel (HB622, SB288, SB318),
  • expand tax credits for renewable energy investments (SB237, SB257), and
  • provide financing mechanisms for individuals and businesses to make cost-effective investments in solar and other renewable energy technologies (HB572, SB647).

Final CVNM Score:

  • 130 bills and measures tracked for which CVNM provided testimony, served as a resource in committee and/or met one-on-one with legislators;
  • 24 pro-environment bills passed;
  • 100% anti-environment bills defeated or vetoed (5th year in a row!);
  • more than 2,700 phone calls made by CVNM activists and constituents during the session to key legislators.

2009 Elections and Endorsements

Two of our endorsed candidates for the Board of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District won their races in June. Adrian Oglesby is a water attorney and long-time conservaton advocate currently employed by The Nature Conservancy. Derrick Lente is an attorney and former water rights and environmental resources manager for Sandia Pueblo.
With your continued help and support, CVNM will remain vigilant and hold our elected officials accountable for their environmental votes.

2008 Legislative Session

The 2008 New Mexico State Legislative Session was a challenging yet successful one for CVNM. Our efforts were aided by our new legislative tracking/action website,, which proved itself an outstanding public tool.

In the 2008 Legislative Session:

  • We defended successfully against an onslaught of attempted regulatory rollbacks and budget cuts seeking to hamstring environmental protection agencies from doing their jobs. These included an attempt to cut six full-time lawyer positions in the Environment Department and Oil Conservation Division. Through hard work and coordination with our allies to lobby against these bills, the Senate Finance Committee reinstated the environmental attorneys into the budget and none of the rollback legislation made it through the legislative process.
  • CVNM defeated HB276(Silva). The bill would have created a “Tax Increment Development District” for developer giant SunCal, owner of 55,000 acres of vacant land on Albuquerque’s Westside, and would have diverted $629 million of New Mexico taxpayer revenues over a 30 year commitment to SunCal. A small group of heroic, pro-conservation Senators, including Senator Cisco McSorley, Senator John Grubesic, Senator Cynthia Nava and Senator Dede Feldman asked crucial questions during the closing minutes of the session and the clock ran out.
  • SB487, sponsored by Senator David Ulibarri and disguised as a uranium clean up bill, was passed by the Senate in the final five minutes of the session. The bill would have inappropriately linked an inadequate amount of funding for cleanup of old mines to issue new permits for uranium mining and would have let the original polluters off the hook for the cost of cleanup. After the bill passed, CVNM assisted the lead organizations on the legislation, including the Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining and the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, to organize widespread demand for Governor Richardson to veto the legislation. On March 3rd, 2008, he did just that, stating in his veto message to the State Senate: “in short, the state deserves better.”
  • Some additional victories at the 2008 legislative session included the passage and signing of HB305, the “Efficient Use of Energy Act” sponsored by Speaker Ben Lujan. The bill requires electric utilities to meet 10% of their energy demand with energy efficiency by 2020 instead of building new power plants. Also funding within the signed budget included $2.2 million for the River Ecosystem Restoration Initiative, $2 million for land and wildlife projects, and $2.5 million for weatherization assistance.

2008 Elections

Conservation Voters New Mexico Action Fund had many outstanding successes on Election Day, November 4, 2008! 17 out of 20 CVNM-endorsed candidates won their elections
Of our endorsed candidates, the 2008 winners were: Senate District 9: John Sapien (D); Senate District 15: Tim Eichenberg (D); Senate District 19: Sue Wilson Beffort (R); Senate District 36: Mary Jane Garcia (D); Senate District 37: Steve Fischmann (D); House District 8: Elias Barela (D); House District 14: Miguel Garcia (D); House District 15: Bill O’Neill (D); House District 21: Mimi Stewart (D); House District 22: Kathy McCoy (R); House District 23: Ben Rodefer (D); House District 26: Al Park (D); House District 35: Antonio Lujan (D); House District 37: Jeff Steinborn (D); House District 53: Nate Cote (D); House District 60: Jack Thomas (D); and Public Regulation Commission District 1: Jason Marks (D).
Combined with wins from the primary, we are proud to have replaced a total of five anti-environment incumbents with pro-environment champions to the State Senate and several new pro-environment leaders to the State House.

Holding Legislators Accountable

CVNM published the 2008 Legislative Scorecard, our annual report of the votes your legislators cast on key environmental bills at the NM Legislature. In 2008, five senators and one representative proved faithful allies to the environmental agenda with scores of 100%! An additional two senators and ten representatives earned scores of 85% or higher.

CVNM Accomplishments in 2007

Endorsing & Electing Pro-Conservation Candidates

  • CVNM Action Fund is the only conservation organization in the state that engages in elections by raising and spending “PAC” dollars to get pro-conservation candidates elected.
  • 100% of CVNM-endorsed municipal candidates won their races in Albuquerque and Las Cruces in 2007. Incumbent Albuquerque City Councilor Debbie O’Malley defeated Katherine Martinez in City Council District 2 and Rey Garduno defeated three other candidates to become Councilor in Albuquerque City Council District 6. In Las Cruces, City Councilor Ken Miyagishima became Mayor through defeating incumbent Mayor Bill Mattiace and Nathan Small defeated two other opponents to become Councilor of Las Cruces City Council District 4.

Holding Legislators Accountable

Every year, CVNM publishes our Legislative Scorecard, our annual report of the votes your legislators cast on key environmental bills at the NM Legislature. The Scorecard shines a light on the important environmental decisions made every session in Santa Fe and allows you to know whether your environmental values are being represented, or not, at the Roundhouse. Please take a look at our 2007 Legislative Scorecard!

Lobbying the NM Legislature

  • In 2007 at the NM Legislature, we passed 23 great, pro-environment bills, including Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards, Power Plant Mercury Emission controls, and the Sustainable Building Tax Credit;
  • CVNM serves as the only full-time environmental lobbyist at the New Mexico legislature working to block the worst anti-conservation bills; For two years in a row, CVNM has defeated 100% of the “bad” anti-conservation bills;
  • CVNM led the charge to defeat the “Desert Rock” dirty coal plant tax subsidy. The bill sought to provide $85 million in tax subsidies to a pulverized coal plant on the Navajo Nation.
  • CVNM successfully called for a veto by Governor Richardson of almost $1 million in the budget slated for Gila river “development”—by achieving this veto, we helped protect the Gila River, the last free-flowing river in NM.