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Politics Notebook: Roundhouse happenings inspire state senator’s published poetry collection

SANTA FE – In addition to lawyers, farmers and business owners, the New Mexico Senate is now home to a published poet.

The world premiere of a book of 46 poems by Sen. Bill O’Neill, D-Albuquerque, will be presented this weekend in Santa Fe, with a similar event scheduled for Sept. 14 in Albuquerque.

N.M. State Sen. Bill O'Neill

N.M. State Sen. Bill O’Neill

The book, titled “The Freedom of the Ignored,” features many Roundhouse references, including one poem about a high-profile 2013 tax package, though most legislators’ names have been changed.

In a poem about the annual charity basketball game between the House and the Senate, O’Neill describes legislators throwing their bodies around like “drunk adolescents.”

O’Neill served in the state House from 2009 through 2012 before winning election to a Senate seat representing the North Valley.

This weekend’s event will take place Sunday at Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe.

N.M. State Rep. Nate Gentry

N.M. State Rep. Nate Gentry

KEY POST: For the second year in a row, a top-ranking New Mexico Republican lawmaker has been named to the executive committee of a deep-pocketed national group.

After a meeting in Atlanta, the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee announced Thursday that House Minority Leader Nate Gentry of Albuquerque will be one of 19 legislators from around the country to serve on the RLCC’s executive committee.

Gentry also served on the group’s executive committee last year.

Republicans currently control 69 of 99 legislative chambers nationwide – all states but Nebraska have two legislative chambers – but Democrats reclaimed control of the New Mexico House in last year’s general election. Democrats also outnumber Republicans in the state Senate.

The GOP will aim to return the favor in the 2018 election cycle, when all 70 New Mexico House seats will be up for election.

In addition to financial support for Republican candidates, the RLCC also provides campaign training and assistance in battleground states around the country.

Dan Boyd: