Agreeing w/ Rep. Mimi Stewart

Astute readers of this blog will note that we at the Rio Grande Foundation are consistent advocates for limited government. Sometimes, this means agreeing with folks that we have deep philosophical differences with on a wide variety of policy issues. One of those people would be liberal Rep. Mimi Stewart. Well, as this report from Capitol Report’s Rob Nikolewski today is one of those days for strange bedfellows.

Stewart has sponsored HB 644 which, as Nikolewski noted:

Calls for members of the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) and the Educational Retirement Board (ERB) who have less than five years’ service to work longer terms before becoming eligible for retirement in order for the PERA and ERB pension plans to become actuarially solvent.

Uniformed public employees — such as police officers and firefighters — are exempt from the changes.

The bill also calls for adjustments in the PERA cost of living adjustments — ending the current system in which PERA retirees receive a 3 percent annual cost of living raise and instead would tie the cost of living adjustment to the Consumer Price Index.

A former public school teacher, Stewart said unless something is done to the current pension plans, taxpayers could be on the hook for $1.2 billion in order to keep the plans solvent.

While I’d like to see more, deeper changes to New Mexico’s pension system, the fact is that Stewart’s bill was an important start. Thus the hostile reaction from AFSCME lobbyist Carter Bundy as discussed in the article.

Both House votes have been posted online with the first vote and second vote. Notably, several Republicans changed their votes to achieve passage in the second vote.

With time running out in the session, it is hard to say what (if anything) will happen in the Senate.

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16 Replies to “Agreeing w/ Rep. Mimi Stewart”

  1. Mimi Stewart, (D-21) barely won her election this last cycle by getting poll volunteers of the opposition thrown off APS schools. She knows that unless she starts to appease the taxpayers she is out. Sorry, but last minute convenient “flip flopping” to save her job doesn’t justify any positive press after almost 20 years of consistent “tax & spend” actions/philosophy. If the Rio Grande Foundation wants to make a “real” difference then call it as it is. Don’t put a affirmative spin where it isn’t due, if you want to keep your credibility with conservatives.

  2. Mimi Stewart, (D-21) barely won her election this last cycle by getting poll volunteers of the opposition thrown off APS schools. She knows that unless she starts to appease the taxpayers she is out. Sorry, but last minute convenient “flip flopping” to save her job doesn’t justify any positive press after almost 20 years of consistent “tax & spend” actions/philosophy. If the Rio Grande Foundation wants to make a “real” difference then call it as it is. Don’t put an affirmative spin where it isn’t due, if you want to keep your credibility with conservatives.

    1. Howard, I am NOT a fan of Mimi Stewart, but on this issue, regardless of the reason, she is attempting to move things in the right direct. It is a bit of a man-bites-dog story, but I think it is worth reporting.

  3. Sorry, Paul but the RGF. is just playing right into her hands. She would love for conservatives to believe that she is “turning a new leaf”. Look at the reaction and press you gave her. Nothing could be further from the truth. Questioning here motives now would still be an “accurate” telling of the story. You can show that if conservatives keep being consistent and go out and vote even the most liberal of politicians will attempt to camouflage their “true colors”. That is the real story. We need to vote them out. Because when we loosen up the scrutiny they just go back to their “true nature”. I think you played right into her hands by not showing all the consistent past votes and proposed bills she has made to “increase taxes”. She is not making a philosophical change she is only being “crafty” at attempting to keep her office. Don’t be deceived. This is a classic ploy by the left to stay in office at taxpayer expense. Who knows maybe she got into a power struggle with AFSCME and is only flexing her political will to get her way on another issues. It happens all the time. She might be willing to sacrifice new PERA members for the sake of staying in good with the “ole guard”. Yep.. I think so… Aw come on Paul. I think you are being a little naive on this one. We don’t need her vote. We need her replaced.

  4. I agree with Howard. Many liberal democrats that feel they are in jeopardy of losing their seat often make a token move to the right or center to get the votes of the independents and then as soon as the election is over they go right back to their wacky left wing socialists ways. This is the oldest trick in the book. Look at the voting record for a real look at what a politician is all about. It doesn’t matter one bit what they say, what counts is how they vote. Beware of wolves in sheeps clothing.

      1. Again, I don’t like what Mimi Stewart stands for, but when she’s doing the right thing, we need to recognize that. It is the job of RGF to promote good policy. It is up to the Republican Party to get their candidates elected.

  5. Thanks Paul. Good candidates come from “good policy” I hope you would consider one of RGF’s policies is: to tell the “whole story” that includes possible motivations of politicians. It is not only interesting reading but insightful for uninformed voters as the the “inner workings” of the process. I would hope the RGF can continue to be an instrument for “education” of voters. Doing the “right thing” for the “wrong” motives shouldn’t equal “good press”. People look to the RGF for insight. Mimi Stewart can actually use your article for deceptive campaign purposes to paint herself a friend to independents & moderates. She can use your article to help defeat “good policy” candidates that adhere to RGF espoused principles, “all the time” and for the right motives. This is not a Republican issue, it is a “taxpayer” issue and she is not their friend. What if someone stole money from your household over and over again and then decides to give some of that money back. Do you think that warrants “good press”. Time and time again Ms. Stewart has voted for “outright” tax increases and “hidden” tax increases that take money from people’s household. So tell me what am I missing? Do you think that giving “good press” will convince someone to become a non-offender? I don’t think so, and I am working hard to convince you that is the case. Conservatives spend literally hundreds if not thousands of of hours fighting her sponsored legislation. They take time from work, pay babysitters, endure hardships just to volunteer their time to prevent their rights, liberties and hard earned dollars from being lost. I don’t think I am over estimating the costs. Please reconsider your strategy in giving “good press” to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

  6. I deeply appreciate the work that Paul Gessing and Rio Grande Foundation provide to the citizens of New Mexico. However, I have to agree with Howard Bancroft regarding recent praise in the direction of Rep. Mimi Stewart. Unless there is a deep conversion of philosophical position, Representative Stewart’s occasional “bone toss” toward responsible government will inevitability be short lived. She shows no public remorse for misguided leading for her 20 years of dis-service to the people of New Mexico. Her philosophical presuppositions are bankrupt and that is what she is doing to our state and the taxpayers and the children yet to come. With deep respect for Paul Guessing and the Rio Grande Foundation, I encourage him to reconsider such unworthy praise in the future for those individuals who have done so much damage to the prospects for prosperity for all New Mexicans. Congressman Bill Redmond

    1. Thanks, Bill. I always appreciate your perspective. I hope that fellow New Mexicans realize your viewpoints is well grounded as a first hand witness in DC to the long range affects of government gone bad because of bad policy makers.

  7. I respect everyone here but I agree with Paul. I see no raving praise or adulation here – it is merely a sober account of agreeing with a liberal on a bill. You can question motives all you want. But I’ve seen cynical political moves by legislators- they initially vote one way on a bill, but when they see the vote count is a clear defeat/pass, they flip their vote to show they “fought the good fight” to their base. That was not the case with this bill. Mimi deserves credit for sponsoring a bill that severely angered her base and split the Rs and Ds in the house vote. I don’t see the logic that this was a ploy to get moderates- it doesn’t make sense to do that when it is on an issue that severely angers your core base. On a smaller issue that does happen, but not on government worker pensions, especially while the raucus debate in WI is going on. I voiced support for the bill on the floor because it was a good bill aimed at reigning in our pension costs. I want limited government fiscal and social conservatives to get in the legislature, because I want more than an occasional conservative vote. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give credit to the other side when they help us with good conservative legislation such as the drivers license bill, school grading, or pension reform.

  8. Conrad, your such a “warm hearted softy” and as a legislative first timer you have yet to deal with the “wrath” of Ms. Stewart or her group of progressives. Maybe, the article should have been entitled” Mimi finally agrees with the Rio Grande Foundation” a moment a sanity. I do think that the legislators spend a lot of time together and “love covers a multitude of sins”. I still hope someone else is elected in District 21 so you (Conrad) will be spared finding out what most of us already have experienced. Interesting that it seems like only the “conservatives” are even “willing” to give a liberal a break when they vote with “reason” but the left doesn’t ever seem to cut a break for conservatives who can do no right. Hmmmmm……

  9. Howard – I supported Antoinette in 2010 and I will support her again if she runs because she will cast hundreds of conservative votes instead of one or two. Giving Mimi credit for having the wisdom and courage to bring this bill doesn’t change that, and I don’t know why you think it does. And I’ll encourage you to ask Mimi if I was a warm hearted softy when I spoke on the floor against her delinquency judgment bill and her campaign finance memorial. And ask the democrats if I was a warm hearted softy when I spoke against their house and senate health insurance exchange bills. This post was about one bill on which RGF agreed with Mimi – that is it. I bet there are hundreds of other posts here that criticize other bills she has worked on. One of my favorite quotes from Jesus is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That speaks directly to your last concern. I don’t care whether or not progressives give me credit when I cast a vote they like – I stand on principles and my reward is working for conservative policies that will help this state. I don’t want to play political games of attacking everything a liberal does just for spite and seeing every move they make as some conspiratorial sneak attack. There are games that are played like the vote flipping I mentioned earlier, but that was not the case here. As conservatives, we should always strive to stand for principle- and yes, occasionally that means we give a liberal credit and criticize a conservative. I think most people respect that.

  10. The point is RGF doesn’t agree with Mimi Stewart, she finally (for once) agreed with the RGF. The difference is “huge”. I just happen to be keenly aware of the difference. Words do mean something.

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