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New Mexico Delegates’ Diversity Creates a Buzz at Convention

WASHINGTON – New Mexico delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte are headed home today fired up to re-elect President Barack Obama after a whirlwind week of early-morning speaker breakfasts, late-night parties and dozens of convention floor speeches.

No Democrats from New Mexico snagged any speaking slots at the convention, unlike the Republicans in Tampa Bay last week, who watched proudly as Gov. Susana Martinez and Mountainair businessman Phil Archuletta addressed delegates from the stage. But the Democratic delegation did get some well-deserved recognition for diversity.

In particular, the prominent website Buzzfeed featured 18-year-old Albuquerque delegate Somah Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo who also participated in the convention’s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) caucus.

Haaland told the website she was happy to see the Democratic platform include support for gay marriage.

“Equality is a right; it’s not something that should be voted on,” Haaland told the website.

Javier Gonzales, chairman of the New Mexico Democratic Party, said the delegation was proud of its cultural, racial and ethnic diversity. One-third – or about 20 – of the state’s delegation (including alternates) to the convention have Hispanic surnames, while at least two delegates – National Committeewoman Sheryl Williams-Stapleton and State Treasurer James Lewis – are black.

“We have New Mexicans who have come from every walk of life and range in age from 18 to 81, we’re Hispanic, Native American, Anglo, African-American, immigrants, LGBT, disabled,” Gonzales said. “Our delegation truly represents the makeup of New Mexico, and we’re very proud of it.”

Meanwhile, back home in New Mexico, the Obama campaign said Thursday that New Mexicans hosted more than 130 watch parties across the state for Obama’s speech Thursday night.

politics notebook
— This article appeared on page A2 of the Albuquerque Journal